I came across this old photograph of Belg94-6362402 ‘Figo’ bred by Frans Verheyen and Daughter of Merksplas and of course the bloodline was 100% from his old legendary late friend and townsman Gus Hofkens.
The ‘Figo’ was raced by Frans and his daughter for three years before retiring to stock where he really excelled. Mike Ganus and I visited Frans in the Autumn of 2003 and I managed to buy ‘Figo’ and Mike bought his nest brother ‘401’. Although both were getting on a bit , they still had everything needed for our own breeding lofts.
The quality of the Frans Verheyen birds at that time was quite breathtaking and Mike told me that the quality had been that way since his first visits in the early eighties. I had seen evidence of this on loft visits in America to several Hofkens fans that had the bloodline through Mikes imports. Of course the originals in Merksplas were quite exceptional.
It is a great shame and entirely my fault that we do not have any of this original bloodline left in our loft any more as that kind of quality is now very rare. The bloodline raced best when crossed and I am not surprised that we still get calls about these birds.
I am sure that the best offspring of ‘Figo’ are still raced by Steve Radcliffe of Skelmersdale together with his friends Fred Hall and Daughters of Brighton. They own a pair that can rightly be called a ‘Super Breeding Pair’ a term that is often misused. The pair are a son of ‘Figo’ paired to a daughter of one of our other old standard bearers ‘Hannibal’.
The kind of birds that we are all constantly looking for!!