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HOK DAVID VERMASSEN (Gavere) is national top from 100 to 700 km!

29 Oct 2022

As in many disciplines in sports, we have evolved more and more towards specialization in recent years. Take cycling, for example. In the past, riders were expected to perform at their peak from the first race in the spring to the last race in the fall. In addition, a few crosses were ridden in the winter period or a six-day track on the slopes to keep the rhythm. Every day was a working day and top riders such as Roger De Vlaeminck, Eddy Merckx etc… performed at a high level for a year. Peaks and or troughs were not an issue, or were regarded as weakness.

More recent years have seen focus and specialization. A few weeks of peak per year, targeting certain classics, classifications or rounds made its appearance. Performance in peak periods is therefore of a higher general level than the average of the past.

This method has also been introduced in other sports… even in the pigeon sport. Choices were (or had to be made) for sprint, middle distance, extreme middle distance, long distance, extreme long distance. In addition, all this can be practiced with young pigeons, old pigeons, hens, cocks…not to mention the way of racing (on nest, classic widowhood, total widowhood…). Plenty of choice to let everyone express their talents and class!

And yet there are lofts that manage to perform at the top throughout a season across various disciplines. They are few and far between and demand a lot of effort, discipline, perseverance and dedication from the fancier and pigeons. Also, not every pigeon strain is equipped to fly at the head both at 300 km and 600 km. This is impossible without love for the pigeon and dropping off is not on the agenda.

Ready 365 days a year

…yes, and if it's a leap year, add another day. In reality it is less because every year a few days of vacation are taken with this strong team. The title was chosen to illustrate the commitment and motivation present in these lofts and within this team. At the time, David Vermassen (47 years old) was the one who wanted to race pigeons as a young boy, and with success. He was assisted in this by his mother Nadine (69 years old). In a later phase, the complete care and supervision was taken over by Nadine and her partner Denis (70 years old) and David is still present at the arrival of the pigeons or when some manual labor needs to be provided with adjustments to the lofts. David credits Nadine and Denis for the results.

For Nadine and Denis, pigeon sport is a day job that they perform as a strong tandem and with great dedication. Nothing is left to chance and they are very well attuned to each other. The tasks are well distributed and there is also a lot of planning, agreement and consultation. If this were not the case, the very strong results would not flow into each other as smoothly.

The fact that they performed so strongly in the past, and certainly in the past season, is therefore a great satisfaction and reward for their efforts. A justifiable pride is therefore in order.Visiting them and seeing the installation lofts is therefore a pleasure. Everything is neat and tidy. 

The layout of the lofts has been carefully thought through and adjustments are made if necessary to maximize the results or the chances of success. The lofts are located in the shared garden of the 2 houses (Nadine and Denis) and David and his family. Everything is clear and neatly structured.The lofts are spacious, airy and immaculately maintained. Leaving nothing to chance is the motto here.

Top results and versatility from 100 km to 700 km

- 1st Belgian selection category H old birds Olympiad Poznan 2011
- 2nd Belgian selection middle distance Olympiad Ostend 2006_
- 1st General Champion KBDB 2013
- 1st Provincial Ace Pigeon Extreme Middle Distance 1998
- 1st Provincial Marathon 2005 
- 1st general champion OVV interprovincial 2020
- 1st general champion OVV youngsters 2020
- 1st national Gueret old birds 2010
- 1st national Brive yearlings 2013
- 1st national Souillac old birds 2020
- 2nd Belgian selection Olympiad Ostend middle distance 2006
- 3rd National Champion Grand Middle Distance KBDB 2008
- 3rd National Champion Grand Middle Distance KBDB 2009
- 4th national ace pigeon extreme middle distance KBDB 2005
- 4th national champion yearlings KBDB 2005
-  3rd overall champion Cureghem Center 2013
- 5th national ace pigeon extreme middle distance KBDB 2010
- 6th overall champion KBDB 2018
- 7th general champion OVV 2021
- 3rd champion old & yearlings OVV 2021
- 12 zonal victories from Chateauroux to Cahor
-  24 provincial victories from Orléans to Cahors


- 24 pigeons top 100 national from extreme middle distance to long distance
- 7th Ace pigeon KBDB National all round youngsters
- 1st Ace pigeon KBDB East Fl KHF yearlings
- 1st Ace pigeon KBDB East-Fl All-round youngsters
- 4th champion KBDB East-Fl old
- 28 pure 1st prizes (without doubles)
- 1st Bourges nat zone 3.367 youngsters
- 1st Bourges provincial O-Fl 5,930 youngsters
-  1st Chateauroux nat zone 2,577 youngsters
- a number of classifications are still unknown
- The top 100 national performances in 2022 cover the races from Bourges, Argenton, Issoudun, Tulle, Brive, La Soutteraine, and Chateauroux. This is to illustrate the diversity of the colony.

The past season may therefore be regarded as one of the best of recent years and yet…. some very good pigeons that achieved provincial victories were lost..and it was not going so well with the 1st pigeon awarded.But when your racing team is built broad enough, there are others that manifest themselves and provide top results. Ace pigeons are the ultimate confirmation of this.

A season with a golden edge!A solid breeding base as a foundation

When David entered the arena as a young boy at the time, pigeons were mainly bought or obtained from strong regional players. A small trunk was kneaded from this, which achieved very nice results. A strong quality injection came at the turn of the century with the contribution of the Bonte Crack. This pigeon came directly from the lofts of Freddy & Jacques Vandenheede from Kruisem and was from the very strong old base Albert & Paola / Antigoon & Krijt. Afterwards, a few pigeons from the successful tandem from Kruisem came to join the breeding base. At a later stage there were pigeons from Christine De Bruycker from Liedekerke (mainly pigeons from Marcel Aelbrecht) and this was a direct hit. The contribution of pigeons from Murez-Marichal also perpetuated the top results. Recently, a new breeding talent has been discovered from Rik Boone from Gavere (strain Vandenheede x Achiel Verzelen). A few more individual pigeons are crossed in, but for fear of forgetting someone we have not listed them.

Black Hawk as mainstay and common thread in the inheritance

When Black Hawk won the 1st national Brive yearlings against 6,842 pigeons with bravado in 2013, this pigeon was not sold and placed in the breeding loft. 

This was, as is the case in many cases with a top racer, a golden move. It turned out to be a strong sire directly and indirectly.Coupled with various hens, this resulted in children and grandchildren who perform strongly in the sprint, middle distance and one day long distance. We also find this success line on the father's side in the national winner Souillac. Also in the past 2022 season, several top pigeons have blood from this successful breeding line.After a few years it appears that Black Hawk and his descendants can be easily and successfully crossed with other pigeons. 

They are also pigeons that can top in the extreme middle distance without any problem in hard weather.

Black Hawk is the grandfather of the 1st national Souillac 2020.Black Hawk is the grandfather of the Super Bourgeske that flew 1st provincial, 1st national zone and 4th national Bourges against 23,846  pigeons in the past season.

Black Hawk is grandfather of 7th all round pigeon KBDB 2022.This is only a limited list of pigeons that perform strongly from this line. Many still complete this successful team.

No sweat no glory

Definitely applies here. To give a little insight into how the care works, we take back what we published in the 2020 season following the national victory at Souillac.

The lofts are all cleaned daily. No straw or grids or anything on the bottom in any loft. Every year everywhere, from ridge to bottom, a major cleaning and disinfection with Virkon S and/or Dettol.The widowers breed for the season and raise 1 youngster. The racing hens do not breed during the season. 

The widowers come together for another 5 days before the season and are trained in this phase. At that time they fly once a day. Later in the season and in better weather this is twice a day.When basketing, the cocks never get to see a hen, only a nest dish. When they return home, their partner stays in the loft depending on the progress of the season and the intensity of the flight. The cocks are fed separately in their nest box and drink from a common drinking pot. As soon as the extreme middle distance and one day long distance present themselves, they are normally basketed in teams every two weeks.The hens fly once a day and are all locked up in their nest box. In this nest box they get food and drink separately. 

Before basketing they get their partner for half an hour and about 2 hours when they come home. 

The hens are normally raced weekly and mainly race the middle distance and extreme middle distance. Later in the season they are still raced on a nest.The youngsters fly once a day (1st and 2nd round separately). They are trained in small steps (3 km, 8 km, 15 km….) and are played in widowhood (sliding door) as soon as the first speed races are over.It is not chosen to feed feed of 1 brand. A number of brands are bought and these are combined into 1 mixture. 

Feeding (in the case of widowers and hens separately with the spoon during the full season, with the youngsters together) ranges from heavy food when they return home, over a few days lighter food in between the races, to feeding during the last 5 meals before the basketing. Some supplements of fine seed, fresh grit are given as an extra.To great satisfaction, the pigeons are kept in good basic health with Daflor. When you get home, there are always electrolytes in the drinking pot.

On a medical level, Piet Blancke is their supervisor. Their pigeons are vaccinated against paratyphoid, twice paramyxo-rota, and (with the brush) against the smallpox virus. They are regularly checked and action is taken where necessary.Selection of the youngsters usually has to wait until the end of the season. 

Young pigeons that are raced on the sliding door can sometimes, due to changing circumstances in their motivation, suddenly stick their nose in the window while they did not make much of themselves before. Then the results, origin and how they are built are compared and selected.Selection is already underway for the hens on widowhood, which are raced in full every week, and the results of the national program are decisive for the widowers.

Year after year after year…

They are not one-hit wonders at Team David Vermassen. It started way back when David was a young lad and since then the train of success has not stopped. Few apple failures, a strong breeding base, a disciplined and decisive approach lead to very nice successes year after year with Olympiad pigeons, national victories and ace pigeons as a result.

“In life and well-being” they will certainly participate in 2023, but in the meantime some celebrations and stages need to be completed… and that is also enjoying!

Congratulations from the Herbots team!

Geert Dhaenens