A total of 8,831 pigeons were basketed for this international race from Marseille with 2,418 pigeons from Belgium, 2,916 from The Netherlands, 1,956 from France, 1,342 from Germany, 103 from Great Britain and 96 from Luxemburg. The 2013 edition had 2,483 pigeons less compared to last year. It is hard to find an explanation for this significant decrease. It might have something to do with the difficult conditions of the previous races in the past few weeks. Perhaps fanciers were not interested in taking part in the race from Marseille? There is no denying that most races have been very hard this season.
Marseille is the most important French harbour and it is the cultural capital of Europe in 2013. It is situated along the Golf du Lion, a bay in the Mediterranean Sea. Most fanciers know the city from the annual long distance classic of course.
The pigeons were released on 19 July at 7 am. The sky was clear and there was no wind. These were perfect flying conditions and yet it turned out to be a hard day for the pigeons. It was not as hard as the Marseille flight from last year, when not a single German pigeon was able to reach a velocity of over 1,000 m/min. It was again a French fancier who took the first international prize: Jacques Moriceau clocked his winning pigeon at 17:54’12”, having covered 716.650 km. He had a velocity of 1,095.170 m/min. Paul Moriceau won the second international prize; his pigeon was clocked at 17:58’18” reaching a velocity of 1,090.947 m/min for a distance of 718.170km. The French Dominique Chavantre settled for third with a velocity of 1,084.373 m/min. That was the international top three.
Amazing: a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th national prize
How did the German pigeons perform? They arrived a bit later than their French opponents but they did great nonetheless! The well known Karl-Heinz Koers managed to win the first six prizes in this important race, which is highly unusual. These six prizes were won by six yearlings, which makes this feat even more impressive. How did Karl-Heinz Koers experience the day of the race? The pigeons did not fly very fast and he had to wait quite some time for his first pigeon to arrive at the loft. The results of the first pigeons had already been announced; the online updates from PIPA allow every fancier to closely follow the race. His pigeon 08106-12-2 landed at 18:04’50” and he would be renamed Marseille-star soon after. He covered 682.808km at an average speed of 1,027.037 m/min. A second pigeon (08106-12-62) landed only twelve minutes later, at 18:16’03”, reaching a velocity of 1,009.997 m/min. The third pigeon, the 08106-12-19, arrived at 18:23’03”, followed by number four (08106-12-6 arrived at 18:37), number five (08106-12-22 arrived at 18:41) and number six (08106-12-20 landed at 18:50). These were the first six pigeons on the national result. This is obviously an unparalleled achievement. His seventh pigeon landed in the loft at 19:28’21”, taking a twelfth national.
His first and second pigeon won a 12th and 18th international place, a wonderful result for Karl-Heinz Koers. He achieved this with yearlings only. What is it that makes his one year olds so powerful? We start by taking a closer look at the origins of these prizewinners.
Granddaughter Marie with the German national winner from Marseille
The origins of his six prizewinners
This was an impressive feat and we were eager to know more about the origins of these pigeons. Karl-Heinz’s wife is responsible for all the paperwork that comes with the hobby of her husband and she has given me a copy of all six pedigrees. First of all we have the national winner, a cock with ring number 08106-12-2. His sire is the 08106-07-293, a son of Nachtflieger 08106-03-488. The 293 has already bred several excellent pigeons, for instance the first ace hen 2011, the second nat. Tarbes 2011, the second nat. Perpignan 2011 and many other outstanding racing birds. Nachtflieger 488 was an impressively strong racer and he is an even better breeder. He was fifth national ace cock in 2005, he won a 22nd national Bordeaux against 2,447 pigeons and a 40th nat. Perpignan against 2,187 birds. The 488 was paired to Miss Perpignan 08102-02-327, winner of a first nat. Perpignan 2007.
Nachtflieger is also the grandfather of the first and fourth Nat. Marseille and he is the sire of the third and sixth nat. Marseille. The second nat. Marseille is a grandchild of Nachtflieger via his mother’s side. This should give you an idea of his outstanding breeding qualities. The dam of the national winner is the 08106-06-117, another top class breeding hen from an original Bernd Morsnowski x Kipp & Söhne.
The fourth national is a full brother of Marseille-Star.
The third and sixth nat. Marseille are direct sons of Nachtflieger 08106-03-488. The dam of these two pigeons is Lena 08106-10-995, simply an outstanding hen. She was first ace hen 2011 and she won a second nat. Tarbes 2011, a 2nd nat. Perpignan and many other top prizes. She is also a half sister of the first national from Marseille via her sire, being a daughter of the 08106-07-293, a son of 488 x 327.
The second nat. From Marseille, the 08106-12-62, is a grandson of the 488 via his dam. The sire of the 62 is a cock of Kipp & Söhne and a son of the second nat. San Sebastian.
And then there is the winner of the fifth national, the 08106-12-22. His sire is Didi 06793-08-923 from the Bauhaus-Devers family. His dam is the 08106-02-324, a full sister of Miss Perpignan 08106-02-327.
This was an overview of their pedigrees. It is interesting to see that they always pair top class racing pigeons with each other. Karl-Heinz Koers is likely to win a lot more top prizes in the near future if he continues to adopt his successful approach and he has no reason to change his routine.
What is the problem with our yearlings?
Many fanciers have lost large numbers of yearlings in this year’s races. Some fanciers have only one or two yearlings left in their loft and yet Karl-Heinz Koers manages to win a first international from St. Vincent and the first six national prizes from Marseillle with nothing but one year old racing birds. There must be an explanation. Could it be that fanciers who race the regular German program are not racing their yearlings as they should? Could it be that they are asking too much from their young birds and yearlings, leading to a lack of fitness at the age of two? Some fanciers think that a lot of our pigeons are simply not motivated enough. We do not have the answer but it would be a good idea to discuss this topic with Karl-Heinz Koers one day.
We have some more international races to come and we wish the kind Karl-Heinz and his wife good luck for the rest of the season.