The first real pigeons I got were from my uncle Jos Dillen, who still competed at ninety three. At the beginning of my breeding career, in the mid-seventies, I raced exclusively at Quievrain, 113km, with growing success. From 1986, I was as good as overall champion in Zandhoven. I decided to change to the middle distance with my birds. As yearlings they immediately flew six times 1st place in 1994. I never regretted the move to the middle distance, as it was a success from the outset.
In 1988, I bought the cockbird B 6240603-88 at auction. His father was Gummar Leysen’s breeding bird, B 6114203-86, which flew the 1st position eleven times as a yearling and was 1st ace pigeon in the Hafoclub Lier. I paired this cockbird with a hen from Marien-Royberghs, B 6202092-89. She also had an excellent lineage, as her mother was the sister of ‘Autogewinner’, which had been paired with a son of ‘Asduif von 77’, B 6419658-77. From this coupling I got the well-known ‘Rambo’, B 6621023-93. In 1994, h flew three 1st prizes as a yearling in the Antwerp Union and was put straight into the breeding loft. With the hen ‘Het Laatje’, B6652120-90, which originated from van Dyck’s short distance stock through Jules Verbeecke of Nijlen, he sired ‘Bouges’, B 6323005-94 in the same year. ‘Rambo’ did not fly particularly well as young bird in 1993, but he was super as a yearling. In 1994, I bred from him my ‘Bourges’, who honoured his name well by flying to 2nd place Bourges National Prize against 40 401 pigeons, being pipped at the post by just three seconds. ‘Bourges’ also went straight into the breeding loft.
‘Rambo’ and his hen ‘Het Laatje’ sired not only ‘Bourges’, who had already claimed 2nd place Bourges National prize against 40 000 pigeons as a young bird, but also the phenomenal star ‘Kannibaal’. In 1996, he flew twelve prizes a yearling, of which nine were in the top 11, among them, four 1st prizes. ‘How did he get the name Kannibaal’? Dirk: ‘That has something to do with the cycle racer Eddie Merckx, whom we call ‘Kannibaal’, because he has exactly the same drive for winning as Eddie Merckx.
Up until ‘Kannibaal’ becoming national ace pigeon my biggest success was when his brother ‘Bourges’ flew 1st place in the Provincial Prize against 7000 pigeons here in the Antwerp area. That was simply fantastic and I was extremely happy, because it had been a difficult flight. The weather was fine and there was a headwind as the first pigeons reached 1100 m. The fancier who has won 1st national prize had a distance of 108km shorter than mine but, would you believe it, I missed national victory by three seconds! It was a pity that it hadn’t been enough, but still I was happy. The success I’d had with ‘Kannibaal’ was something very special. This bird is a super pigeon and my pride and joy.
“In which competition did ‘Kannibaal’ fly best?” Dirk: “He will pull through well despite a headwind and flying into the sun. He performed best at the Orleans provincial flight. Though the wind on that day was somewhat unfavourable, he still flew 7th place against 5140 competing birds, which was a fantastic performance when you realise that the cream of the whole province was basketed for that flight. Following this result, I was sure that he would make 1st national ace pigeon. After Orleans, I took him out of racing”.
“Did you use any special methods to motivate ‘Kannibaal’ during his successful year?”. Dirk: “Yes, I discovered something before the last flight, which I used before the Orleans flight to give some extra motivation: under the nest boxes there is a small storage area with a few small doors accommodating the nest bowls and other odds and ends. During the week, I noticed that he wanted to get in. About one hour before basketing for Orleans I opened one of the little doors. He immediately went in and his hen followed him, then I basketed him”.
“Why did you stop ‘Kannibaal’ so early?” Dirk: “In 1996, he was Belgium’s best middle distance pigeon and I was offered a lot of money for him, so I couldn’t compete with him responsibly any longer. But I will never sell him”. “Do you think he is a good breeding bird?” Dirk: “Absolutely. Various breeders have already weaned good pigeons from his sons or daughters; the Koopmans from Holland, for example. They have a daughter from ‘Kannibaal’, which they call ‘Golden Lady’, and they’ve hit the jackpot with her. ‘Kleine Dirk’, a grandson of ‘Kannibaal’, is one of the best birds the Koopmans of Holland have ever owned. This fine little bird flew first place National Prize at Troyes, 530 km against 17883 pigeons, 1st place National Prize at Bourges, 700km against 7155 pigeons and a 1st prize at Maaseik, 196km against 3522 pigeons among other top prizes. That’s not just coincidence, that’s simply world class! IT shows great new blood comes from great parents!”
“How was today’s stock created?” Dirk: “I got the first pigeons when I was twelve years old from my uncle Jos Dillen. I later added some birds from Gummar Leysen of P ulderbos from the line of his famous ‘03’. ‘Laatje’ originates from Marien-Royberghs of Berlaar as well as from Jules Verbeeck of Nijlen. I got a white pigeon from Van Looy-Somers of Vorselaar and a henbird from Marcel De Maere of Puivelde. Other pigeons I got from Georges Van Riel of Zandhoven, one of which is ‘Ailda 500’ and a hen from Marina Van de Velde of Grobbendonk. In 2001, Marina Van de Velde won 1st National Prize at Argenton against 23 000 pigeons. Finally, I bought some pigeons from Frans Van Beirendonck of Zandhoven as well as from Jozef Hoylaerts of Herent. As you can see, excellent birds which originate from my neighbourhood”.
In 1996, ‘Kannibaal’ flew spectacularly, making Dirk and Louis van Dyck big names. Meanwhile, thanks to outstanding new blood, a great new team has been built across the board. Here are the best results 2001:
Thirty two times 1st Place in 2001
15/04, Quievrain, 107km, 326 yearlings, 4 ent./2 prizes: 1st, 20th.
22/04, Quievrain, 107 km, 659 yearlings, 40 ent./ 19 prizes: 2nd, 9th, 31st, 50th, 57th, 62nd, 81st, 96th etc
29/04, Quievrain, 107 km, 388 yearlings, 2 ent./ 1 prizes: 1st
06/05, Noyon, 217 km, 668 yearlings, 37 ent./ 23 prizes: 2nd, 3rd, 17th, 20th, 27th, 32nd, 35th, 46th etc.
06/05, Noyon, 217 km, 301 old birds, 9 ent./ 6 prizes: 3rd, 4th, 22nd, 60th, 76th.
06/05, Quievrain, 107 km, 340 yearlings, 2ent./ 2 prizes: 1st, 47th.
12/05, Melun, 318 km, 107 henbirds, 9 ent./ 8 prizes: 6th, 12th, 26th, 29th, 30th 32nd, 46th, 59th.
12/05, Melun, 318 km, 1013 yearlings, 34 ent./ 23 prizes: 1st , 11th, 14th, 23rd, 25th, 63rd, 73rd, 90th etc.
12/05, Melun, 318 km, 796 old birds, 7 ent./ 5 prizes: 23rd, 26th, 44th, 122nd, 214th.
13/05, Noyon, 217 km, 449 yearlings, 4 ent./ 3 prizes: 17th, 32nd, 101st
13/05, Quievrain, 107 km, 285 yearlings, 2ent./ 2 prizes: 3rd, 26th
19/05, Dourdan, 365 km, 720 old birds, 7 ent./ 7 prizes: 42nd, 68th, 69th, 74th, 158th, 212th, 238th
20/05, Noyon, 217 km, 470 yearlings, 5 ent./ 4 prizes: 2nd, 11th, 26th, 38th
20/05, Noyon, 217 km, 254 old birds, 6 ent./ 5 prizes: 4th, 12th, 32nd, 55th, 70th
20/05, Quievrain, 107 km, 247 yearlings, 2 ent./ 2 prizes: 4th, 9th
20/05, Quievrain, 107 km,