The second ZLU classic of the season was flown from Bordeaux, that since 1989 has had a separate competition for old birds and yearlings. The last two years this has developed into a truly international race as birds from East and West Flanders in Belgium and Great Britain can participate. The respectable number of 21,651 birds was entered this year into the international with Belgium and the Netherlands being the entrants with respectivly 10,747 and 8,657 pigeons.

Since the last two years it has not been the Bordeaux racepoint but Agen a city 115 km in the south east direction more inland. This makes a further flight distance of 50 km in the West of Belgium and for the east side up to about 25 km extra.

The pigeons were released at 7 am in Agen and they cleared quickly in a largely south westerly wind direction that would help the Netherlands as the wind strength was predicted to increase on the homeward journey.

The first Bordeaux pigeon was reported at 16.51 hours in Braine le Comte (Belgium) at a distance 762 km and that pigeon made a speed of 1290 m.p.m. This town is some 30 km south of Brussels but the fastest pigeon of the entire convoy arrived in Stekene, Belgium, to Henri Coppens and is was timed at 17.22 hours for a speed of 1304 m.p.m. for a distance of 819 km.

In the Netherlands, on a more or less equal distance but more to the coast, the first report of an arrival came from M. de Poorter of Sluis who timed an old bird for a speed of 1280 m.p.m. and a yearling of Jac Den Bosch of Hengstdijk which is also located in Zeeland that later turned out just a bit faster.

What will the longer fliers do now was the question? Who has faster old birds? All the way to the east at 18.07 hours came notification from Jean Bacchus of Elen in Belgium, and that village lies just south of Maaseik so he is a Dutch flier really.

At a further distance, pigeons were clocked faster and gold was discovered was at 18.27 hours in the back yard of the Cor de Heijde in Made. The NL10-2017961 reached a speed of 1293 m.p.m. at a distance of 889 km. From a slightly greater distance Comb. Batenburg-v.d. Merwe from Klaaswaal timed at 18.29, 18.31, 18.34, 18.37, 18.39 and 18.48 hours and won prizes 2, 3, 6, 9, 11and 14!

Cor de Heijde had six pigeons entered in the Bordeaux race.Two old cocks and four yearlings, two of both sexes. The NL10-3017961 really is a worthy winner.It was with good reason that he was entered into the race full of confidence. Indeed in 2011 he had made his long distance debut in the same flight and that was a great success winning the 25th prize against 4084 yearlings.Last year the pigeons were released at 6.45 am in Agen and the ‘961’ was timed at 21.44 hours clocked to record a speed of 988 m.p.m.

The ‘Bordeaux’ was raced to a youngster of 10 days old and he was prepared for the race with some shorter flights and several times Dourdan by the loft manager .The other old cock was also clocked at 19.34 hours and will win 147th prize.

The yearlings did not reach home on the same day but the first one arrived the next morning at half past five. According to Cor the flight was for those with a little long distance experience.But he also noticed how quickly the pigeons were restored again after thier arrival and this points to the good care they enjoyed in the baskets.

The now 67-year-old Cor de Heijde more or less restarted with the pigeons in 1990 and decided to concentrate fully on the extra long distance races as a target. He figured out that the base bloodline was the most important thing for these races and in 1989 he visited the loft of Piet Lazeroms in Zegge. Six pigeons were obtained by Cor from there including the NL84-1870149, which since has become a legendary name ‘de Klamper. He had not raced in Zegge as he was seized by a bird of prey ( a Klamper) and hence his name.
Cor saw him as the ideal long distance pigeon and with different hens he gave real top pigeons including the ‘St.Vincentduif’ of 1992 and ‘De Perpignan’ of 1993.

Cor with his loft manager Bert Van Beek

In the 90’s Cor made a comet-like ascent in the long distance races from all flights with the descendants of the ‘Klamper’ and a true highlight was winning the 1st National Perpignan in 1997. A disaster struck in 1998 when thieves visited the lofts while Cor was attending the ZLU show and in his absence many of the best birds were stolen including many children of the ‘Klamper’.

In 2009, he again was affected by a theft and many important birds were taken and after this he removed the entire breeding team away from his lofts. So Cor is still rebuilding after this ‘disaster’ and is trying to overcome the setbacks with many measures including never allowing other pigeon fanciers onto his property.

Cor de Heijde is a passionate long distance lover and races his birds to the nest. The nest position at basketing he says is less important than the condition of the pigeon itself. He competes in races not only with a morning liberation but also the afternoon releases, and at the latter discipline he has a real ‘topper’ under his roof with the NL08-3818648. This year the he won 65th National St. Vincent against 11,895 pigeons. The previous year the ‘648 ‘ won 4th National Dax (11.753 b.) and the 51st National St. Vincent (13,017 b.) In 2010 he was 33rd National Cahors (13,185 b.) and 82nd National Bordeaux (13,242b).  He perfomed these great victories in all weather conditions.

The racers are coupled in late March and the eggs from the older birds are fostered under the yearlings. The old racers then simply continue in their natural cycle.

Brother Louis from Geertruidenberg is also a well known long distance racer and he provides the lofts in Made with the youngsters and takes care of the breeders. The racers are all under the care of Cor with the help of Bert van Beek the loft manager who is recovering from heart surgery.

That these fantastic pigeons can produce extraordinary well for others was again proven in 2010. The brothers. v.d. Kieboom from Raamsdonksveer in 2010 had a great pigeon with three very early national prizes (with afternoon releases) and was National Asduif, and also Gerard van der Matten from Woudrichem won the best Dutch Pigeon at the Olympiad in Poznan, Poland, ‘Fond Class’. Both with the bloodline of Cor de Heijde.

Last year Cor himself was 2nd Champion Loft ‘Overnight Fond’ in the Afdeling Brabant 2000 with Gebr.v.d. Kieboom in 6th place and brother Louis in 10th position.

Cor began in 1981 with his own construction company under the name Lage Zwaluwe and is now 30 years old and has 100-employees. The first years after starting his own business put his pigeon sport activities at a very low ebb due to the fact that the company demanded much time and work to be successful. As previously stated a restart was made in the sport around 1990 with the birds detailed but also a hen from the ‘Oude Lambrechts’ of 1973 played a role as did a few acquisitions from the ‘Kruk’ line of Piet and Henk de Weerd from Breda.

Cor knows to achieve a high level of performance in the pigeon sport is no easy task and certainly not from the long distance. With this beautiful ‘Bordeaux Victory’ Cor aims to add to his great record in the years to come and ambitious as he is I am sure he will endeavor to have many more such successes from his team!

Ad van Gils