Eric Limbourg (Brussegem) : 1st National Ace Pigeon All-round KBDB 2023 and 2nd in General Championship of Belgium
04 Nov 2023
Few can boast of what has been achieved in pigeon racing in Brussegem in recent years. Many superlatives have already been written down to describe how Eric's pigeons have performed, but even more how many times Eric has made a successful restart in pigeon racing. By now, it has pretty much become his trademark to rise to the challenge and take a fresh-start.
At 65 years old, Eric has lost none of his fighting spirit. An incredible mordance and a winner's mentality that splits rocks is the driving force behind it all. While many see this as an asset, it is not always so. With some physical complaints, it would be better for Eric, at least according to his doctor(s), if he put a little less pressure on himself and tried to take it all a bit easier. He already does his utmost to do so, but the drive to win, to bring pigeons to the start in top condition, to score top prizes still prevails.
Eric and yours truly are of the same age and it takes more effort and strength to still jump over the same height as years ago. To characterise Eric's personality, he says "when the pigeons have to drop, and as long as I don't have a pigeon, I'm going to explode...once the first pigeon comes, it's over".
When I ask why he does this, the answer is very clear "I always have the doubt whether they are going to be able to do it, whether I haven't left anything to chance to basket them optimally, whether I haven't overlooked anything". This phrase makes everything clear, clarifies how the winner Erik is.
And yes, in the 2023 season, he apparently made few mistakes, overlooked little, and brought his pigeons to the start in optima forma.
This the national rankings prove too much :
1st Ace Pigeon All-round old & yearlings KBDB national
2nd General Champion of Belgium
14th Ace pigeon long-distance KBDB national (BE21-2025851)
23rd Ace pigeon old KBDB national (BE20-2072037)
35th Ace pigeon old KBDB national (BE21-2025850)
41st Ace pigeon old KBDB national (BE20-2072132)
....these are national rankings only, separate from club, province, zone etc....
But how do you do it, how do you play with the pigeons, where do you get the motivation? These are questions that came to mind during our visit. The weather was beautiful, there was no pressure from upcoming races and the evaluation of the past season was good to very good !
How to build (back) a breeding loft after a sale ?
For Erik, it's never really rebuilding a colony. He is a man who is always looking for the best pigeon. I would dare to compare it with the house slogan of the Herbots family: "Always looking for n° 1". The day he decides to sell his best pigeons he is actually already looking for the next one. He looks for the real pointeurs, the real winners hors catégorie, the statement "I must have winners" confirms this. He does not spare any effort, time or kilometres to achieve this.
Pigeons or pigeon teams that stand out in excellence rarely escape Erik's sleuth. He can also read results and finds the super pigeon of the small player. Moreover, he also keeps young pigeons from his best pigeons that he plays and places in his breeding loft in case of good results.
And sometimes he does regret selling a pigeon now and then...turns out afterwards, because, when the opportunity arises, he buys it back. Last year, for instance, he bought back his Triple 5 on the sale of Luc & Hilde Sioen.
Triple 5 won :
- 5th national Barcelona 2017
- 5th national Barcelona 2018
- 17th national Perpignan 2018
- 2nd national ace heavy long-distance KBDB
- 1st Olympiad pigeon Poznan 2019
Meanwhile, he then added several children of this pigeon to his breeding loft.
When we ask him if he sticks to his old-signature lines, Erik agrees unconditionally. The pigeons from De Rauw-Sablon-Aelbrecht, the Gilbert and Lucky line, the pigeons from Remi Speltdoorn, the parents of Triple 5, and especially in recent years the pigeons from the Créoné Roeper line still flow strongly through his breeding team. From his team of youngsters, bred from the breeders and best racers, a selection is made again, which should form the basis for the future.
With only the best blood, he weaves himself a strong chain that is then completed with top pigeons or children from top pigeons he tracks down. The pigeons are also all gems in the hand. Erik is a true connoisseur, no doubt, who knows how to choose quality. When getting hold of some pigeons, one immediately notices the soft plume, the strong balance, muscle, in short everything we like to see and feel in a pigeon. They are all beautiful pigeons.
The deep mark of Super Roeper 593
One that has been strongly decisive in recent years is undoubtedly Super Roeper 593 (DV01274-09-593) which we would like to explain in a little more detail. This super breeder was bought at the online auction of Wolfgang Roeper's pigeons on Herbots' site as number 6 out of 42 breeding pigeons auctioned. With Wolfgang Roeper, this pigeon was already the father of "der 114" who became 1st ace pigeon of Germany and can be labelled as a super pigeon.
Self flew Roeper 593 only 1 year (as yearling) but was outstanding
1st prize (221 km) - 564 pigeons
2nd prize (392 km) - 1,348 pigeons
2nd prize (311 km) - 398 pigeons
4th prize (264 km) - 1,190 pigeons
6th prize (311 km) - 1,058 pigeons
14th prize (311 km) - 670 pigeons
20th prize (392 km) - 3,074 pigeons
33rd prize (602 km) - 1,360 pigeons
60th prize (156 km) - 1,406 pigeons
76th prize (511 km) - 2,020 pigeons
80th prize (313 km) - 1,950 pigeons
Or 12 prizes on 12 flights, including 11 per 10-piece. He became 4th National Ace pigeon Germany in 2010 among the yearling pigeons.
Meanwhile, Super Roeper 593 is father to no fewer than 8 national ace pigeons.
He displayed his breeding power in his descendants such as :
2nd Nat. ace pigeon Fond KBDB 2019
1st prov. / 1st Nat. Zone Aurillac (684 km) - 1,009 pigeons / 2nd Nat. - 3,854 pigeons
1st prov. / 2nd Nat. Zone Limoges (641 km) - 3,418 pigeons / 12th Nat. - 10,783 pigeons
50th Nat. Zone Bourges (449 km) - 7,514 pigeons 2018
55th Nat. Bourges (449 km) - 17,818 pigeons 2019
13th Noyon (177 km) - 4,726 pigeons
Creyoné Roeper, BE19-2008603
1st national ace long-distance KBDB yearlings '20
11th Nat. ace pigeon youngsters long distance KBDB 2019
1st Semi-Nat. ace youngsters Club Fond de Wallonie 2019
3rd Noyon (177 km) - 310 pigeons / 58th - 3,064 pigeons (Pajot)
6th Noyon (177 km) - 886 pigeons / 44th - 4,192 pigeons (Pajot)
6th Noyon (177 km) - 339 pigeons / 36th - 2,769 pigeons (Pajot)
5th club Bourges (449 km) - 365 pigeons / 56th prov. - 2,935 pigeons /
472nd Nat. - 28,446 pigeons
2nd club Chateauroux ( 496 km) - 203 pigeons / 26th prov. - 1,751 pigeons /
74th Nat. Zone - 6,671 pigeons / 207. Nat. - 22,476 pigeons
19th Noyon (177 km) - 656 pigeons / 73rd - 3,035 pigeons (Pajot Verbond)
1st club Argenton (525 km) - 166 pigeons / 4th prov. - 1,844 pigeons /
17th Nat. Zone - 6,657 pigeons / 66th Nat. - 23,258 pigeons
14th Nat. ace pigeon KBDB YL 2018
6th Nat. Zone Gueret - 2,775 pigeons / 29. Nat. - 8,517 pigeons 2018
14th Nat. Zone Bourges - 6,920 pigeons / 29th Nat. - 19,133 pigeons 2018
21st Nat. Zone Argenton - 2,550 pigeons/ 51st Nat. - 8,818 pigeons 2018
33rd Nat. Zone Chateauroux - 1,563 pigeons/ 64th Nat. - 4,641 pigeons 2018
14th national ace fond 2023 old birds KBDB
4th and 6th national ace All round KBDB
19th national ace great middle distance 2022 yearbirds
The Geeloger (BE22-200273) is the 2023 KBDB All-round ace pigeon
..who is a 100% pigeon from Willem De Bruijn of the Netherlands. Both parents were purchased by Erik from a selection of youngsters from Willem.
That Willem's pigeons are "hot" is no news. They are pigeons, which especially at speed and middle distance, easily fly in the snout of the race. They are bred from pigeons that are tested hard at Willem's and have to pass a strict selection. Many have succeeded with these pigeons, attracting Eric's attention.
During the corona crisis, the exhibition of youngsters that were to be put up for sale by Willem could not take place. Erik went to Reeuwijk with his friend Patrick Draye and was allowed to sample all pigeons that came up for sale.
Father NL 21-1193992 Brother Super James - Willem De Bruijn
"Super James" won 1 Niergnies 11,504d - 1 Pont 1,487d - 2 Peronne 13,510d - 17 Pont 33,687d
Gr.V. NL 17-1279293 James - Willem De Bruijn
6 Nat Ascendant middle distance PIPA, won 4 Sezanne 21,069d - 4 Issoudun 13,628d
Son of "NL 364/16" Marcel x "NL 041/15" Goldnugget
Gr.M. NL 18-6168022 Alouette Hurricane - Willem De Bruijn
9 Nat Ace Young PIPA 2018
Daughter of "NL 185/10" Olympic Hurricane - 3 Olympiad pigeon Poznan x
"NL 282/14" Daughter Zidane
Mother NL 21-1194049 Sister Uranus - Willem De Bruijn
"Uranus" 2 Nat Ace young NPO - 3 Nat Ace young WHZB
Gr.V. NL 11-1742434 Floris Jr. - Willem De Bruijn
Won 1 Menen 808d - 4 Peronne 4,960d
Son of "NL 578/05" Floris x "NL 897/08" Dalida
Gr.M. BE 14-2345345 Daughter Olympic Niels - Dirk Van Dijck
Daughter of "005/08" Olympic Niels 3 Olympiad pigeon Cat.A Nitra 2013 x "245/12"
Two pigeons were eventually bought and because of the timing in the breeding season, these pigeons were paired together...resulting in an ace pigeon all-round 2023 national.
While sometimes people wonder whether Willem's pigeons would perform well on the one-day long distance (600 km), Erik proved it with top results on Aurillac and Souillac. The results of this pigeon speak for themselves !
Omnivalence trumps in Brussegem, from Noyon to Barcelona they have to be able to and if Erik wants to compete for the top. It is not his habit to play very specifically for such a championship, but when they come, don't spare them is the credo.
There are not specifically pigeons kept that fly at half-distance speed the whole season, these prizes should be taken in the first flights of the season i.f.v. the later heavy half-distance, long-distance and heavy-distance races. Of course, the pigeons used for the very long distance are of a different origin, but otherwise they should be all-round.
And so it went very smoothly in the 2023 season and from the first flights, the 1st issued pigeons were clocked early in the race, resulting in a silver plaque in these championships.
Besides the 1st All-round, 2nd in the General Championship, there are 3 more pigeons that ranked nicely in the long-distance championship. For Erik this is not an afterthought, it is these that will become his strongholds for next season.
Hereafter their pedigree
There are no miracle cures, only good pigeons and good fanciers
A man with the experience and palmares like Erik is a walking pigeon lexicon. However, he has had to take it a bit easier in recent years to spare his health, but the knowledge and experience is certainly not gone. Erik is constantly looking to do better, leaving nothing to chance, observing, motivating, correcting if necessary.
He has 40 breeding pairs of which 13 breed in boxes. The pairing is normally early December when the pigeons and the fancier are ready. From the best couples the eggs are shifted and this results in about 100 youngsters for his own use.
The racing team in the yearlings and old birds consists of 30 old (cocks and hens) and 70 yearlings (cocks and hens). All are played with a home partner on the understanding that 1 cock is paired with 2 hens.
Both hens are allowed to breed with the coupled cock once before the season and then they join in from the first flight. The hens train very well before the season (up to an hour) but once the races are over and they enter the basket every week, this rhythm drops steadily and quickly......to a maximum of 5 minutes. Erik does not care about that because the flight rhythm means that less training is no obstacle to strong performances.
The widowers train once in the beginning and twice a day once further into the season. The widowers do not get a hen for basketing at the beginning of the season, but once the long distance races are there, they get their hen for basketing (sometimes for an hour).
Erik believes that the motivation is before basketing and not afterwards when they usually don't feel like having a partner after a flight.
Recovering quickly after the flight is the message, but no somersaults are made for this.
Last season, a combination of the Beyers and AIDI brands of feed was fed. As these mixtures normally contain everything a pigeon needs, peanuts, sweets and the like are no longer given. Why a combination of these 2 feeds? One feed line contains little corn and Erik is convinced that pigeons like to eat corn and it also contributes to a good condition.
What the master's hand does is feed the pigeons (cocks) at the bottom of the loft while he himself is present. He keeps this well under control, observes and motivates and in this way manages to feed them to their limit before basketing.
This method of observation has not hurt Erik in the past and has already produced many top performances. He adds that it has allowed him to stunt with pigeons on many occasions.
The hens are then fed three times a day towards basketing to get them firmly on the starting line. The hens always get to see their cock before basketing (building up in duration as the season progresses).
On arrival home, there is invariably Belgasol in the drinking pot because Erik knows from experience that this is a very good recovery tool. This coupled with heavy feed should promote quick recovery.
Medically, Erik leaves nothing to chance, however, always with a scare in mind to do unnecessary interventions. He has learned enough in the meantime that intervening during the season can be very forme-limiting and by observation and control he tries to be ahead of all known ailments.
Here he uses the credo of observing the pigeon in flight behaviour, performance and appearance and or appearance. Here he has all the experience to assess this properly. If the previous things come under pressure, the vet is consulted.
The pigeons are not darkened or lighted. The season normally stops for Erik after the last long distance race (first weekend of August) and keeping them in the feathers is therefore usually not a problem.
And what did we learn today ?
That talent will always be talent. In Erik's own words, "I have already moved on to the older guys and sometimes I can't keep up with them, but if I stay sharp I can still do it". Maybe this is a bit too nedering a statement for a winner like Erik.
As soon as a pigeon enters the basket, it plays to win, distances are not important. The adrenaline and, by extension, stress still race through his body until he has clocked his first pigeon.
He can select pigeons like no other. He builds himself a breeding loft and can perfectly (figuratively) decapitate it by selling pigeons, but in the meantime he has set aside solid progeny. This way, he always retains a stock which he then very selectively supplements with pigeons which he thinks are real winners.
Bringing pigeons to the top of their potential is no stranger to him either, which is why his eyes still shine when he says the word pointeurs.
If, like Erik, you are a pointeur yourself, you obviously have it in for pointeurs. And he proved that in the past season with the 1st Ace Pigeon All-round KBDB old and yearlings and with a silver in the General Championship (and some top ace pigeons on top). Proofs on the table, not words but deeds !
Congratulations on this wonderful season from the Herbot team !