What Bourges is for the 'Middle Distance fanciers', Barcelona for the 'Extreme Long Distance chaps'
is 'Limoges' for the ordinary Long Distance fanatic, a 'chosen classic'! By the way, the Long Distance fanciers still look forward to the beginning of July when the triptych Limoges Derby-Limoges Yearlings-Souillac appears on the racing calendar. Top pigeon sport three weeks in a row 'fighting for all their worth'
it couldn't get any better. And if the weather is favourable then these are real feast days for the fanciers of the 'Light Long Distance', or the 'Middle Distance' as the Dutch prefer to call it. If the weather will co-operate
It looks like we will not be having a fashionable portion of summer weather in 2008. We can't think of any other pigeon season up until now where more races have been postponed to a later date because of bad weather along the flying line as in 2008. It seemed like the national Limoges Derby on Saturday the 5th of July was doomed to the same fate. The weather forecasts were anything but rosy, whereby it stayed fine above Belgium until late afternoon, whilst middle and later northern France were infested with heavy clouds and downpours. Although the first rainclouds had appeared in western France, there were clear periods in the early morning in Limoges, so that the organisers responsible took a chance and liberated the pigeons at 6h35 (maybe supporting themselves with the fact that there were poor weather reports for the following days). Supported by a strong southern wind, one hoped that the pigeons would flawlessly come through, or that the storm would just remain in front of them. Admit it, a venture that wasn't without an element of risk! Because early on (area Argenton-Chateauroux-Bourges) the pigeons came into contact with the first dark clouds, later a lot of rain also came into play (the race from Blois was even postponed until Sunday).
The first pigeons, according to the speed that the pigeons achieved in the Small Middle Distance (with here also a slow course) kept their owners waiting and honesty forces us to say, that it didn't go very smoothly, with duration times of more than 2 hours (per 3). Most of the pigeons were marked by the many downpours that they had to face. Still, we have to add that there weren't many losses so everything came right in the end. Even though we can't deny that the result gives a slightly misrepresented picture due to the race circumstances. This, however takes nothing away from the merit(s) of the winner(s). Because the organisers had, with Carlos Herman-Haustraete, out the East-Flemish Bevere-Oudenaarde, a magnificent victor. Carlos clocked his pigeon at 13h42 from a distance of 583,089 Km, with a velocity of 1365 m/min... the highest from the 11.995 old pigeons, as well as the Derby-doubles for the '2-year olds'. In his wake followed the pigeon from Michael Rodts from Watervliet, which was also the same pigeon that 2 weeks previously had won 1° Prov Poitiers and was now 2° national in both categories.
Because Carlos Herman had basketted his pigeons in the West-Flemish club Avelgem, the pigeon from Michael Rodts once more won 1° Provincial so, for the 2° week in a row!
Winner National Limoges: Carlos Herman-Haustraete
When Carlos Herman-Haustraete started out in the pigeon sport, it was his aim to be able to do as well as the great tenors in the Long Distance races. Easier said than done of course. He had the great advantage of being the close friend of the Santens brothers from Oudenaarde. Carlos was always one of the faithful 'watchers' at the Santens Household when the pigeons returned home from their far escapades. He was always a 'live-witness' to the exploits that his friends Marc & Gerard managed to put to paper, and they were not just any old exploits (with multiple provincial and national victories). When you have then been bitten by the pigeon microbe like sports friend Carlos, then of course it starts to 'itch' inside, and you start to dream about achieving such top performances yourself. And so it happened
Yet Carlos knew better than anybody that you had to own pigeons from top origin if you want to stand any chance in a very tough discipline like the Long Distance. This was a lesson that the Santens-brothers had impressed upon him at the start. Through his years of friendship with Marc & Gerard, he knew better than anybody which couples produced the best pigeons, and it wouldn't surprise anybody that Carlos visited his friends before starting out for the Long Distance. Pigeons obtained directly from Oudenaarde, or bought in one of their public auctions, then formed the basis of the Herman-Haustraete colony.
It was Gerard Santens himself who gave a helping hand by coming every year to sort through the pigeons and couple Carlo's colony. As a matter of fact, who knows the Santens-pigeons better than Gerard himself ? It didn't take long before the name Herman-Haustraete could be found at the top of the results. The first 'cracker' of format came in 1995 when Carlos won the 2nd National Narbonne against 5.698 old pigeons, with a 100% Santens-pigeon. A follow-up to this top performance soon came, because in 1996 Carlos won the 1st Interprovincial Chateauroux against 9.000 pigeons.
In the 1999 season the Herman-Haustraete colony made themselves known again, this time by winning the 1st Provincial Brive with his famous 'POOTIE', a pigeon with 75% golden Santens-blood in the veins !
Performances which many can only dream about, and which prove that there was good material which could be built upon further. Meanwhile the Herman-Haustraete colony developed further in the new millenium, wherefrom the triumph with the 1° National Limoges 11.995 old is a magnificent award. At the moment the colony is based for 75% on the superior Santens pedigree, which is also woven into the Limoges-winner. He further owns a real super breeder from fellow villager Dolfke Blancke-Verstichel from Bevere, and he also obtained the sort from Chris Hebberecht from Evergem from his old work-mate Isidoor Lips.
Carlos worked until 1999 in 'the petrol', first by Texaco, later by 'Shell' in Ghent. Then he took his well-earned retirement, and can now fully enjoy his caressed pigeon sport to the full. He owns 4 lofts for widowers subdivided into 2 lofts for a total of 24 old pigeons, and 2 lofts for a total of maximal 16 yearlings. This year he started with a total of 38 widowers and approximately 60 youngsters. The old pigeons are always raced loft per loft per weekend, although they don't necessarily all have to be entered for the same race.
Herman-Haustraete had entered 14 pigeons for this Limoges and achieved the following result:
Limoges Reg 194 p. 1,3,4,35,44,53 (14) Nat 11.995 p. 1,57,61 etc. (provisional forecast National) As preparation for this national Limoges these pigeons raced successively Bourges and 2 x Tours in West-Flanders, with the following result:
Bourges Nat 19.084 p. 8,102,111,667,917,1118,1721 (from 11 p) Tours Reg 194 p. 2,9,11,28,42 (and 7/12) Prov 2.874 p. 20,76,115,245,441 (and 9/12) In the Tours from two weeks ago, raced with a southern wind, the majority of pigeons flew in the wrong direction, and Carlos only achieved 2/8. The pigeons from this Limoges have clearly 'redeemed' themselves, and their disappointing performance from 2 weeks ago has been put right with not only a sounding 'National victory', but with also 3 top prizes at national level!
The national winner, the "Blauwen Limoges" ring B06-4090940 stems from father's side out the line of the Chris Hebberecht pigeons with the "Jongen Chris 090/03", whilst the mother "Witpen 649/04" is a daughter of the super breeder "Dolf 287/01" x "Witkop Santens 823/02" (a 100% Santens pigeon).
This chap has already achieved the following:
'07 Epehy 239 p. 2, and 206 p. 16
'07 Ecouen 233 p. 2
'07 Argenton reg 343 p. 3, and Prov 5.134 p. 40
'08 Epehy 15° prize and Tours 194 p. 52
'08 Limoges Nat 11.955 p. 1
"Blauwen Limoges" ring B06-4090940
Where the care of the pigeons is concerned, Carlos keeps everything quite simple. He only buys 3 types of mixture: depurative, breeding mixture and sport mixture. When they return home, the pigeons are given 50-50 depurative and sport. Afterwards they are only given depurative, then once again 50-50 for 2 days, and for the last 3 days they are served more than enough sport mixture. They are given vitamins over the food twice a week. All the other novelties such as energy rich mixtures, peanuts etc are not for him.
In the trainings races at the beginning of the season (up to 2 days basketting) the pigeons are only allowed to see their nest dish before they are basketted. Once the nationals are on the programme (with 3 nights in the basket) they are given their hen before they leave, but not on the day of basketting itself, but the day before. After the pigeons have trained, and have been given enough to eat and drink, they are then allowed in the evening (for Limoges then the Tuesday evening) to see their hens.
After a short period of time the hens and the dishes are removed. In this way there is less work on the day of basketting, and then they can according to those for whom this works best, take the pigeons to the club without having to mess about with hens, dishes and other baskets. This national victory is the result of racing at the top of the pigeon sport for years, with many top prizes at provincial and national level with now the ultimate reward of the 'national victory' from Limoges. Congratulations to Carlos and his wife, known in pigeon circles as the duo Herman-Haustraete!