Georges, Laurens and Matthias Gyselbrecht (Knesselare, BE) win 1st Prov and 2nd Nat. Chateauroux yearlings

It is for the second consecutive season that the father and sons combination had to settle for second place at national, after taking a 2nd National from Narbonne back in 2016. But there is a saying that goes "third time's a charm".

Matthias and their 2nd National, Laurens with their 28th National, and their father Georges

Did a talented new pigeon fancier emerge in the Gyselbrecht family? It sure looks like it. The team won a 1st Prov. and 2nd Nat. Narbonne yearlings last year and a 4th place in the Belgian Master 2016, and they seem determined to keep up the pace. They have just claimed another first prize in the national race from Chateauroux on 10th of June, taking a provincial victory against 6,312 yearlings and a 2nd and 28th National against 26,737 yearlings. They also had the second fastest pigeon in the entire field of 47,286 pigeons that were released in Chateauroux. This talented and ambitious team has done quite well at national level indeed.

It was father and grandfather Remi who put the Gyselbrecht breed on the map worldwide. His youngest son Georges and his two grandchildren Laurens and Matthias are now working hard to follow in Remi's footsteps, based partly in George's loft. Georges, who built a home next to his parents' house, was the right-hand man of his father Remi for quite a few years. He got involved in the sport from an early age, gaining invaluable experience along the way. When Remi passed away Georges took over the pigeon family, soon enjoying the support of his two sons Laurens and Matthias. This trio was soon on its way to becoming a nationally renowned loft. They not only appear to be the worthy successors for Remi, they are also ready to follow in his footsteps as well. We reckon (grand)father Remi would be very proud of his son and grandsons.

Summerdream wins 1st Prov. and 2nd Nat. Chateauroux

The hens are leading the dance in the loft in Knesselare at the moment. Two top prizes were won in the opening classic from Bourges (5th and 10th prize at club level), as well as some early prizes at national level. They did even better in the race from Chateauroux, where a team of 8 yearlings was able to win 6 early prizes, including two top results: their best two pigeons won a preliminary 2nd and 28th prize at national level against 26,737 pigeons.

Chateauroux club   1,051 YLs: 1-4-192-202-251-299 (6/8)
              Prov 6,312 YLs: 1-10… (preliminary results)
              Nat 26,737 YLs: 2-28… (preliminary results)

The star of the team was Summerdream, which delivered an exceptional performance. She had already gained quite a bit of experience as a young bird, even at national level, as she was able to win a top prize in the closing national race form Chateauroux. She put her experience to good use this season as well with a magnificent result:

-Summerdream BE16-4127530

 1st Prov Chateauroux I  6,312 p. ’17
 2nd Nat Chateauroux I  26,737 p. ’17 (2nd fastest of 47,286 pigeons)
15th Fontenay 144 p. ’17
35th Fontenay 361 p. ’16
706th N.Zone Chateauroux 5.090 p. ’16

Summerdream also won a top prize in the preparatory races from Arras and Clermont this season. She originates from a crossing of Cor Leijtens x Geert and Annick Vanrenterghem.

Sire: Blauw Leijtens NL13-1370929
A direct Cor Leijtens, Oostelbeers (NL). He is a son of their number one stock breeder Lammert NL98-1436441 (1st Olympiad Pigeon NL Sprint 2001 in South Africa, from a crossing of the old Leijtens breed x Bont Scharlaekens) x Vieree NL08-4107571 (from the best cock National WHZB 2007 907 Amore’s Dirk NL04-4155907 x Jacky Blue NL05-4004811, winner of a 1st NPO Blois 4,187 p. Rayon 3).
Dam: Dochter Poot BE12-4176444
A direct Geert and Annick Vanrenterghem. She is a daughter of Poot BE11-4249967, a 100% Gaby Vandenabeele (bred from Vertigo BE06-4352097, a grandson Wittenbuik x Ketty FR05-163171, a sister of national ace pigeon Tulle). Poot was paired to Dochter Cartier BE11-4245597, another 100% Gaby Vandenabeele. She comes from 1st club and 2nd Prov. Limoges 2,594 p. and 1st club and 25th Nat. Souillac 7,760 p. Cartier BE10-4275107 x Witpen Kato BE10-4275146.
Click here for the full pedigree of Summerdream

The second hen that won a national top result originates from the pigeon breed of G-L-M Gyselbrecht from her father's side, based on the lines of stock breeders Onze Johan and Onze Remi. These were crossed with another hen from Geert and Annick Van Renterghem's breed.

-28th Nat Chateauroux BE16-4127505

 4th Chateauroux I       1,051 p. ’17  
28th Nat Chateauroux I  26,737 p. ’17 (preliminary results)
37th Bourges I  623 p. ’17
 7th Doornik    117 p. ’17
38th Fontenay   361 p. ’16
52nd Fontenay   328 p. ’16
87th Fontenay   334 p. ’17

Sire: Halfbroer Onze Johan BE12-3169206
He comes from a joint breeding with Antoine Timmerman from Knesselare. He stems from stock breeder Onze Remi BE07-4235935, a 100% Ludo Claessens pigeon and the sire of super class pigeon Onze Johan (winner of a 1st Chateauroux 731 p. and 14th Prov 6,141 p., 1st Vierzon 1,077 p. and 6th Prov. 8,336 p., 1st Chateauroux 551 p. and 30th Nat. 16,479 p., 8th Prov. Argenton 2,848 .). Onze Remi was paired to Antoine-duivin BE07-420269, owned by Antoine Timmerman (his best young bird in 2007).
Dam: Dochter Vertigo BE14-4033160
A direct Geert and Annick Vanrenterghem. She is a daughter of top breeder Vertigo BE06-4352097, the sire of a 1st Prov. Blois 4,094 p., 2nd Prov. Blois 5,035 p., 7th Prov. Tours 4,203 p., 9th  Nat. Chateauroux 16,479 p., 72nd Nat. Souillac 7,760 p. and a direct Gaby Vandenabeele (he is a grandson of both Wittenbuik and Turbo. Vertigo was paired to Godfreda BE12-3147281 (from Godfried Vd Stichele).
Click here for the full pedigree of the 28th Nat. Chateauroux

The entire team of hens stayed home in the week before Chateauroux. They got a week's rest after the tropical race from Bourges as well, and they were more than ready for Chateauroux (some other pigeons were basketed for Fontenay instead). Some fanciers have argued that hens should be raced every single weekend but the Gyselbrecht birds have proven the contrary.

Successful with the cocks and hens

The Gyselbrecht fanciers are a bunch with strong character, they never give up. Last year they had a difficult start to the season due to the cold and humid weather conditions in the garden lofts but they never backed down. They worked as a team to try and improve their racing birds' fitness, they put in a big effort, and it paid off: once the team was in prime form they quickly managed to get some great results, including most notably a top prize from Narbonne. And let's not forget their results in the Belgian Master last year. Thanks to the mild spring of 2017 the team was in much better shape at this time of year, and this showed in the results.

There is no doubt that the Gyselbrecht breed is a highly talented group of pigeons. They have been one of the world's leading pigeon families for over half a century, and the current generation of fanciers is reaping the benefits. Nevertheless, some outside bloodlines have been introduced to further strenghten the breed in recent years, and clearly with great success.

The 2017 racing season was started with about 80 racing birds, and they had 36 cocks and 35 hens left after a first selection round. Part of the team is raced in total widowhood with the yearlings, and some of the breeding cocks are summoned to await the racing hens when they come home. The old cocks are primarily used for the long distance, and they are raced in clasic widowhood (along with a few yearlings). The hens have only brooded before the start of the season, whereas the cocks did breed youngsters in January.

The hens usually train around noon. Matthias releases them, and Georges calls them back in during his lunch break. Before the race they get to see their partner for half an hour, and after the race they have some time to get back on their feet before being reunited with their cock. They usually get to see each other again after the race closes but they do spend quite some time together, sometimes until the next morning.
The cocks can see their hens before the race as well, usually for about 15 minutes, and for two hours after the race. They do two training flights per day from mid-May. Matthias organises the training in the morning and Georges releases the birds for a second time in the afternoon, so that Laurens can call them in when he gets home from work. This is some excellent team work indeed, and it is perhaps one of the big strengths of this combination.

The fanciers like to keep things simple in terms of nutrition and side products, in that they closely follow the schemes of Versele-Laga as stipulated in the 'Wegwijzer vluchtseizoen' book. They will sometimes turn to Alex Schoors from Adegem if they need some more help.
A solid foundation, hard work, and an ambitious group of fanciers. That is all it takes to deliver great results. Congratulations to the team! And remember, third time's a charm.