The ace pigeon of Belgium short distance old birds 2022 has in the meantime received a nice name namely “Louis Vuitton” or as it is in the world of fashion…a real icon.
With an unseen performance over the entire season, this two-year old cock brought this coveted title to the Baaigemstraat in Gavere with owner Eddy De Martelaere. And that he has done this with great bravado is the fact that this national ace pigeon title has been won with a coefficient that has never been so keen in the past. Then with much pride this pigeon can be called the fastest pigeon of Belgium in 2022.

Sharpest coefficient ever achieved in history
It is always a surprise, both to the racer and the outside world, when records are broken, but with this pigeon it was slightly written in the stars that he was capable of top results.
As a youngster he already flew a 1st prize on Noyon out of 588 pigeons.

As a yearling he flew:

Noyon 3rd out of 361 b
Noyon 6th out of 178 b
Noyon 7th out of 325 b
Noyon 8th from 414 b
Noyon 9th from 371 b

In the past season 2022 he then unleashed all his devils and made a sublime season. With the following results he won the national ace pigeon title:

17-04 Noyon 3,776 b. 4th
24-04 Noyon 4,849 b. 5th
08-05 Noyon 2,958 b. 4th
15-05 Noyon 2,313 b. 2nd
22-05 Noyon 1,881 b. 1st
10-07 Noyon 1,123 b. 2nd

These popping performances resulted in a coefficient of 0,66 % which is the most sharp percentage ever put down on speed by an old pigeon and this over a period of 112 years !

Besides the results that earned him the title of national ace pigeon he flew some top prizes such as :
Noyon 6th from 344 d – 24th from 1,624 d
Noyon 10th from 422 d
“Louis Vuitton” was bred out of “De Soixante Neuf” (BE14-4015369) a cock that flew very well with Eddy himself. He flew top 10 8 times with a first prize included. This pigeon was bred out of pigeons from Eddy Den Haese and the late Louis Cooreman. The mother is “Christiane” (BE14-4163295) and hen direct from the lofts of the late Louis Cooreman from Moorsel.
The good genes of “Louis Vuitton” (who meanwhile resides in the top breeding lofts of the Herbots family in a partnership with owner ADL from the United States) are very promising. Eddy’s best yearling last season was “Remco” who is a direct son of “Louis Vuitton”. “Remco” flew 1st, 3rd and 5th Noyon. He is a promising force for the coming season.

Proud as pie

That is the feeling that prevails with Eddy and his family. The pride that comes with something like this is a feeling that cannot be matched, Eddy says spontaneously. It is a feeling Eddy had to get used to. After all, he is simplicity itself by nature. Pigeon sport is a really beautiful hobby where, besides the effort and the pleasure of taking care of it, the beautiful results are a weekly welcome highlight during the weekend. But for that Eddy will not walk next to his shoes and that also graces above all.
Eddy is a welcome companion in the pigeon circles, always in for a pleasant chat over a coffee or a beer, competing with each other, but above all practicing pigeon sport as a hobby and this with an unlimited love for speed. In his club, his environment, everyone wishes Eddy this top ranking that is beyond doubt.
At 59 years of age, Eddy is looking forward to the next step in his career. On May 1 next, he will retire after years of hard work in the construction industry. Here and there is some “body damage” to Eddy and it shows in all kinds of physical ailments….and in the De Martelaere family it is definitely from the hard work, no doubt.
Eddy lives with his wife Anneke in the Baaigemstraat in Gavere since 1993 in their own home. In the area where Eddy grew up and now lives, famous champions were born, raised and honored in the past. Names like De Smet Brothers, the Dhondt family, Leutenez, Vermassen; Bauters and so on all lived or live there on a handkerchief. To survive there in pigeon racing was to play on the edge every week and those who stood at the basketing table with “pancakes” were soon tackled out. The ideal biotope is to develop resilience and to select good pigeons.
It once started, as with so many, together with father. Once in their own home, they also raced the further distances and with success, but the love for the pure sprint took over from everything else. Resolutely the card of the speed was drawn and pigeons were bred, bought and played in that sense.

Top sprint strains as a basis
It would be surprising if Eddy did not build his breeding loft with top sprint strains. For many years Eddy’s pigeons did very well at Noyon. When you get strong results, you also come in the sight of other strong players and the late Louis Cooreman contacted us to exchange pigeons. Both improved and this exchange exercise was repeated several times. Also from burentandem Van De Voorde – Verlinden from Baaigem (1st national Bourges youngsters 2006) came really good ones from the lofts of Eddy Den Haese from Balegem came sons of a.o. line “Diamant” x “Goed Grijs” from Gebroeders Leideman (actually the type from Van Den Brande Gebroeders) and the type from Eijerkamp from Brummen (Nl). Also pigeons of “the kind” of “Olympic Kittel” of Dirk Van Den Bulck came from Eddy Den Haese. Good pigeons came from Raphaël De Clercq from Nederename and from Bondue Maurice from Vlamertinge.
You can see very well-known names, but also possibly more unknown names, but certainly hidden diamonds.

How to breed and obtain the ace pigeon speed of Belgium?
It is all manageable, well organized and tailored to a real hobby with Eddy. The youngsters are bred from 30 couples of pigeons namely 18 breeding couples and 12 racers on widowhood. Yes, indeed, only 12 pigeons start the season.
Everything is paired around December 15 and also the racers raise 2 youngsters. This will result in 55/60 youngsters, which in a later stage will be completed to a team of 70 youngsters.
After breeding, the racers do not come together again and at the end of March, beginning of April, when the weather conditions are good, the pigeons are trained. They are trained 5 times with their own transport to about 30 kilometers, then twice through Doornik with the club and then immediately to Noyon. Quiévrain is not basketed. Eddy has not had good experiences with this because of too many pigeons on too short a distance with a lot of losses as a result. By basketing them immediately to Noyon, this is by no means the case.
The Noyon flights are flights where not only the pigeons from East Flanders but also pigeons from Antwerp and Flemish Brabant are released. So you have to watch out. With young pigeons this is sometimes a course with obstacles in the beginning, but once they have passed this learning phase, the orientation is very well sharpened.
The cocks train once a day at 7 o’clock in the morning, this is not a compulsory training, but if they are in normal condition, they will be unpacked quickly. They are allowed to spend 1 hour outside. Each pigeon is fed individually in the nest box and Aidi food is given as feed. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday this is M1, on Wednesday 50/50 M1 and M2, and on and Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning this is M2. The pigeons are basketed on Saturday afternoon and always fly on Sunday.
Supplements are the products of the De Reiger range. Since two years, these are supplemented with the feed to the great satisfaction of Eddy. Eddy follows the schedule given to him by the producer (products like Elexir De Reiger, Fortipur, Vit Smix…).
Medically, the pigeons are examined by veterinarian Van Snick from Zottegem, 3 weeks before pairing (and also vaccinated with the paratyphoid vaccine). To combat trichomonas, ¼ Flagyl is given during the breeding period and in season alternated with Trichoplus. The treatments against any respiratory ailments were not necessary last season. Eye drops of Bony are administered.
The pigeons are always motivated in the same way for basketing. The nest dish is turned over and for half an hour they are allowed to rest in the nest dish. Afterwards, they get to see their hen for about two minutes and are not allowed to kick. Then they go into the basket. Upon returning home, they are allowed with their partner for half an hour at the beginning of the season. As the season progresses this becomes one hour. After 5 races they are allowed to stay with their partner until Sunday evening.
Eddy’s youngsters never go further than Noyon but they are trained very well. They are trained a few times in an increasing number of kilometers with their own transport to fly a few times the learning flight Doornik in a club. Then they return also immediately to Noyon. As soon as they finish the Doornik training flights, the sexes are separated and the season is continued on widowhood. When they arrive home on Sunday, the youngsters always stay together until Monday morning. When the flights of the Tour of Belgium (played in September and October) come in sight, they stay together and, if possible, they are played on brooding on these flights. This way they have enough experience to start as yearlings.

On the speed races you become a fancier pur sang

During the conversation with Eddy and a tour of the lofts, it struck us again that it is on the short distance that you master “the craft” of racing. The quality of the pigeons is of primordial importance and stands above everything else, but it demands from the caretaker a sharp eye, a healthy discipline and an excellent care to bring the pigeons to the start like knalbombs. Nothing should be left untouched, because this is top sport of the highest level. Every starting fancier would certainly benefit from a few years of playing speed or a good apprenticeship with a strong speed fancier, the ideal basis for a lot of professional knowledge!
Winning this national ace title stirred a lot of emotions with Eddy and his wife Anneke. Eddy also emphasizes the role of Anneke in all this. Due to some health problems, she supported and helped him a lot in taking care of the pigeons and that can’t be emphasized enough.

Stefan Mertens