Bart & Nance Van Oeckel (Oud-Turnhout, BE) win 1° Nat. La Souterraine 3.562 o.b. and have the fastest pigeon from the 20.124 participating pigeons!

Bart and Nance didn’t only clock the 1° national La Souterraine by the old birds, but caused a real spectacle, with pigeons in the 4° + 5° place and no less than 6 pigeons by the 35° prize national!

The least we can say is that the Van Oeckel family has certainly raced into the national spotlight this season… because at the end of May father Jan won the 1° national Bourges yearlings, and this time it was son Bart’s turn to take the national honour from La Souterraine by the old birds. Bart & Nance clocked their national winner at 15h 10’ 35” from a distance of 620,202 Km, good enough for the highest velocity of the entire convoy with 1548,248 m/min. At 15h17 and 15h18 they clocked their next old birds which resulted in a 4th and 5th place national.  In second place we find the unavoidable Gaston Van de Wouwer- Berlaar  with (1546 m) which was also good enough for 10th national by the youngsters, whilst in third place national a very strong Andre Roodhooft- Pulderbos (1524 m) who also won 6th national by the youngsters (even the 7 first pigeons in the club)!

Victory for a true  La Souterraine specialist
That is the least we can say when we look at the honours list of Bart Van Oeckel since his start in 2001. His ambition was to join the national top in the shortest space of time. Professionally Bart (40 y.) runs an industrial bakery, and employs 14 people… every day he supplies between the 30 and 40 outlets, which demands great organisation and brings pressure. Luckily he can rely on Firmin Oris for the care and training of his pigeons, who carries out Bart’s requests to the letter, that is why at all costs Bart Firmin wants to include him in the honour of this national victory… whilst wife Nance also helps him.

As manager of an industrial bakery, Bart knows better than anybody that you only get the best end product by using the best ingredients. A philosophy which is perfectly applicable to the pigeon sport… that’s why when he started, Bart invested in excellent starting material, with great results. Pigeons out the lines Ad Scharlaekens and Van Hove-Uytterhoeven ensured national victory in 2006, then later, pigeons were obtained from the very best of Rudi Diels (sister ‘Goudhaantje’, which was mother of ‘Miss Poznan’ over which more later), L-B-J. Geerinckx (obtained via Jos Vissers), Gaston Van de Wouwer, Heremans-Ceusters etc. Since his start Bart has made the national La Souterraine  his main aim, in which he has been very successful… and how, take a look at the following figures: 

2003: 36° Nat La Souterraine 3.233 o.b.
2004: 1° Prov and 13° Nat La Souterraine 3.150 o.b.
2005: 3° Nat La Souterraine 3.444 o.b.
2006: 1° National and further 16-27° Nat La Souterraine 3.607 o.b.
2007: 6-16-34-57°… Nat La Souterraine 4.331 o.b.
2008: 26° Nat La Souterraine 4.660 o.b.
2009: 11° Nat La Souterraine 4.459 o.b.
2010: 10-14-28-35-37° Nat La Souterraine 4.778 o.b.
2011: 1-4-5-21-22-30-33-44-48° Nat La Souterraine 3.562 o.b.

Phenomenal isn’t it? We can rightly ask ourselves if anyone did any better in this period! 


To achieve these performances Bart always ensures that his pigeons have a fitting nest position. The total loft stock consists of  35 breeding couples, 200 youngsters, and 40 racing couples old birds (o.b. + yl cocks and hens) which are raced in total widowhood. The pigeons used to be coupled after Limoges yl (middle of July), so that they would have a fitting nest position for La Souterraine. This year Bart waited to couple his pigeons until just after the national Bourges II at the end of July. For this he didn’t race national Argenton, but entered his pigeons for Blois when they had been brooding for a few days. During the week prior to basketting for La Souterraine a small youngster was placed under the pigeons so that they could be basketted with a 10 day old youngster… which gave them an enormous boost of motivation, with the well-known result… a real stunt result, feel free to call it a true commandeering from La Souterraine, with national victory by the old birds! 

Union Antwerp  600 o.b.: 1-4-5-13-15-16… (19/40)

National      3.562 o.b.: 1-4-5-21-22-30-33-44-48… etc. 

By minifying their youngsters, Bart hopes for another stunt from this team of old birds from Gueret!

Last year Bart & Nance, with their ‘Miss Poznan’ (BE08-6031114) won the 1° Olympiad bird Poznan Long Distance (Cat C) in Belgium. She was bred out the ‘Zwarten Diamant’ B05-6054296, a direct Luc-Bart and Jurgen Geerinckx from Wommelgem (obtained via Jos Vissers) x ‘Sister Goudhaantje’ (Rudi Diels). This ‘Zwarten Diamant’ came by Geerinckx self out the ‘Blauwe IJzeren 311/96’ (a super breeder and self father of the ‘Diamantje’… which won 1st Vierzon 617 p. and is mother of the 1st Prov Chateauroux 3.147 p… the ‘Blauw Vierzonneke’, ‘Iron Lady’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘Iron Star’, ‘Blue Girl’ etc…) x ‘Licht Geschelpt As 305/96’.

This same ‘Zwarten Diamant’ is now (this time coupled with the ‘Super Kleintje’ B02-6330844 originating from Jef De Houwer) also the father of the brand new winner 1° National La Souterraine , namely the ‘F16’… not just any old pigeon, but a real ‘crack’, take a look: 

-‘F16’ B09-6107016

 1° Nat La Souterraine  3.562 p. ’11
 5° Nat Bourges I      24.676 p. ’11
10° Nat La Souterraine  4.778 p. ’10
10° Prov Blois            383 p. ’10
41° S-Nat Vierzon      11.062 p. ’11
58° Prov Chateauroux    3.147 p. ’10 
63° Nat Gueret          2.953 p. ’10
206° Nat Bourges I     17.138 p. ’10
216° Nat Argenton I    11.001 p. ’11
354° Nat La Châtre     15.780 p. ’11
860° Nat Argenton I    19.816 p. ’10 etc… 

The Van Oeckel-pigeons are usually basketted every week during the racing season, with generally a 500-600km race every 2 weeks (grand middle distance to light long distance) alternated with a shorter race. Since Bart and Nance became friends with Agy and Pascal Verreckt-Ariën, he changed over to the system from Matador on the advice of Pascal, and also to his system of training and coaching the pigeons. Bart discovered that in addition to excellent pigeons and an ideal loft accommodation… coaching, training, food and motivation are also important factors in achieving top performances! The perfect system probably doesn’t exist… but whoever is closest to perfection, and makes the least mistakes, probably has the greatest chance of success!

Was it a coincidence that it was precisely these 2 befriended colonies (Bart & Nance Van Oeckel and Verreckt-Ariën), who took national victory in both categories from this La Souterraine? Whoever believes that… also believes in Father Christmas!