Without a doubt, the most prestigious racing pigeon event of the year is the International Barcelona Race. What makes me think this is so? Well, considers the sums paid for two recent Barcelona International race winners: $150,000 and $120,000. Have any other race winners or even National Ace Pigeons ever sold for these amounts? Possibly one or two, but year after year the most desired winner in all of racing is the International Barcelona race winner. I think the observation we may draw is that in Europe distance is King.
Strangely, here in North America, we seem to be departing from our long distance roots and prefer chasing after the short and middle distance races. For most of the flyers in my concourse, the longest race offered on the race schedule is less than 500 miles.
Piet DeWeedt once remarked, that it is much easier to put speed into a distance family then to breed tenacity, guts and homing ability into a short and middle distance family of birds. So much for my soapbox, lets get onto the race.
This year, despite the Hoof & Mouth disease restrictions, European fanciers managed to send 25,760 racing pigeons to the Barcelona race. The birds were released on Sunday July 8th, at 09:10 AM (one day hold over), with the first racers arriving home early Monday morning!
The International winner, for the third year in a row, was from the Netherlands. The winning bird, belonging to S. Heymann from Beesel, won this international race by flying 709 miles at a speed of 1375 m/m (1504 ypm) and clocking in at 5:45 AM Monday.
The next two prizes were awarded to pigeons flying into Germany, with second place International going to Renate Jenske from Duisburg, flying 731 miles, and third place International going to Peter Elvermann from Bottrop, flying 742 miles. The fourth place International Barcelona prize, went to yet another Netherlands flyer, J. Crombach of Kerkrade, flying 682 miles.
The next four positions all went to Belgium flyers. Jan Dons (The Notary) at 5th International, Eric Herbots at 6th, Boni & Geert Wijns at 7th (1st International Hens) and Christain Bouhy at 8th place International.
Of interest to some, Emiel Denys placed 14th International, Henri Van Neste placed 18th and 29th International and A. Simons placed 25th International.
At the Belgium national level (against 13,218 birds), Germain Imbrecht placed 12th, Roger Dekeyzer 14th, Rene Bekkers 18th and 24th, Jos Thone 20th and 22nd, Pros Roosen 23rd, Louis Verstraeten 29th, G & F Carteus 33rd, Gommaire Verbruggen 37th, Erik Limbourg 44th, Roger Persoons 45th, and Silvere Toye 69th.
Honorable mention at the Belgium national level goes to Frans De Dobbeleer who placed 4 in the top 120 birds taking; 36th, 98th, 113th and 119th.
So there you have it, the National Winners from the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium all clocking within the first 5 positions Internationally, with Andre DeGuillage of Nieurle, the French National winner clocked in at 28th International, flying 651 miles.
These first 28 birds, scored across a front 200 miles wide with the longest bird flying 90 miles further than the shortest in the group.
Year after year, the Barcelona International Race proves to be as fair a race as one can find and the top birds from this race are truly champion quality.Bacelona International Race Winners 1951 - 2001