As always, we were warmly greeted by Dirk. We asked him about how things were going in his pigeon loft, and he went right ahead. "I only want to do what I feel like these days", Dirk says. "This means racing with a considerably smaller team compared to recent years. I have quite a few empty lofts now, and I raised the bar even further for my pigeons." In other words, Dirk Van Dyck went for a different approach, although his (breeding) foundation and his achievements are still just as impressive. He continues to rely on the descendants of Kannibaal and Di Caprio, with more specifically Blauwe Kannibaal Junior, which is related to Kannibaal through four different strains, and Olympic Niels (a son of Di Caprio). These two have managed to follow in the footsteps of the team's most iconic breeders.
It is no coincidence that both of Dirk's national ace pigeons are related to these two bloodlines.
Nina won a title of 9th Nat. Ace Pigeon shorter middle distance YLs 2019 last season. Her racing career as a young bird only started in August 2018 but she quickly began to deliver: she won a 2nd of 251 p. in Quiévrain on 30th of September 2018, which was only her fourth race. And he went on to compete in the middle distance as a yearling this season, were she was impossible to ignore:
6. Toury 1,667 p. (8 June) 1. Melun 2,085 p. (15 June) 13. Melun 1,687 p. (22 June) 3. Chevrainvilliers 1,224 p. (6 July) 4. Chevrainvilliers 943 p. (21 July)
She is a daughter of Blauwe Kannibaal Junior BE11-6240027, winner of 2 x 1st Provincial: one from Montluçon (of 1,322 p.) and another from Salbris (of 1,100 p.).
As his name suggests, this breeding cock is closely related to Kannibaal. He is related to Dirk's iconic breeder through four strains.
The dam is another ace pigeon: Little Queen BE14-6241188. She was 3rd Nat. Ace Pigeon shorter middle distance YLs in 2015. It goes to show that Nina has some excellent origins: both her sire and dam were great racing birds!
Mathieu was outstanding in his year of birth, winning three first prizes almost right away. It resulted in a title of 11th Nat. Ace Pigeon sprint YBs 2019.
He is a son of 'Son Olymic Niels' BE14-624163, a sensational new breeder coming from Olympic Niels and a daughter of Kannibaal. The dam is Blauw BE14-4056813 of Marcel De Maere (Puivelde, BE).
And for Mathieu's palmares in his year of birth, click here.
These national ace pigeon titles are the result of an excellent season across the board. The team did really well, winning races from May until September. And Dirk had an excellent prize percentage race after race as well.
We take a look at some of his results from 2019:
Noyon 12/05/19: 1-4-6-7-10-12-16-18-19-25-26-32-33-46-52-... (31/61) of 506 old birds 1-3-5-6-7-9-12-14-18-19-23-24-... (25/50) of 341 yearlings Toury 01/06/19: 10-11-17-23-37-69-94-102-108-130-232-... (26/41) of 2,358 old birds 6-13-22-67-72-87-153-... (17/31) of 1,540 yearlings Toury 08/06/19: 1-2-10-22-24-25-100-101-... (18/26) 1,049 old birds 1-8-12-13-14-51-52-... (14/18) 631 yearlings Melun 15/06/19: 1-10-11-53-65-71-74-164-172-... (15/26) 2,085 old birds 1-10-35-42-95-... (10/18) 1,364 yearlings Chevrainvilliers 06/07/19: 1-3-6-11-14-36-55-... (13/28) 706 old birds 1-3-4-8-10-25-... (9/21) 490 yearlings Chevrainvilliers 21/07/19: 4-6-8-28-... (11/26) 943 old birds 3-5-7-24-... (9/26) 619 yearlings Quiévrain 21/07/19: 1-12-35-49-... (6/12) 775 young birds Quiévrain 04/08/19: 1-2-21-34-... (8/12) 703 young birds Chateauroux national 10/08/19: 33-215-240-279-639-706-1861-... (15/23) 22,476 young birds Melun 10/08/19: 10-47-58-65-86-91-91-91-97-106-... (20/34) 1,713 young birds Melun 19/08/19: 9-45-60-64-67-68-101-125-127-147-149-151-156-... (22/42) 2,043 young birds Quiévrain 19/08/19: 1-5-8-13-13-19-27-... (9/10) 387 young birds Quiévrain 25/08/19: 1-6-8-11-29-35-... (7/10) 553 young birds Melun 31/08/19: 1-14-20-38-39-48-51-58-82-99-107-111-116-122-... (26/34) 1,520 young birds Quiévrain 01/09/19: 1-2-5-7-20-32-... (8/9) 482 young birds Quiévrain 04/09/19: 2-3-15-... (8/8) 141 young birds Chateauroux 06/09/19: 2-13-24-39-48-... (13/23) 621 young birds Quiévrain 08/09/19: 1-6-33-35-36-36-... (8/8) 423 young birds
Like we said, the number of pigeons in Dirk's collection went down considerably. On top of that, the sprint is still one of the favourite competitions of Dirk, who decided that he only wants to enjoy his hobby from now on. These factors have had quite an impact on the size of his old birds', yearlings' and young birds' team.
"I have eight widowers for 2020 that will be raced in Quiévrain. Besides, I have 45 hens that will be divided over shorter and longer middle distance races. I also breed an additional 150 young birds, and that's it. And I quite like it: it feels manageable, I have everything under control. And I am surrounded by a great team that helps me out as well. I have a driver who can take away the pigeons past Duffel, I have someone who can take my clock to the club, etc."
Dirk and his impressive trophy room
Always eager to race
"Keep in mind that I was hospitalised on 1st of May 2019, and that I spent two weeks there. I had already made up my mind: I assumed pigeon racing was almost a thing of the past", Dirk told us. But Dirk actually managed to come back, turning 2019 into another stellar season, winning 30 first prizes, alongside the two ace pigeon titles that we already mentioned. And he sounds more committed than ever for the upcoming season. "I am not yet throwing in the towel; I am still a force to be reckoned with", he warns.
Dirk Van Dyck in 2020? A fancier with a heart of gold and a heart for pigeons. He has been through a lot and yet he has been winning numerous races with his powerful pigeon breed. But today he just wants to enjoy his hobby, racing fewer pigeons while being surrounded with more people. And he is still just as ambitious: he wants to win every single race. With this mindset, we are confident that Nina and Mathieu have not been the last pigeons to win a national ace pigeon title for him. Quite the contrary. We think the team from Zonhoven is in for another spetacular season of racing, incited by a highly ambitious fancier. We wish you all the best, Dirk!