Hugo: "one of the key tasks for the 2015 season was to test the descendants that have been bred from the latest introductions, and the youngsters of "New Laureaat" (possibly the best Barcelona pigeon ever) in particular. This new bloodline is paired to the world famous old line of Witbuik. This is basically a combination of old and new champions. In addition, a round of late youngsters of Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht were introduced as well, and there was a joint breeding with Etienne Meirlaen and others."
The result is a group of 100 one year olds that had their first race from Cahors, just over 873km away from their home loft in Klaaswaal. It proved a really tough race. No pigeons arrived home during the night or in the early morning, and just one racing bird managed to achieve a velocity of over 1,000 m/min. This was clearly a race for the really experienced pigeons. Still, the team of 114 yearlings of Batenburg-Van De Merwe did quite well: they won an impressive 45 prizes, which makes this a highly successful first race for them: 3-7-9-19-26-33-44-etc.
An overview of the seven first arrivals in the Batenburg-Van De Merwe loft
- 3rd Nat. Sector 2 Cahors: BE14-4216132
A direct Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht from Vale Maximus, winner of a 369th nat. Barcelona, and brother of a 47th nat. Barcelona. Vale Maximus is a direct son of the 15th Int. Ace Pigeon Barcelona 2007-2009 of Frederik Leliaert. The dam is Hilary, from the renowned Schumacher, 2nd Int. Ace Pigeon Barcelona for Gyselbrecht, originating from a crossing of Vanbruaene x Vanderwegen. Click here for the full pedigree
- 7th Nat. Sector 2 Cahors: NL14-1040385
A direct daughter of New Witbuik, the outstanding national first prize winner from Barcelona 2012, purchased by Nikolaas Gyselbrecht and Hugo Batenburg. The dam is heavily inbred to Witbuik, being a daughter of Jonge Witbuik x Grandchild Witbuik, a hen that has bred several generations of national top prize winners. Click here for the full pedigree.
- 9th Nat. Sector 2 Cahors: NL14-1040492
From a joint breeding with Etienne Meirlaen. The sire is a pair of son of brother x sister Bonte Narbonne (winner of Barcelona Masters 2011) x Dianne (5th Int. Ace Pigeon Perpignan 2010-2011). The dam comes from Meirlaen's outstanding racer and breeder Montali. Click here for the complete pedigree
- 18th Nat. Sector 2 Cahors: NL14-1040367
A grandson of Bonte Narbonne
- 25th Nat. Sector 2 Cahors: BE14-4261247
Bred from a joint breeding with Etienne Meirlaen from the old Witbuik line x a hen of Etienne
- 33rd Nat. Sector 2 Cahors: BE14-4216107
A direct Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht
- 44th Nat. Sector 2 Cahors: NL14-1040475
A direct daughter of New Witbuik
"This yearlings' team was raced in double widowhood", Hugo explains, "similar to the young birds with the sliding door. This was their first test. They usually take part in another marathon race from either Narbonne or Cahors." The old birds also showed to be in great form, winning a 60th Nat. Agen (a direct son of New Witbuik, from the same pairing as the winner of a 7th nat. Cahors last week), as well as a 36th (grandchild Bonte Narbonne) and an 83rd national in last week's race from Pau. The two successful races from Cahors and Pau show that this loft will have high expectations for the upcoming classic from Barcelona. The results will show if they can meet these expectations after having moved 14 of their best racing birds to the breeding loft. However, the excellent results from the yearlings' team suggest that team Batenburg-Van De Merwe has a bright future ahead.
Batenburg-Van de Merwe has been perhaps one of the world's most famous extreme long distance loft for several years. Still, they are not planning to rest on their laurels, as you can tell from their excellent start to 2015!