G. & S. Verkerk (Reeuwijk, NL) let their racing team blaze through the natour competition

A team consisting of all the young and old racing birds of Gerard and Bas Verkerk has been dominating the field in South Holland in recent weeks. The team had the fastest 10 pigeons from Duffel (8,371 pigeons), followed by a 1-2-3 from Asse-Zellik (3,363 pigeons).

The high number of talented racing birds that Bas had basketed recently had been a topic for discussion: he had basketed no less than 375 and 371 pigeons for the two races. Still, their level of dominance (see below) and their impressive prize percentage (56% and 78% respectively) clearly illustrate the high level of quality among these pigeons, and the level of dedication from the two fanciers. But first, here is a look at the results:

13-08-2017 Duffel (107 km) 3,708 p.
  Total 62x top 100
  210 prizes of 375 pigeons
  142 prizes 1:10
  And the fastest 10 in the race of 8,371 pigeons
  58 pigeons of Verkerk among the fastest 106
19-08-2017 Asse-Zellik (133 km) 3,636 p.
  23rd-24th-25th-26th-27th-28th-32nd to 55th, etc.
  Total 75x top 100
  289 prizes of 371 pigeons
  198 prizes 1:10

Father and son Verkerk are professional fanciers who basket their youngsters for the natour competition after some bad experiences in the young birds' races in recent years. It explains the high number of pigeons in the basket. We understand that some fanciers have a strong opinion about this. Still, Bas has been able to get his entire racing team in great form, and this results in an impressive series of top results, with most fanciers hardly managing to get one of their pigeons in between. Needless to say, Bas relies on a pigeon collection of impeccable quality that has been winning top prizes from regional to international level for many years. This team has shown its level of quality even in races with large numbers of pigeons.

1st fastest Duffel 8,371 p.: NL16-1525989 ‘Laetitia’

‘Laetitia’ was second nominated; she has won 7 prizes 1:100 this season
Her sire is Milo, owned by fellow fancier Dempsey Dong from China, which Bas could breed some youngsters from. Milo is a direct Verbree and winner of a 1st NPO Bourges 5,181 p. and 19th NPO Vierzon.
The dam is Katja, winner of a 4th NPO Chateaudun 11,572 p. (behind 3 loft mates) from top class racing and breeding bird Sven (half brother Solange) x Bonita (top class daughter of Bulldozer x Solange).
Click here for the pedigree

2nd fastest Duffel 8,371 p.: NL16-1525953

Bred from sire x grandfather of Lizzie, 2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon One Day Long Distance WHZB/The Best Of The Best, 5x top 5 national Ace Pigeon and winner of 3rd and 5th NPO.
The sire is Captain Hook, a good racing bird and a great breeder: he is also the sire of     
      - Tinker Bell 1st prov. Meaux 17,204 p. and substitute pigeon Olympiad
      - 10th Nat. Ace Pigeon Special One
      - Winner of 2nd NPO Ruffec 3,780 p. behind loft mate
He is a half brother of Bulldozer, Nadala, Federer, etc.
The dam is Sieka, winner of an 8th-11th-11th-14th NPO and the dam of
      - Mona Lisa 2x top 10 prov. and the dam of a 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon One Day Long Distance Fondspiegel 2016
      - Jessie with a 10th NPO Vierzon 14,964 p.
      - Flintstone 1st Creil 1,186 p. and top breeder
      - And grandmother of Lizzie
Sieka comes from top pair Mission Impossible (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon) x Oprah (3rd Nat. Hen WHZB and stock breeder)
Click here for the pedigree

3rd fastest Duffel 8,371 p.: NL16-1526131

The sire is Bradley, a good racing bird but first of all a top breeder. He is the sire of Eternity, winner of 2 x 1st and 2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon Allround and 3rd Nat. Ace Pigeon Yearlings 2015 (PIPA rankings). Bradley also bred the fastest from Nanteuil of 31,438 p. and a 7th NPO Bourges 9,576 p. He is a son of Blue Champ (2 x 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon 2009 and a great breeder) x Oprah, a stock breeder.
The dam is Eye Catcher, one of the big stars of this loft. She was the fastest from Mantes-la-Jolie 20,506 pigeons, and she is now the dam of
      - Eternity, 2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon Allround (PIPA rankings) & 3rd Nat. Ace Pigeon Yearlings 2015 (PIPA rankings)
      - Olympic Fire Eyes, Olympiad Pigeon Long Distance Brussels 2017; 2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance 2016 (PIPA rankings) and 3rd Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance Topwings 2015
            6th Nat. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance/Long Distance 2016 (PIPA rankings)
            4th Nat. Chateauroux 47,539 p. 2016 … 6th NPO Argenton 7,374 p. 2016
            1st - 2,454 p. / 3rd Prov. Pont-St.-Maxence 13,116 p. … 6th NPO Bourges 9,742 p.
      - Dedication, 1st Prov. Nanteuil 12,543 p. & fastest of 31,438 p.
      - Highlight, 1st NPO Ruffec 3,780 p. 2016 … total 2x 1st prize
      - 6th Prov. Sens 11,608 p. 2014 … 10th Prov. St.-Juste 7,316 p.
Eye Catcher is a daughter of Olympic Survivor x Magic Amoré,  van ‘Olympic Survivor’ x ‘Magic Amoré’ en daarmee volle zus van ‘Olympic Solange’.
Click here for the pedigree

The rest of the top 10 in Duffel 8,371 p.:

4th fastest: NL17-1277316; son of Snowflake x Fatima
5th fastest: NL17-1277207; daughter of Jack x Lola-Lily
6th fastest: NL17-1277240; daughter of Dirty Harry x Silvermist
7th fastest: NL16-1526108; daughter of Super 403 x Rose
8th fastest: NL17-1277359; son of Goofy x Magic Adora
9th fastest: NL16-1525885; son of Dotan x Qingdao
10th fastest: NL17-1277441; daughter of Guus Jr. x Meghan

1st fastest Asse-Zellik 3,636 p.: NL16-1525854

Winner of a 5th NPO La Souterraine 4,783 p. earlier this season
The sire is Elize's Last, a youngster of the two top breeders Little Tiger x Elize; he was sent to the breeding loft fairly quickly. Little Tiger bred Olympiad Pigeon Olympic Sponge Bob, and such successful racing birds as Kournikova, Puma, James, etc. Elize became 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Master Award and winner of a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th in major competitions.
The dam is Tinker Bell, one of the most sensational racing bird in recent years:
      1st fastest prov. Meaux 32,917 p.
      8th NPO Bourges 9,576 p.
      9th fastest prov. Nanteuil 13,814 p.
      2nd substitute Olympiad Yearling 2015
She is a daughter of Captain Hook x Bridget, which makes her a half sister of Lizzie (2nd-2nd-2nd-3rd-5th Nat. Ace Pigeon and 3rd-5th NPO), Special One (5th Prov. & 10th Nat. Ace Pigeon) and 2nd NPO Ruffec 2,780 p. behind a loft mate
Click here for the pedigree

2nd fastest of Asse-Zellik 3,636 p.: NL17-1277317

The sire is Snowflake, a direct Willem De Bruijn from Olympic Hurricane, Olympiad Pigeon Poznan with 2x 1st of over 2,000 p. and the sire of Olympiad Pigeon Froome. The dam is Babette, 2nd NPO Orleans 7,259 p. and 1st Epernay 297 p., and 5th Nat. Ace Pigeon Allround TBOTB and 8th Nat. Ace Pigeon Natour WHZB 2010.
The dam is Fatima, a very good racing bird of Verkerk from a first prize winning son of Olympic Survivor (and thus a half brother Solange x daughter of Bradley).
Click here for the pedigree

3rd fastest of Asse-Zellik 3,636 p.: NL15-1706415

This pigeon is also 2nd Pigeon Champion Middle Distance Rayon East Province 5 in 2017
The sire is Dirty Harry, a youngster of top pair Mission Impossible (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon) x Olympic Solange (6x 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon and Olympiad Pigeon).
The dam is Narnia, 6th Prov. Ace Pigeon One Day Long Distance 2012 from Icarus (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance Master Awards) x Sita (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon WHZB 2007). Narnia is a half sister of many talented racing birds including Pink and Replica.
Click here for the pedigree

The Verkerk pigeon breed is founded on such renowned pigeons as Olympic Solange, Eye Catcher and Feline, which are highly successful racing birds that proved invaluable in the breeding loft as well. "This has always been our philosophy", Bas explains. "We never sell our best racing birds; we keep them for the breeding loft. I think this is the key to success. It is great to see how some of our first prize winners from recent weeks originate from our most successful racing birds from a few years ago, for instance Lola Lilly (1st NPO Bourges 9,742 p.) and Tinker Bell (1st Prov. Meaux 17,204 p.)."

"But that does not mean we do not introduce any new pigeons every once in a while. Take for instance the direct Koopman hen Magic Adora, which is growing to become the new Magic Amore (her half sister and an oustanding breeder). Magic Adora is the dam of a 5th Nat. Chateauroux 2016 and 1st Peronne of 2017, and of a 2nd Prov. Ace Pigeon One Day Long Distance and 5th Prov. Ace Pigeon One Day Long Distance 2017 (and best yearling as well). She is quite a talented breeder indeed. These are youngsters from great champions that eventually turn into invaluable breeders themselves."

Hoe aan de start van de natour …

The old birds are still raced in total widowhood, and they are basketed to win points for the national and international competitions. They have 26 top 25 placings NPO across the six one day long distance races, which explains why Gerard and Bos are still well in contention for the different ace pigeon titles. The fact that these pigeons continue to deliver in the natour races is testament to the allround potential of the Verkerk pigeon. They do not mind if they have to fly one hour or ten hours straight. 

The youngsters sit together and they are bred in four rounds. The youngest ones are now three months old. They did five training flights themselves, followed by two flights organised by the province. They had some good results (see earlier), even though this was only their eighth time in the basket. All pigeons get Forte Vita (Travipharma) added to their drinking water once a week. In addition, they get a Verkerk mixture of Beyers; this very mixture has led to NPO wins and other top results in several other lofts as well. Any medical assistance is provided by De Weerd in Breda or VD Sluis in Kockengen. There is a treatment for tricho every four weeks with different products, and an ornithosis treatment once a year as well.

Bas brings up one of his favourite topics: good results in other lofts. He remembers that a brother of Solange is now the grandfather of a 1st International Agen for Gero Dijk, and just a short while ago team Van vliet-Van Mastright won a 1st NPO Prov. 6 from Pont-St.-Maxence against 5,403 pigeons with a pigeon that stems for 100% from the Reeuwijk bloodlines. It proves a point, something we know all too well: the Verkerk pigeon, was and still is an invaluable bloodline in international pigeon racing!