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Wim & Bertrik Murk (IJsselstein, NL) joined the top of National Extreme Long Distance racing with a 'small basket'

Despite racing only 24 pairs (incl. yearlings) and housing 8 breeding pairs, Wim & Bertrik have been amongst the best extreme long distance fanciers in the Netherlands for years. Past season was another beautiful season with several phenomenal results.
Fenna (15), Wim (86), Thijs (14) and Bertrik (46) Murk

Ever since they started racing extreme long distance several decades ago, Wim and Bertrik have managed to stand in the spotlights. In 2009, for instance, they won the 1st NPO Perígueux. Thereafter, they continued to excel on a national level, year in, year out. You can find several examples of their phenomenal results below (only Top 10 NPO/Nat./Int. results are mentioned): 

1st National Ace Pigeon Pau ZLU 2015-2017 (Helen)
1st Int St.-Vincent 3,490 p. 1,045 km
1st Int Bergerac 6,931 p. 865 km
1st NPO Perígueux 4,348 p. 826 km
1st NPO Orange 879 p. 878 km
1st Nat Narbonne S3+4 1,661 p. 1,000 km
1st Ace Pigeon Fondunie 2000
1st Fondclub Utrecht ZLU Marathon
2nd WESM West European Super Marathon
2nd NPO Bordeaux 2,465 p. 895 km
3rd Pyrenees Cup Fondunie 2000
3rd Fondunie 2000
4th National Ace Pigeon Marseille ZLU 2017-2019 (Marseille Lady 150)
5th Europa Marathon
8th National Ace Pigeon Pau ZLU 2018-2020 (Marseille Lady 150)
7th WESM West European Super Marathon
8th NPO Orange 879 p. 878 km
9th National Marathon
10th WESM West European Super Marathon
10th Olympiad pigeon Marathon The Netherlands

Theft and re-building

There was an abrupt end to these successes in 2020. One weekend in March 2020 all their breeders were stolen including their National Ace Pigeon Helen. This cowardly theft had a huge impact on the whole family, "always living with the fear of it happening again". 

What happened after the theft can only be described at special; Top fanciers ensured that their breeding loft was once again filled with top pigeons in 2020/2021. 

  • Befriended fancier Joost de Smeyter (De Smeyter-Restiaen) brought the best from his famous bloodlines; two youngsters from co-breeding with Cas (1st Int. Pau and super breeder) x Helen (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Pau 3 years) in addition to a youngster from his top breeder Schone Sous Jr. 
  • Michel Verweij (Comb. Verweij-De Haan) brought several late youngsters from 2019 from their strong extreme long distance stock. One of these pigeons already became mother of 5th Nat. Bordeaux and 14th Int. Perpignan in 2023 (son Milos x daughter Milos). 
  • They swap several youngsters with Ad Fortuin each year which have resulted in top racers and breeders on both lofts. 
  • Hugo Batenburg lent them a pigeon to re-build. This wasn't just any pigeon, but a son from New Laureaat x the best breeding daughter of New Witbuik. 

In addition to the best pigeons from their own stock, Wim and Bertrik could start breeding with a new strong breeding team in 2021. They also decided to move the stars Lucky 13 and Marseille Lady 150 to the breeding lofts. 

Both Lucky 13 and Marseille Lady 150 are grandchildren of top breeder Fenna, who made a namer for herself on the lofts of the Murk family as well as that of Freialdenhofen en Sohne (DE). Fenna is grandmother of a/o 1st Nat. Pau '23, 1st Nat. Agen YL '18, 1st Nat. Narbonne '20, 2nd Int. Marseille '18, 2nd Nat. Agen '18, 3rd Nat. Narbonne '18, etc. 

NL18-1708713, Lucky 13

Lucky 13 became the winner of National Narbonne (S2 & S3) in 2020 and also flew 72nd National Agen that same year. He was thereby crowned 1st Ace Pigeon Fondunie 2000. Lucky 13 is a son of top breeder De Teen (son Fenna) x Helen (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon ZLU Pau 3 years). 

NL15-1503150, Marseille Lady 150

Marseille Lady 150 was also transferred to the breeding loft. She never missed a prize and won 9 prizes from 9 races. She thereby became a/o 4th National Ace Pigeon Marseille across 3 years and 8th National Ace Pigeon Pau across 3 years. Marseille Lady 150 is a half-sister of the abovementioned Lucky 13 and thus a granddaughter of super breeder Fenna. 

Pigeon fancier's lung and recent highlights 

At the beginning of July last year, Bertrik received urgent advice from the lung expertise center to break all contact with pigeons. Bertrik has been using a mask on the lofts for several years now, but unfortunately this did not solve the problem of continuous inflammation of both lungs (pigeon fancier's lung). After this sad announcement, the pigeons were already prepared for International St. Vincent (1,044 km). Of the 7 pigeons that were basketed, no less than 6 pigeons managed to reach the loft on the day of release, led by Miss Europe.

NL21-1024725, Miss Europe

Miss Europe arrived at 20:39 on the day of release across a distance of 1,044km. She thereby took 71st National (2,532 p.) and 55th International Hens (2,092 p.). This was not her first top result as you can read below: 

71st Nat. St.Vincent '23 2,532 p. (55th Int. Hens (2,092 p.)
330th Int. Pau '23 3,559 Hens
665th Int. Perpignan '23 4,633 p.
2006th Int. Narbonne '22 12,821 p.
60th NPO Agen YL '22 292 p.
6th Ace Pigeon Afd. 7 '23
7th Best European Hen Int. races '23 (PIPA Ranking)
46th Best European pigeon across 3 Int. races '23 (PIPA Ranking)

The pedigree of Miss Europe solely includes performance pigeons. Her father is Strong 43, he himself was good for 9 International prizes. He won a/o two early prizes on Marseille and also twice on Barcelona. 

After St. Vincent and the terrible news from the lung doctor, this same doctor gave Bertrik the advice to say goodbye to pigeon sport in a good way, emotionally. It was therefore decided not to basket Narbonne and Marseille, but work towards the last exteme long distance race of the season, Perpignan. With help and advice from befriended fancier Ad Fortuin, all pigeons were paired and in the end 34 were chosen to be basketed on Perpignan, with success. 

Several pigeons on the shorter distances in France and Belgium managed to reach the lofts on the day of release from Perpignan. On camera footage from the Murk household we can see that there was already a pigeon around the lofts at 02:00 in the night. Based on the footage he must have arrived between 23:30 and 02:00. The pigeon was only clocked at 05:53. This pigeon would have reached the same speeds as the pigeons with the highest speeds on shorter distances, although uniquely this pigeon continued to fly during the night. The superstar in question is...

NL21-1024735, Last Action Hero

The pigeon Last Action Hero thanks his name to the fact that it was the last race which Wim and Bertrik participated in. This Last Action Hero wins 14th International Perpignan against 16,033 pigeons. Moreover, he also stood in the spotlights on St. Vincent from which he arrived at 23:37 on the day of release after 1,044km. The pedigree of this crack is dream-like. His father (Laureaat300) is a son of New Laureaat x best breeding daughter New Witbuik (on loan from Hugo Batenburg) x a donated pigeon from Verweij-De Haan (Special Inbred Milos) of which the parents are both bred from super breeder Milos. 

The above mentioned Special Inbred Milos is a true breeding revelation. She has only been breeding since 2021 and is already mother and grandmother of: 

14th Int. Perpignan '23 (16,033 p.): Wim en Bertrik Murk
5th Nat. Bordeaux '23 : Eric Houter
12th Nat. Narbonne SII '23 : Ad Fortuin

NL22-8299535, Miracle Yearling

Another sensational results was achieved on Perpignan by this Miracle Yearling. This yearling hen with fantastic muscles and soft plumage was first raced on Agen (953km) and arrived on the day of release at 21:36. She thereby took 122nd National against 5,297 pigeons. Thereafter, she was also basketed for the final Perpignan and won another top prize with the 145th International against 4,529 hens. Mother of Miracle Yearling is Special Adele, obtained through trading a few pigeons with Ad Fortuin. Special Adele herself was crowned 25th Best European Perpignan pigeon across 2 years (PIPA Ranking). She is a granddaughter of both Special One and New Remy. 

Father of Miracle Yearling is a son of Ca$h, from co-breeding with Joost de Smeyter and Bertrik Murk. Ca$h is a direct son of Cas (1st International Pau) x Helen (1st National Ace Pigeon Pau 3 years) and top racer with 6x National Top 90. 

Besides Ca$h, there was another top pigeon from Joost de Smeyter which moved to the breeding loft in Ijsselstein... 

BE19-4169528, Dutch Joost

Dutch Joost is brother and half-brother of National Ace Pigeon and top performers on a National level (see pedigree). He is a grandchild of 640 Sister Joost. This hen from 2003 is also grandmother of Olympiad pigeon Garcia with a/o 8th National Barcelona'23, 8th National Perpignan '22 and 18th National Perpignan '23, but also of Floorke with 1st International hens Barcelona '18. Hen 640 Sister Joost has become a true super breeder. 

NL21-1177619, Special Hugo

The last pigeon we will introduce in this list of top pigeons from '23 is Special Hugo. Special Hugo is a late youngster from '21 and he has only been raced twice. With 3 old flights he won an impressive 1:10 prize on Bergerac as a yearling. Now in '23 he immediately won the 71st National Agen against 5,449 pigeons. Special Hugo is a grandchild of the International Barcelona winners New Laureaat and Special One. The fact that a half-brother of Special Hugo was awarded the title of 8th National Ace Pigeon Marathon ZLU in '22 proves the phenomenal breeding value of this bloodline.