After we reported that a world name, Raoul & Xavier Verstraete, won national from Cahors a few days ago we can almost say the same about the national victory from Montauban, where Noël & Serge Decroix from the West-Flemish Rumbeke signed for national victory, a colony with glorious history, and very 'big noble letters'!
The pigeons were given their freedom on Saturday the 21st of June in Montauban at 7.30am in ideal pigeon weather, with a weak variable wind, fluctuating between south and east, establishing itself in the south during the course of the day. After there were hardly any early pigeons to write about in the province West-Flanders from the First 3 national Long Distance races of the season, the West-Flemish now did well from Montauban and had their revenge, and claimed the majority of the head pigeons at national level. The pigeon from Noël and Serge Decroix obtained with 1359 m/min the highest speed, clocked at 16.59pm from 773,826 Km, just in front of the other grandmaster Marc Pollin from Snellegem (1357 m).
Mother and son
The duo Noël and Serge Decroix were in fact formed by mother Lydia (Lydie to her friends) and son Serge (45 years). The roots of the Decroix colony were formed after the war, when the brothers Noël and Aimé Decroix laid the basis of the colony with which they shone in the early years in the Sprint and the Middle Distance. Sometimes called an ideal learning school, because there are more tricks of the trade to be learned than with the Long Distance where the talent and the performance qualities, say the 'knowledge' of the pigeon tips the balance of the scales more and more. Even though in order to be successful in the Long Distance one has to cultivate a quantity of 'Long Distance mentality' (read: more patience with the pigeons, a different manner of feeding etc ).
Noël and Aimé started under the banner Gebroeders Decroix. Aimé was a fine fancier but passed away much too soon (in 1983). As from then, they participated in the races as Noël and son Serge Decroix, a name under which magnificent national and international top performances were put to paper. It was in fact wife Lydia who took hold of the reins and in the area is known as the driving force behind the Decroix colony (because Noël has to work for a living). So as already mentioned, initially the top Decroix successes were primarily realized in the races up to 500 Km. The first time they made a reputation for themselves they owe to their wonder pigeon the "Merckx" (3070312/68) who was crowned in 1971 as 1° Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance West-Fl, was in 1974 Ace pigeon Hafo-club Deinze, and in 1975 represented Belgium as Olympiad pigeon Middle Distance in Budapest. Coupled with the "Dikke 154/73", he produced the "Bliksem 265/74", a half Long Distance crack who is in no way inferior to his father. His brother, the "Jonge Bliksem" won in 1986 the 1° Internat. Lourdes, after the direction was changed towards the Long Distance at the end of the seventies, because there was a lot of Long Distance blood (read: Bostijn, Van hee, Warre Goossens, Monteyne, Stichelbout via Beeuwsaert etc ) hidden in their tribe. Strengthening was obtained (including from Pol Bostijn and Sylvere Toye), with the intention of breeding more 'resistance' into their pigeons.
They had enough cleverness and speed, and in crossing with the resistance and distance aptitude of the obtained Long Distance pigeons, phenomenal performances were achieved at the beginning of the eighties, resulting in no less than 4 national and international victories.
Let's roll the film once again:
1° International Lourdes 6.637 p. with the "Haan" in 1980
1° National Cahors 5.222 p. with the "Chico" in 1983
1° International Lourdes 3.056 p. with the "Jonge Bliksem" in 1986
1° International Perpignan 3.693 p. with the "Goliath" in 1984
Unforgettable performances that brought the 'Croixes' world fame, and that lay at the basis of superb performances of the Decroix-pigeons in other lofts. The racing method and coaching of the pigeons didn't change and led to the winning of the 1° National Montauban 2008 with their "Deco" (ring 0403211409), directly the 5° national victory for the Decroix family. As it so happens, "Deco" was nearly not basketted for Montauban.
This "Deco" is by nature a very calm pigeon. When, at home, he was put into the 'small basket' in order to be taken to the club for Montauban, he went wild. He nearly demolished the basket, as it were, whereby Serge started having doubts as to whether he should basket him for Montauban. Luckily Serge didn't turn back on his decision had this pigeon already shown signs of his 'massive condition'?
The fact is that last season he had already proved that he could race well, with national top performances such as:
'06 Brive Nat 9.466 p. 432
'07 Brive Nat 16.007 p. 24
'07 Montauban Nat 6.187 p. 40
'08 Brive Nat 14.521 p. 3042
'08 Montauban Nat 5.448 p. 1
At the same time it was his last race, because he was put straight into the breeding loft, where he can work on the future of the Decroix colony.
On father's side he comes out the old Decroix-sort, because his father is the "Darco" 242/92, and his father in turn is "Miquel 136/91" and is a grandson of the aforementioned "Bliksem 265/74" (full brother of the "Jonge Bliksem": 1° Int Lourdes '86), whilst his mother "Blauw Witslag 126/91" is a granddaughter of the "Chico", 1° Nat Cahors '83!
The mother of "Deco", was bought by Serge from Noël Lippens out Aarsele. This hen, named "Blauwe Lippens 874/98" is a daughter of "Isidoor 369/93" who self won 2° Nat Montauban '97 and 82° Nat Narbonne '98. This "Deco" has clearly plenty of national winner's blood flowing through his veins, and has by no means denounced his pedigree!
So as mentioned earlier, the racing method and coaching have remained unchanged over the years. The youngsters are trained well up to the small middle distance (300 Km), but never or hardly raced. As yearlings up to Limoges, and as 2-year olds the pigeons are allowed to taste the Long Distance. Experience has taught them that their pigeons reach their peak when they are 3 years-old and older, which validates perfectly the careful approach at an early age.
The 2008 season was started with 50 widowers, although a few good pigeons were lost in some bad races (Brive, Angoulême, Montélimar etc) So much so that Serge thought about closing the books for 2008, you would give up for less. Before the season the widowers are only allowed to brood , and once in widowhood no hens are shown before they leave, only the nest dish is turned over. So as already mentioned, the colony is now run by mother Lydia and son Serge.
Just like his brother Aimé, Noël passed away too soon. As a tribute to husband and father, they participate in the races under the name Noël & Serge Decroix. Every morning Lydia takes care of the pigeons, while Serge takes over in the afternoon after he has finished his day job as a steelworker. For feed, there is only depurative together with sport mixture given for the whole of the season. In the morning they are given the depurative, in the evening the sport mixture, with only plenty of sport mixture being given the last few days before basketting. This never changes. Further as little medicine as possible, only the necessary cleansing, and a lot of self-made tea (not out of a packet) they try to achieve a high standard of 'natural resistance and health' by the pigeons. A lesson learned from father Noël : be careful with cold, chilly and damp weather. It can ruin the whole season.
That is why if the weather is not too good in April when the season begins, the pigeons remain home what's more, by cold and wet weather (read: less than 10° C) the pigeons remain indoors, and aren't even trained from home! Wise words and lessons from people with 'experience' in our sport, who know what it is to achieve top national performances, yes even booking national victories.
The Pipa-team and its readers wish 'Lydie' and 'Serge' warm congratulations with the 5° national victory of their pigeon career, with this 1° National Montauban, and even more success for the future!