Pigeon racing will always be a highly unpredictable sport, as was again demonstrated in the national race from Issoudun. Had we been asked to guess the name of the national winner(s) from Issoudun on Friday or Saturday morning, we would have put our money on a fancier from East or West Flanders. Most fanciers would have made the same guess, given the bright weather and a slight easterly wind.
It seemed like the right bet, since the first arrivals took place around the city of Doornik, and the map showed several arrivals in the westernmost part of Belgium, the highest recorded velocity being 1275 m/min. However, we suddenly noticed the arrival of a pigeon from Tienen as well, on the other side of the country. It was there that a pigeon of Marcel Ginckels reached home at 13:54’54”, completing 479.803km with a velocity of 1351.94km. About 40 minutes later, a pigeon of Bart and Nance Van Oeckel arrived home with a velocity of 1348.67 m/min. In other words, two pigeons from the other side of the country managed to arrive home with a 20 minute lead, being almost 75 m/min faster than the rest of the field. Who would have thought? We can only guess what happened. Did it have something to do with a different air layer, or perhaps a different wind direction? Only the pigeons can answer that question. They know what happened during the race, and they know why two pigeons from the other part of the country have managed to win an early prize.
Marcel Ginckels (75), a retired teacher, had no clue either. He was watching the first arrivals on our website, and he was making calculations, assuming he still had plenty of time.
He was starting to prepare for the arrival of his 19 pigeons basketed for Issoudun when his national winner suddenly fell from the sky, heading straight for the landing board. This hen was his 18th nominated of a total 19 basketed pigeons.
She had already won a 1st from Montargis earlier this season but she seemed to have lost her motivation when her partner did not return home from a flight. Meanwhile, her first partner had found his way back home, and this appears to have given her the strength she needed to put in a great performance. She took her second victory of 2015 from, winning a national first prize from Issoudun.
-Geschelpt Witkop BE15-2080927
1st Nat Issoudun 11.972 p. (fastest of 14,188 p.) 1st Montargis 542 p. 14th Soissons 618 p. etc…
Interestingly enough, Marcel has obtained this pigeon as a voucher of the Vandenhove-vandevelde combination from Hoeleden, winners of the title of General Champion long distnace in 2014 in Overhespen.
Click here for her full pedigree.
Marcel won the following prizes from Issoudun:
Club 157 YBs: 1-20-22-22-27-37-42-52 (8/19) National 11,984 YBs: 1…
A young birds' specialist
Marcel Ginckels runs a really small pigeon family that is focused around the young birds’ competition. He has no more than 30 pigeons in his loft in winter (even less in 2014), and he keeps as few as 10 pairs in the breeding loft. This means he does not have a lot of work during winter, which he likes a lot. He usually breeds about 40 young birds (34 this season), and he is quite successful in the national races and the classics for the young birds.
Marcel became a pigeon fancier through his grandfather and his father. After starting out in the sprint and then racing in the middle distance for a while, he decided to focus entirely on the young bird’s races around the year 2002, aiming for the longer middle distance classics.
The young birds are darkened from early March until mid-June, after which they are lightened twice. They are darkened for a longer period of time (about two hours) as the days shorten. The pigeons are raced with the sliding door, and they can spend one hour with their partner before going into the basket.
Marcel focuses on a single discipline, he takes excellent care of his pigeons, and he works hard. This is an approach that enables your pigeons to stand out and to yield great results. This is what pigeon racing means to Marcel Ginckels, who has gained a reputation as quite a successful young birds’ fancier. He has a small but potent team of racing birds, one of which has now won a well deserved national first prize. Congratulations!
Enjoying the national victory together.