Would Marc Vanonckelen (Halen, BE) plan to retire after his national victory from La Souterraine II?

Is there a chance that Marc Vanonckelen will retire from pigeon racing after his national victory from La Souterraine II? He might be considering that he is a superstitious man.

Marc and Hanne and Koos, the sire of the first national Argenton 1994


Marc started to gain an interest in pigeons at the age of 8 to 9. He started with fancy pigeons before switching to racing pigeons. He did his first flight in 1976 but it was only from 1990 that he basketed pigeons for races on a regular basis. His main goals included the car race from Orléans and the young bird national races. His first pigeon family consisted of pigeons from Michel Eyletten (Diest, BBE), who is now racing under the name of Eyletten Michel & Gunther. Michel was and still is among the best fanciers in and around the town of Diest. Marc achieved a national victory in 1994, his fifth season, with his pigeon Koosje against 16,361 young birds from Argenton. He had a busy job so he decided to take a six year break from pigeon racing in 2003. It was Jos Thoné who convinced him to make a fresh start in 2009. In the fifth season after his restart Marc won a second national victory: his pigeon Nafi took the first prize from La Souterraine. Again after five years; is it just coincidence?

Marc and Hanne with Nafi, the first national La Souterraine II 2013


We tend to believe that his national victory has everything to do with the motivation and the drive of this fancier and the quality of his racing pigeons, not with the season in which they were won. It was Jos Thoné who convinced him to make a comeback and 95% of his current basis consists of pigeons from that same Thoné. These pigeons proved a great investment: he has had excellent results since his comeback, with, for instance, a provincial victory from La Souterraine (2009) and Argenton (2010). We present you his best racing pigeons at the moment:

Nafi (5024249/13)

We begin with Nafi, winner of the first national from La Souterraine II against 13,089 young birds. He originates from 75% from Jos Thoné and he has some W.A. De Bruijn origins as well (she is related to the third nat. Bourges 2003). Nafi is obviously in the form of his life and he has won quite a few prizes:

Chateauroux nat.: 344th / 12,071 p.
Issoudun nat.:     67th / 16,615 p.
Argenton nat.:     23rd / 19,303 p.

Click here to take a look at the pedigree of Nafi.


Minerva (5000498/12) and Madox (5000454/12)

Minerva and Madox are two other big stars in the Vanonckelen loft. Minerva was second Ace Pigeon in the national young bird races in 2012; Madox managed to finish fourth in that same ranking.

Minerva proved successful in 2013 as well, winning several top prizes, including

Issoudun nat.:    32nd / 5,708 pigeons
Chateauroux nat.: 84th / 6,005 pigeons

We saw in Minerva’s pedigree that she is a grandchild of Pépé. Madox is a descendant of Den Dikke Lowet x Lang Lowet, the amazing stock pair of Verreckt-Ariën (Tessenderlo, BE). Click here to take a look a the pedigree of MinervaThe pedigree of Madox can be found here.

Breeding or playing

We have two more national races to go and Marc is eager to further improve the coefficient of his pigeon Nafi, given his excellent results in the past races. Of course there is always a risk of losing him in a race. Marc now has to make a choice between basketing him for the remaining races or moving him to the breeding loft right away. This is one of those choices only the great champions have to make.

The pigeon loft of Marc, flanked by the biggest wind turbine farm in Flanders