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Erik Joris - Beerse




by Stefan Mertens






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Beerse: Limoges National is the first long distance race of the season 2017 and the winner is the 2-year old hen "Lotte" (B15-6283779) from long distance racer Erik Joris, Beerse. Clocked on one of the longest distances (694km) she got a speed of 1,329.32 m/m. This chequered hen won against the pigeons from Luypaert Vanessa (Beigem – 1,319.77 m/m) and Verbist Patrick (Langdorp – 1,311.21 m/m).


Explaining that Erik is one of the most happy fanciers of Belgium is not necessary. 'Who would have ever thought that I would win a national race', he starts his story, 'and then on Limoges…you need to know that I'm an extreme long distance racer and that Limoges isn't marked on my calendar as one of the highlights of the season.

I started off the season with 40 old cocks, 20 old hens, 20 year cocks and 20 year hens. The racing team is being raced without an exception on widowhood (partner stays home). The year bird hens are only being raced to gather the necessary experience, so you can really say that my focus is totally on the extreme long distance races with the old pigeons.


I grew into the pigeon sport end of the seventies. My father, Alfons, was a fancier and seen he worked in shifts, I helped him out taking care of the pigeons. Bit by bit I was caught by the 'pigeon germ'. Father was a middle distance racer who didn't have to be ashamed of his results and as a challenge he dared to basket one for Limoges.

End of the nineties a German fancier came and bought some pigeons from my father. And as thanks he brought 2 pigeons of his own…"Van Wanrooy Tauben" he said…and I could keep them from my father but I had to test them on the races. One of the two… "De kleine zwarten"… survived the yearly selection and when he performed well on his first marathon race out of Biarritz, he enlightened my love for the extreme long distance game.

In 2005, I invested a first time in extreme long distance pigeons from François Struyf. He didn't only give me good pigeons but also loads of good advice. I got ill in 2011 and I got some help from Anthony Wijninckx. Anthony also brought a huge part of his pigeons and these formed together with the Struyf pigeons the ideal marathon mixtures that are showing off at this moment.


There's a moulting mixture on their menu as a base mixture. I buy 3 different brands Beyers (through Wim Ceusters), Natural and Van Tilburg. I do add a big amount of barley so that there will be about 10% of barley in my base mixture. The last three days before basketing I use 50% moulting – 50% race enriched with extra corn, pealed sunflower seeds and fat holding seeds.
I visited already twice the guy with the white smock but both times everything was OK, so I could leave the medicine cupboard closed.


"Lotte" was coupled just like the other hens in February. She could breed for about 5 days and then the widowhood was a fact. Once the season starts off, the hens are being placed in a 'resting-loft' during the week…the cocks are on the loft where they had a nest together. When the hens train, the cocks move to the 'resting-loft' and after the training the hens can go to the loft where they had their nest. They eat and drink over there and when all of them are fulfilled, they go back to the 'resting-loft' and the cocks can go back to their boxes.

The lofts are in the garden of my parental home. I live a few meters further. When I release the pigeons for their training I can keep an eye on them from my house and when I notice that they're getting down, I go back to the loft to call them in. I must say that my hens did train really hard the last few weeks. There was a real 'schwung' in the group and it wasn't exceptional that they trained for about 1,5h. Also the week before Limoges there was a lot of 'power' in the hen's team. When I called them in this week the national winner was missing. After looking around I found her on the loft of the year bird cocks. I left an entrance open on this loft and 'Lotte' noticed that. When I found her, she was showing off in the hallway of the year bird cocks. Thinking about this afterwards, this must have been her motivation to get the national victory out of Limoges.

Whether I saw her arrival? Yes…luckily I did…friends told me that we had to clock around 17h. The clock was only at 16h42 when I saw pigeon falling out of the sky as an arrow. I missed a few pigeons from the former race but a latecomer doesn't come home with this much 'grinta'. I kept calm as I'm not a fancier who follows everything up-close on the internet and I was already pleased that I had the first record of the "Kempische Fondclub", but shortly afterwards the phone kept ringing with congratulations for my national victory. I really was perplext !

Stefan Mertens

































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