Gero and Evelien Dijk receive the gold on national old Agen
05 Jul 2022
After the release of an international flight, the question for Dutch participants and other interested fanciers is always how fast will the fastest pigeons go. We look at the wind on the flight route and the possible cloudy and rainy zones. Is the wind favourable for the preliminary flight or for the overflight? Will the first pigeons fall in Zeeland or will they be caught in South Limburg? We are looking forward to the first reports from the preliminary flight in France. What kind of speed do they make? Does the speed increase as the distance increases? And can Belgium surpass France with higher speeds so that the Netherlands can also surpass them? And on Agen 2022, the chances of the Dutch pigeons in the international field seemed to be pretty good. First the pigeons had to deal with a soft eastern wind and after about 200 km the wind started blowing from a southern angle. And the strength of that wind seemed to increase more to the north. On middle distance flights, the lead pigeons along the coast even managed to reach speeds above 1600 m.p.m. The first report came in France from the extreme north and then followed by Belgian pigeons from West Flanders. The flight line towards the coast turned out to be the most favourable one. The first French report later turned out to be the second fastest pigeon of the release and in Belgium the two fastest pigeons reached 1353 and 1350 m.p.m. in Klerken and Wevelgem. The first pigeon in the Netherlands was clocked in Westkapelle by the comb. Verhagen-Buyl at 17:17 from 868 km. Their yearling arrived at 1341 m.p.m. and later this turned out to be the fastest Dutch Agen flyer. Three quarters of an hour later Gero and Evelien Dijk could welcome in Alblasserdam their first Agenganger and that was also a yearling. At 927 km it arrived at 1337 m.p.m. After 18.04 the couple clocked at 18.09 hours their second pigeon and this time it was an old one. At 1327 m.p.m. this hen is the 3rd fastest of all Dutch Agen flyers and wins the 1st national against 6162 old birds. And Gero and Evelien Dijk can now say: "We win the 1st national with our second pigeon and with our first pigeon we win the 2nd national". Who doesn't know the situation with two separate Agen competitions, can easily think that total abracadabra is spoken here. But this is not the case. With 5 old birds on the loft, they caught at prize 44 a pure leading pigeon and with the yearlings it became really a Dijkfestival with 34 pigeons on the loft and at prize 46 already the 7th own pigeon!
Five years ago Gero and Evelien Dijk already won the national Agen old with their 'Theo'. At that time they had only one old pigeon. 'Theo' is named after Gero's father who was an avid fancier himself and at the time of the Agen victory in 2017 he was already seriously ill and later that year he passed away. 'Theo' is and cock of 2014 and was bred from a cock from Kees Bosua (Dordrecht) and a hen from Arie Dijkstra (Oudwoude). So, a big winner of a strong day fund variety. And let this 'Theo' be the father of the yearling hen which wins now the 2nd national Agen yearlings. Her mother is the NL19-1658903 and let that be the hen which wins national Agen old! In a fairytale you can make up something like that but in Alblasserdam it has clearly become reality! Liz wins the 1st national Agen old 2022, her daughter 'Charlotte' wins the 2nd national Agen yearlings 2022 and the father of 'Charlotte' called 'Theo' won the 1st international Agen in 2017. Never before Gero and Evelien Dijk basketed such a big team as now on Agen. When basketing in Hendrik Ido Ambacht it also struck Piet van de Merwe from Dordrecht that they had so many yearlings with them. But all the cards are put on the ZLU flights and they predicted good weather for last weekend so the yearlings had to go. The season was started in Alblasserdam with 25 couples. All pigeons from this Agen were basketed on eggs of about 8 to 12 days and that was their first nest this year. Gero kept the couples together as long as possible until the hens started to lay. About 6 weeks ago they were separated and flown in. With a view to the first long distance race, they were coupled to basket them on eggs. Last week the couple basketed 7 pigeons to Bordeaux (instead of Pau) and they won nationally two good prizes at the prizes 37 and 183 against 4891 pigeons. They did leave behind a pigeon that won early last year from Narbonne with the 136th national and that was their second pigeon. A smaller team is now ready for St. Vincent (ZLU).
In 2017 a new loft of 8 metres long has been built on the yard in Alblasserdam after the international victory on Agen. Evelien wanted a loft with a walkway for the stays and that is what was build. The loft is built by Eef van Aalten from the Gelders Huissen and he is also a fervent fancier and he plays all races. Last year Eef was very early with a pigeon straight from Gero and out of the same pair the comb. de Ruiter from Alblasserdam got a pair of youngsters and one of them flew in 2021 (as yearling) 11th NPO on the daylong distance and this year they also hit the target with 9th Issoudun against 9293 pigeons. Gertjan and his daughter Elena de Ruiter have only been active in pigeon sport for a short time and they have a real top pigeon under the roof! For the old pigeons, they have three departments and also one for the youngsters and in the barn, there is an accommodation for breeders of which most of them, including 'Theo', are housed elsewhere. Brother Michael starts again with the youngsters on his own address and he stopped after father Theo died and the pigeons disappeared from the parental yard.
The winner 'Liz' is according to Gero a beautiful hen and that was the reason for him to pair her with 'Theo' on the breeding loft in 2021. After that she went back to the racing loft and that she came already in the previous years very well home proved the prizes on the day long distance with the 1st Issoudun from 552 pigeons, 33rd Blois from 11,576 pigeons and the 91st Chateauroux against 4973 pigeons. Her father is 'het Verheytje' of father and sons Verhey from Hardinxveld-Giessendam who was a topper on the day long distance himself. He descends from pigeons from Braad-de Joode (Woudrichem) and Martin van Zon (Krimpen a.d. IJssel). The mother of 'Liz' was in 2019 a year old hen which came from Peter Crans from Den Helder and in pedigree we see best day fund type from A. Dijkstra, Braad-de Joode and Rens v.d. Zijde (Den Helder). And just like with 'Theo', we don't see with 'Liz' any specific strain for the long distance but more for the daytime races. Now morning races are also long distance races and on this Agen, 'Liz' hung more than 11.5 hours in the air to cover 928 km and she flew almost 80 km per hour.
The last few years Gero and Evelien have changed their pigeon gun. Specific pigeons for the long-distance races have been bought and this in such a way that almost three quarters of the current racing team consists of this kind of pigeons. To get this kind of pigeons they knocked at the door of Louis Vollebregt in Wassenaar, Wim Muller (now Goes), Leon Roks (Standdaarbuiten) and family Rans in the Belgian Wijgmaal. And that cross has shown itself on this Agen best with so many yearlings who very clever knew to reach the home port in time. No fancier in the Netherlands knew how to do that with a big team of yearlings! The 10th yearling is already in at price 160 on the reporting list! The second old pigeon stems from a breeding together with Peter van Sintmaartendijk from Papendrecht and it will win prize 44 while Peter himself is at prizes 11 and 18 in the reporting list and Piet v.d. Merwe is at prizes 6, 13 and 29 with 14 with the pigeons.
Very early in the morning Gero Dijk leaves home every (working) day to go for his bread and butter. Gero has his own company called 'Gietvloeren BY Gero' and he is self-employed and applies all kinds of finishing floors in homes, institutions and companies. On his own website, I saw the beautiful name 'plastic applicator' to indicate his work as an applicator of plastic, coating and trowel floors. Because of his work, wife Evelien's hand in pigeon racing is indispensable. She lets the racers out in the morning and if they are on a nest, it is an obligatory training for all pigeons. When they are separated, the sexes are trained separately. Evelien also lets the youngsters out. When he comes home from work, Gero lets the racers train for a second time. The feeding is made as easy as possible and Evelien provides the food from a large bowl and the pigeons get a full bowl and when everything is finished, it is replenished. When it comes to the medical aspect, we play it short as the Flemings say. During the racing season the pigeons are checked regularly. This happens on the Wednesday before basketing and when the pigeons are not in good shape, they don't basket. This check-up is done by the veterinarians Stefan Göbel and Fernand Mariën. Once before Gero could see that some pigeons were in good shape from the arrivals of a training flight that was held by 'Hank'. Mother and daughter were also early. But could Gero have foreseen that later on they would fly the 1st and 2nd national? A fancier can dream of it in advance but most of the time these pigeon sport dreams do not come true. But on Agen 2022 they did in Alblasserdam with Gero and Evelien Dijk. Wonderful anyway! A pigeon day never to forget and always a sweet memory.
Ad van Gils