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Sjaak van de Velde and Son (Breskens, NL) have been a leading name in the international extreme long distance for decades

Father and son Sjaak Van De Velde have been among the top players in the extreme long distance in The Netherlands for decades. They gained a reputation as a team that delivers fantastic results with limited means and a small team of pigeons.
They have an impressive palmares in the national and international races, with well over 100 top 100 prizes in national competitions since 2004.
 

Sjaak Sr. & Sjaak Jr. showing their trophy room
 

Super x Super = Super2

About every fancier from The Netherlands is familiar with the combination of Sjaak van de Velde & Son. Sjaak (66) is a retired fisherman, and his son Sjaak (45) works for a building materials distributor. The two have been involved in a fantastic combination since 1993, and they have excelled in some of the most prestigious and most demanding races on the international calendar since day one. We travelled to Breskens in Zeeland, and we immediately got a warm welcome from Sjaak Van de Velde Sr. himself, who worked his entire career on the "Breskens 14", a 45 metre long fishing vessel. We sat down to talk to Sjaak in his spacious garden right next to the Westerschelde, where he built a loft for his breeding birds. "We do not have too many of them but they are all excellent", he says. "We sold one of our better racing birds a while ago, and we still regret that decision today", his son adds. Since then, all of their best racing birds have gone straight to the breeding loft. The racing birds are kept in the lofts of Jaak Senior.

There was a time when Sjaak Senior could not spend as much time with his pigeons as he wanted to: he had to raise a family (he has a daughter and a son), and he was living at sea from Sunday to Friday. These days, Sjaak gets to spend a lot more time in his loft, even though he still provides support to fishing vessel operators. He has become a walking pigeon encyclopedia: he recognises his pigeons with his eyes closed. It is no surprise that this combination was able to race at the highest level almost from day one. In fact, we cannot think of many pigeon lofts with such an impressive list of achievements:

Their national top 25 results only:
1st  Nat. Olds and Yearlings 10,418 pigeons Bordeaux 2009
1st  International Yearlings 9,318 pigeons Bordeaux 2009
1st  National Yearlings 5,230 pigeons Bordeaux 2009
2nd  International Olds and Yearlings 17,642 pigeons Bordeaux 2009
2nd  National 6,414 pigeons Perpignan 2014
3rd  National 5,935 pigeons Agen 2017
3rd  National   974 pigeons Narbonne 2010
3rd  National   885 pigeons Narbonne 2011
5th  National 2,563 pigeons Narbonne 2006
7th  National 2,607 pigeons Pau 2011
7th  National 5,589 pigeons Perpignan 2015
8th  National 3,835 pigeons Bordeaux 2010
8th  National 1,324 pigeons Perpignan 2013
9th  National 3,552 pigeons Bordeaux 2006
9th  National 2,607 pigeons Pau 2011
10th National 4,220 pigeons Bordeaux 2005
10th National   745 pigeons Pau 2009
11th National 1,137 pigeons Dax 2004
11th National 5,616 pigeons Perpignan 2012
11th National 6,909 pigeons Barcelona 2013
12th National 4,027 pigeons Perpignan 2016
12th National 3,850 pigeons Narbonne 2010
12th National   153 pigeons Mont Ventoux 2003
14th National 2,607 pigeons Pau 2011
15th National   654 pigeons Pau 2006
15th National 3,816 pigeons Narbonne 2008
15th National 1,190 pigeons Narbonne 2013
18th National   800 pigeons Pau 2005
18th National 3,571 pigeons Pau 2004
18th National 1,137 pigeons Dax 2004
20th National 4,978 pigeons Perpignan 2013
21st National 6,414 pigeons Perpignan 2014
22nd National 2,570 pigeons St-Vincent 2018
22nd National 1,383 pigeons Irun 2007
22nd National   974 pigeons Narbonne 2010
23rd National 2,607 pigeons Pau 2011
23rd National Bordeaux 2001
25rd National 3,260 pigeons Dax 2006

This is an impressive list indeed. And if that should not be enough for you, feel free to browse through an overview of all top 100 prizes at national and international level!

And it goes without saying that these top results have led to several championship titles as well: the team claimed quite a few national and international ace pigeon or championship titles over the years, which we summarised in the following overview: national and international championship titles in recent years.

De Flits NL13-3308425

The craftsmanship of father and son Van de Velde and their top quality pigeon collection offers plenty of opportunities. We would like to take a closer look at some of the big stars of father and son Sjaak, starting with the phenomenal De Flits NL13-3308425. De Flits stems from breeding pair De Flip NL09-1264065 (half brother of several national winners) x 't Super Kweekstertje (the dam of at least 13 national top 12 winners). De Flits claimed the title of 1st National Ace Pigeon Perpignan 2015-2018 this season, and he is also 2nd National Ace Pigeon Perpignan 2015-2017.

This is the type of bird that any fancier dreams of adding to his collection one day!

Click here to read more about De Flits, his pedigree and his palmares.

 

De Super Luc NL12-3207535

Another big name in team Van de Velde is none other than 1st National Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance The Netherlands 2016 Super Luc NL12-3207535. This racing bird has won an astounding number of top prizes over the course of his racing career.

Have a look at the remarkable list of achievements of Super Luc:

1st National Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance ZLU 2016
1st National Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance 3 prizes PIPA 2016
2nd National Ace Pigeon Pau 2014-2015-2016
5th International Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance 2016
27th National Pau 3,020 pigeons 2014
38th National St. Vincent 3,386 duiven 2016 (after a direct race of 13 hours and 17 minutes)
64th National Pau 3,788 pigeons 2016 (after a direct race of 13 hours and 50 minutes)
91st National Pau 3,433 pigeons 2015
157th National Perpignan 4,027 pigeons 2016 (after a direct race of 13 hours and 1 minute)
388th National Agen 4,386 pigeons 2013 

You can tell that this is a very strong racing bird indeed. Raise your hand if you think you have a better bird in your collection. Super Luc comes from Luc van der Gucht, and he was bred from NL11-3011751, the son of a 1st National Pau 2005, and from a daughter of the renowned Blauwe Perpignan (2nd National Perpignan 2003 and 2nd National Dax 2004). Click here for the pedigree of the fantastic Super Luc.

Click here to read an earlier report that we wrote following Super Luc's title of 1st National Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance The Netherlands 2016.

De Kleine Dure NL08-3807923

Another gem in the lofts in Breskens is Kleine Dure. This racing bird has definitely left his mark on the Van de Velde pigeon breed; he is worth his weight in gold. Kleine Dure was prepared for his first major competition back in 2009, and father and son Sjaak will still vividly remember his first important race. Kleine Dure landed on the board at 8:58'33" pm with a speed of 990 m/min (after a flight of 13 hours and 13 minutes straight), claiming a 1st National and 1st International Bordeaux Yearlings of 9,131 pigeons. On top of that, he wins a 1st National in The Netherlands overall of 10,481 pigeons, and a 2nd International of 17,642 pigeons. Father and son Van de Velde were convinced that this was an achievement from a highly talented and very strong racing bird. That is why they decided not to sell their Kleine Dure, despite numerous offers from intersted fanciers. In fact, Kleine Dure was the only racing bird in this team that was sent straight to the breeding loft after his victory. Even the team's best birds and national winners can usually continue to race for the remainder of the season but that was not the case for Kleine Dure. He got a well deserved spot in the breeding loft almost right away, and father and son never regretted their decision: Kleine Dure turned out to be an excellent breeder.

He is now the sire or grandfather of the following prize winners:

1st  National Dax 2,131 pigeons 2018 (A.P. Overwater)
1st  Provincial Narbonne ZLU  1,200 pigeons 2014 (Piet de Vogel)
1st  Ace Pigeon ZLU IFC NST 2018
2nd  Provincial Narbonne ZLU 1,200 pigeons 2014 (Piet de Vogel)
2nd  National Perpignan ZLU 6,414 pigeons 2014
2nd  National Ace Pigeon Agen ZLU 2015/2016/ 2017 (Piet de Vogel)
3rd National Narbonne ZLU 4,566 pigeons 2017 (A.P. Overwater)
3rd  International Narbonne ZLU 10,421 pigeons 2018 (A.P. Overwater)
4th  National ZLU Ace Pigeon Perpignan 2015 / 2018
5th  National Bergerac NPO 1,522 pigeons 2014 (A.P. Overwater)
8th  National Perpignan (D) ZLU 1,324 pigeons 2013
8th  National Agen 7,125 pigeons 2016 (Henk Mookhoek en ZN)
10th National Dax Overall 10,072 pigeons 2018 (Ap Overwater)
11th National ZLU Ace Pigeon Overall Pau/St-Vincent/Perpignan 2018
12th National Bergerac NPO 3,293 pigeons Sec 4 2014
15th National Narbonne (D) ZLU 1,190 pigeons 2013
17th National Agen ZLU 6,638 pigeons 2015 (Piet de Vogel)
18th International Perpignan (D) ZLU 3,049 pigeons 2013
18th National Narbonne ZLU 6,650 pigeons 2014 (Piet de Vogel)
19th National Agen NPO S2 2016 (A.P. Overwater)
20th National Perpignan ZLU 4,978 pigeons 2013 “De Kim”  1st Yearling Nat. (4978 p.)/ Int. (15,106 p.).
20th National Narbonne ZLU 6,650 pigeons 2014 (Piet de Vogel)
24th National Agen NPO S2 3,367 pigeons 2016 (A.P. Overwater)
36th International Perpignan ZLU 17,965 pigeons 2013
37th National Agen ZLU 5,935 pigeons 2017 (A.P. Overwater)
42nd National Agen S2 2018 Ap Overwater
45th National Perpignan ZLU 4,027 pigeons 2016
48th National Marseille ZLU 2,528 pigeons 2017 (A.P. Overwater)
48th National Narbonne 3,424 pigeons 2017 (Jos & Jan Loobuyck) 
Etcetera.

Click here for an earlier report on the national first prize from Bordeaux of 10,239 pigeons.

Perpignan 

The race from Perpignan has become an annual highlight for Team Van de Velde; this is the race for which they line up their strongest birds. Sjaak Senior is always keen to go the extra mile for the last international classic of the season, and it really shows. Some of their ace pigeon titles from Perpignan have been briefly mentioned in this article, and these are the result of an impressive series of national top prizes from Perpignan over the course of seven seasons (2011-2018): 2nd - 7th - 8th - 11th - 12th - 20th - 21st - 29th - 32nd - 33rd - 41st - 45th - 90th - 91st - 101st - 107th - etc.

In other words, father and son have claimed a national top 50 prize from Perpignan no less than twelve times, which is absolutely fantastic.

Closing words

We visited a highly motivated family of pigeon fanciers. This is a family that leaves nothing to chance and that really looks after their pigeons. They are also very likeable, they always speak their minds, and they are clearly capable of delivering great results right when they have to. We really enjoyed witnessing how passionate this team is, operating from a rather modest pigeon loft, working with just a small selection of pigeons. And yet, they were able to win almost everything they could. Even their best racing birds can continue to race: they will alwash finish the racing season, even if they are particularly gifted (Kleine Dure was the only exception). Many of their best birds breed just a limited number of youngsters, since they continue to race when breeding. "You have to make choices sometimes", Sjaak Junior explains. "Given the limited amount of space, we opted to race with our best birds. And let's be honest: it has worked out rather well. We have a fantastic group of pigeons. They have an excellent body type and they arrive home early. And that's what it is all about!" We could not agree more.

Sjaak Sr. and Sjaak Jr. have decided to take things a bit slower with their pigeons. "We are struggling to keep up with the amount of work that we used to put into this pigeon breed. That is why our best racing and breeding birds will be sold in auction. It was a tough call to get rid of our life's work but there is not much else we can do", they say.

A big thank you to the Van der Velde family for your hospitability!