During the lockdown, the racing team of Rik Cools had been diligently prepared for the important races that are now taking place. And he went on to claim yet another provincial victory in Chateauroux; provincial first places are apparently one of the trademarks of the Cools pigeon family. This team has been truly outstanding in the longer middle distance season after season, almost racing in a league of their own. This is of course in part thanks to his extensive collection of Vandenabeele birds. Although it takes a very experienced fancier to become one of the leading names in the middle distance for an extended period of time. And you have to set very high standards for your pigeon family as well.
You can tell from the last several races that the team of Rik Cools has had a very strong early season. They delivered a promising result in Fontenay on 13th of June, followed by another great performance in Blois on 20th of June, which clearly suggested that the breed from Ruiselede would be a force to be reckoned with again in 2020. They claimed the following results at provincial level, racing against 3,067 pigeons: a 34-37-71-92-173-237-286-305-etc. and 19 prizes with 20 birds! Next up was the national race from Bourges, which was another overwhelming success: 14-31-36-64-67-91-125-131-132-186-253-265-... of 2,825 pigeons at provincial level, and 18 prizes with 22 birds. In other words, more than 50% of the team won a prize per ten.
Then came the race from Chateauroux, where they took the win at provincial level, followed by a long series of early finishers: 1-30-118-119-140-150-152-182-365-387-... of 5,555 pigeons and 13 prizes with 19 birds - again, more than 50% of the team won a prize per ten, including a provincial victory! With the strong southwesterly wind and the pigeons racing in large groups in this classic, the fanciers from West Flanders did not really stand a chance at national level. Instead, the provincial results gave us a much better view of the best performing lofts in the coastal province. And the team from Ruiselede was quite obviously the strongest in West Flanders. Rik Cools has almost grown used to claiming victory and getting impressive overall results in the longer middle distance.
It was racing bird Evita (BE19-3029526) that took the win in Chateauroux on 4th of July. This wonderful racing hen had already excelled in Blois and Bourges before beating all 5,555 yearlings in Chateauroux, as the fastest bird overall in West Flanders of 9,102 pigeons. As is often the case in this breed, she originates from a long standing collaboration between Rik and Chris Debacker from Beveren-Leie. Insiders already knew that Rik and Chris often exchange some of their finest birds, and this has inevitably led to ever-improving results.
This has been a highly unusual season due to the coronavirus. Not a single loft has been able to properly build up towards the reason, which meant a lot of improvisation to get everyone ready for the first races of the year. And amazingly enough, Rik Cools still managed to live up to his reputation, doing what he does best, with a collection of highly gifted birds. This team has a bright future, and everything suggests that the Rik Cools birds will be in for another exceptional result in the very near future.