That he has a ‘feeling’ for animals, including ‘pigeons’, was proven in 2011 when his ‘Philippe Gilbert’ was proclaimed 1° Nat Ace bird sprint youngsters KBDB. Although rolled in to the pigeon sport in rather a peculiar way. It was when he was working by the ‘DAF’… as Dirk roguishly describes it himself … that he took up the challenge from a few of his workmates that in the shortest space of time he would be very successful in the pigeon sport. You know how it goes says Dirk… the men sat there all day telling ‘tall stories’ about their pigeons, until one day I said: ‘I’ll teach you to race pigeons’. Some kennels were hastily converted into lofts … the game could begin. The successes came immediately. Before this, Dirk had never been in contact with pigeons… has he got something ‘special’ then, something which we mysteriously describe as a ‘feeling’ for pigeons or animals? Look, says Dirk… since I was small I’ve lived amongst animals, from experience I know how to treat animals. First a dogs (‘Belgian Shepherd Dogs’) which were trained to enter competitions… later in the dressage of horses. In fact, according to Dirk, the same saying is applicable to all animals… As the twig is bent, the tree is inclined! The younger the animal, the easier it is to teach them something… to mould them. It is no different with pigeons… you have to show them who is ‘boss’, what is expected of them… teach them ‘discipline’, to make them heel. If they are young, they don’t know any better, so you can teach them things easier! Could it be that Dirk learned the ‘discipline’ in the army during the 6 years (starting when he was 17) he was in the service of our national forces?
Straight to the top
Yet better than anybody, Dirk discovered that to reach the ‘top’, you had the best chance with the best material… it is identical in every sport with animals! When he started in 1991 he visited the auction of Karel Goossens from Lichtaart and bought 6 pigeons. Also a cock from Jef Neefs from Gierle and 2 pigeons from Herman Noyens from Kasterlee also lay at the basis of stunt results which Dirk managed to book straight away. In the period 1991-2005 no less than 300 x 1° prizes were won… until he had a sabbatical in 2005, and got rid of all his pigeons. Although in advance he gave 8 pigeons from his better couples to sport friend Wim Laenen. In 2005 Dirk started studying ‘nursing’… as a fledgling 40 year old amongst the ‘teenagers’. After 3 years he completed his studies (in 2008)… and the pigeon microbe started itching again, and si he started with the pigeon sport again. Who could he better visit than Wim Laenen to get back his own successful sort… especially the line of his 'Miss Waarborg' demanded a leading role in these successes. Nearly every child of this racing and breeding wonder also won 1° prizes... clearly a talent, and specific to the sort! The rest of the story is more or less well-known… at the end of 2011 Dirk Leysen was flagged as winner 1° National Ace bird Sprint youngsters with his ‘Philippe Gilbert’… a young muscleman with a total of 23 prizes to his name!
-‘Philippe Gilbert’ BE11-6097706
1° Nat. Asduif Snelheid Jonge KBDB 2011 1° Quiévrain 1.366 d. 1° Quiévrain 835 d. 1° Quiévrain 614 d. 1° Quiévrain 393 d. 2° Quiévrain 289 d. 3° Quiévrain 599 d. 4° Quiévrain 365 d. 5° Quiévrain 798 d. 9° Quiévrain 711 d. 10° Quiévrain 488 d. 12° Quiévrain 748 d. 17° Quiévrain 405 d. 19° Quiévrain 480 d. 20° Quiévrain 528 d. 34° Quiévrain 1.110 d.
He comes out ‘Zomerjong’ BE05-6418067 (self out ‘Son Gebroken Vleugel’ 740/01, self 2 x 1° Quiévrain… x ‘Noyens Duivin 526/03’originating from Wim Noyens and winner 1° Noyon 815 p., 1° Quiévrain 706 p., 1° Quiévrain 195 p.) x ‘Broosduivin’ BE07-6165968 (originating from Staf Broos from Lichtaart).
After studying nursing Dirk also followed a course ‘executive training’ as a result of which he became charge nurse in the ‘Vogelzang’ in Herentals at the end of 2010. A full time job with a great deal of responsibility. This means that Dirk doesn’t have much time to take care of his pigeons, but, resourceful as he is… he looked for and found a more or less ideal system which allows him to excel in the sprint races. There is no time for training the pigeons a great deal, as is now commonplace. Dirk resolved this by basketting his pigeons every Wednesday for Ronquiéres (except in bad weather conditions), and when a strong south-westerly wind is predicted for the weekend, he dares to take his youngsters away on a Saturday morning up to 20 Km… with the aim of teaching them to orientate.
Normally the youngsters are not darkened and are raced with a nest, sometimes coupled with old partners, but definitely not necessary. He tried to race his national Acebird in widowhood, but he refused to mate with an old hen... but he could race ‘front’ like no other! Both the breeding and racing pigeons take part in winter breeding and raise 2 youngsters, to then go straight into widowhood… where both cocks and hens are raced in widowhood, although not all hens are suitable for this, says Dirk. Those which show signs of wanting to pair with other hens are removed straight away… Dirk usually puts them with the youngsters where they can be raced with a nest! Dirk likes to enter the youngsters for the races when they are at their ‘top’ (read: ideal nest position), they offer the greatest chance of success! By Dirk Leysen it is then anything but success with the mass… but well with class pigeons at their ‘top’! It’s no wonder he’s known in the area as the ‘Quiévrain specialist’ by far… Feel free on our part to call him the ‘King of Speed’!