René Van De Weyer (Mol, BE): an iconic pigeon fancier

René Van De Weyer is a household name in pigeon racing. He has been a top level contender for years, and since the late 1980s he is backed by his good friends Julien Foets and Frans Hooybers. They have achieved some exceptional results as Team René Van De Weyer with just a small group of pigeons.

From left to right: Julien Foets, René Van De Weyer and Frans Hooybergs

A brief history

René Van De Weyer has always been a sprint specialist with a near perfect palmares. In the late 1980s René and his friends Julien Foets and Frans Hooybergs agreed to join forces. They started racing under the name of René Van De Weyer, since the team was based in René's racing lofts. The team won basically every sprint races on the calendar until the mid-2000s, both in the club and at provincial and national level. They won numerous championship titles along the way, and team René Van De Weyer added two Olympiad Pigeons to their palmares as well.

2005 was a turning point, as the team decided to switch over to the middle distance. The sprint competition had lost some of its appeal and so they were looking for a new challenge. The breeding loft was getting an upgrade as well. The old breed of the three fanciers, along with the best of Jef Van Sweevelt, Deblier, Jules Hermans, Henri Menten and Karel Hufkens were combined with some of the best middle distance bloodlines on the market: Georges Dekeyser, Paul & Jelle Roziers, the late Flor Vervoort, Sooi Van Thielen, Richard Verdonck, René Van de Broeck and Wynand De Bruy. Some shorter longer distance pigeons were introduced later on as well, and these came from such champions as Rik Hermans, Van Leest-Peeters (Thelma), Jules Lens, and Gaston Van de Wouwer (including a direct daughter of the world famous Kaasboer).

These introductions proved a major success for René, Julien and Frans. They continued to deliver exceptional results, even though their racing team counted only about 20 pigeons. There is a group of 25 breeding pairs that have to look after the youngsters each year, and since there is room for only 20 widowers, only the very best pigeons are granted access to the racing loft.

Highly successful in recent years as well

Pigeon racing has increasingly evolved towards a highly specialised discipline in recent years, with fanciers leaving nothing to chance, preparing their racing team in the best possible conditions. However, this increasing level of professionalism in pigeon racing has not kept team René Van De Weyer from competing at the highest level. The three fanciers managed to win no less than 33 first prizes in their club Mol-Millegem (90 members) and in the Entente (325 members) over the course of 2017. They won the exact same number of first prizes in 2016, which is three more compared to 2015 and just five less than in their memorable 2014 season, in which they claimed a total of 38 first prizes, as well as a title of Provincial Champion Shorter Middle Distance KBDB Antwerp and a 3rd and 4th Provincial Ace Pigeon Shorter Middle Distance. Also in 2014 they only just missed out on a national podium, settling for 4th National Champion Shorter Middle Distance Yearlings instead. They also became 7th and 12th National Ace Pigeon Shorter Middle Distance Yearlings KBDB that year. Their list of achievements for 2017 can be found here.

Triple Ace Generation

Like we said, earning a spot in the breeding team (to breed first prize winners) or the racing team (a 75% prize percentage and 50% per 10) is a dazzling task. It goes without saying that each loft is home to a group of thoroughly selected birds. We will be taking a closer look at a few of the team's most prestigious pigeons, and what better place to start than the line of Triple Ace Generation, which has given three generations of highly talented birds. Click here to found out more about Triple Ace Generation.

BE03-6402902 Triple Ace Pigeon

This is the first generation of ace pigeons. Between 2005 and 2008 Triple Ace Pigeon was once 1st Ace Pigeon and three times 2nd Ace Pigeon in the shorter middle distance in the club and the Entente. His most impressive result however came in 2007, when he became 5th National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance KBDB. He wins no less than 66 prizes in five seasons' time, without doubles.

Triple Ace Pigeon is a son of Bourgesman (7th National Bourges) x daughter Super Witpen, an Olympiad Pigeon in Utrecht. 

BE10-6238459 Den 459

This is the star of the loft. He is a son of Triple Ace Pigeon x Miss Beauty (a daughter of 781/01 and a great-granddaughter of Olympiad Pigeon Bazel), which is the dream pair of team Van De Weyer. The 459 has quite a unique palmares, having won 9 first prizes, 7 second prizes, and 7 third prizes in the middle distance. Click here for a closer look at his astounding list of achievements. His pedigree can be found here.

BE10-6238460 Den 460

Den 460 is a nest brother of Den 459, and he is one of those highly talented pigeons of the Triple Ace Generation. He has won 7 first prizes, a second prize and two third prizes. An overview of his palmares can be found here. Click here for his pedigree.

Generation "K"

This is another generation of talented prize winners, partly combined with the Triple Ace Generation. This generation is named after K, the sire of both Super Witpen (Olympiad Pigeon Utrecht 1995) and The Basel (Olympiad Pigeon Bazel 1997). Click here to read more about generation K from the side of Olympiad Utrecht Super Wipen - click here for a closer look at Generation K from the side of Olympiad Bazel The Basel.

BE13-6031116 - Den 116

One of the stars of this current generation of racing birds is Den 116. He is a great-grandchild of Super Witpen (Olympiad pigeon Utrecht 1995) x Argenton Hen, a world class breeding hen that won a 2nd National Argenton (click here to read more about this pigeon). Den 116 won 9 first prizes, 8 second prizes and 2 third prizes in just three years' time. His full pedigree and a close-up picture can be found here. His pedigree can be found here.

BE11-6175240 - New Bourgesman

And the last one in the list is quite a talented pigeon as well. He is a direct son of Argentonhen and he has two top class brothers: the 423 and the 472 (click here for more details and a few pictures). All three racing birds finished high up in the ace pigeon competitions. New Bourgesman wins 4 first prizes without doubles and 6 second prizes, including a 2nd Provincial Bourges and a 2nd Provincial La Souterraine. He also won a 3rd Provincial Gien and a 4th National Bourges. Click here for his complete palmares

Successful in other lofts as well

Several lofts both at home and abroad have been very successful with the pigeons of René Van De Weyer, although René never intended to capitalize on the success of his breed. He would much rather support a young fancier with a round of eggs than trying to make big money. It explains why his best pigeons have never been sold over the years, although their descendants have many references to their name.

Maarten Poels

Maarten Poels, a fairly young fancier from Limburg who had a great 2017 season, has been particularly successful this year with a pigeon that was bred from a son of top pair 460/10 x 667/12 (from the K bloodline). This son was obtained from René in the form of an egg. This hen has won the following prizes in this year's national races:

2nd Provincial Chateauroux (1,942 pigeons)  /    17th National of 14,955 pigeons
19th Provincial Chateauroux (2,943 pigeons) /   624th National of 26,695 pigeons
283rd Provincial Argenton (2,575 pigeons)  /  1,115th National of 22,712 pigeons

The Faes-Wils Combination

The Faes-Wils combination has had their share of success with pigeons of Van De Weyer as well:

  • 105/15 (from the line of 241/11) wins a 2nd prize of 97 pigeons and a 3rd Provincial of 659 pigeons from Limoges (695 km)
  • 127/16 (from the same pair as 105/15) wins a 4th of 772 pigeons (30th of 1,024 pigeons) in the race from Momignies (149 km), a 4th of 400 pigeons from Soissons, a 30th of 621 pigeons from Noyon and an 8th of 158 pigeons from Gien.
  • 157/16 (from the same line as the pigeon above) wins a 1st of 842 pigeons  in the race from Chevrainvilliers (379 km) and a 4th of 396 pigeons from Bourges (44th National Zone B2 of 4,813 pigeons). He wins a 9th of 299 pigeons from Argenton (33rd Provincial of 1,809 pigeons).
  • 212/16, a grandson of Den 459, wins a 1st Provincial of 776 pigeons from Blois (490 km)
  • 947/17, from a brother of WHITPIN x daughter Den 159, wins a 21st of 559 pigeons from Soissons (236 km) and a 16th of 489 pigeons from Gien (130th Provincial of 4,348 pigeons)

Consistency thanks to strict selection criteria

It is now clear that a thorough selection based on the pigeon's level of performance, on their shape and overall appearance, as well as on their breeding value, is of crucial importance for long-term success in pigeon racing. The team behind René Van De Weyer continues to adopt strict selection criteria, which means only the cream of the crop gets a spot in the breeding or racing loft. And it shows: René, Julien and Frans have been one of the top players at the highest level of pigeon racing for many years now.