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The Gyselbrecht Strain
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This family of distance and marathon racing pigeons have been around for some time for the father of the Gyselbrecht's, Remi has been associated with the sport since 1954. His astuteness as a fancier was recognized by the fact that he received the award in 1977 of National Long Distance Champion Of All Belgium. Along with Remi the senior members of the partnership are Carlo and Andre his two sons. Today the lofts appear to be an all-family affair with Nikolaas, Remi's nephew, being also the founder of 'Pigeonparadise' the internationally acclaimed internet pigeon racing site. Not forgetting Hannes and This family of distance and marathon racing pigeons have been around for some time for the father of the Gyselbrecht's, Remi has been associated with the sport since 1954. His astuteness as a fancier was recognized by the fact that he received the award in 1977 of National Long Distance Champion Of All Belgium. Along with Remi the senior members of the partnership are Carlo and Andre his two sons. Today the lofts appear to be an all-family affair with Nikolaas, Remi's nephew, being also the founder of 'Pigeonparadise' the internationally acclaimed internet pigeon racing site. Not forgetting Hannes and
Thomas who are an important part of the Knesselare enterprise.

At any rate there is no doubt that what we are witnessing is a definite strain of distance pigeons that have arrived and are in the process of development.
Internationally the lofts have been outstanding since 1986 from the marathon of all marathons from Barcelona. With 'Sproete Barcelona' registering 86th from 18,079 birds in that year. In 1987 'Prins Barcelona' was 31st with a field of 21,545 birds to be followed in 1991 with 'Blauwe Barcelona' scoring 7th International in a field of 27,167 birds.

Then 1994 witnessed 'King' registering 92nd International against 26.806 entrants. With these results any loft would be on top of the world but more glory was on the way when in 1995 the outstanding 'Laureaat Barcelona' won 1st International from the Spanish race point beating 20,924 other pigeons from the cream of Europe's lofts. And since then 'Turbo' was 96th International, to be followed in 1996 with 104th International by 'Zwarten Barcelona'. No one bird loft this, for in 1997 the family registered 22nd, 76th, and 171st International against 24,908 birds. Of course the latter birds also scored at national level with the lofts taking 2nd National as late as 1999 and scoring consistently since. Perhaps the concept of being consistent is the hallmark of this great strain. The lofts have also scored from other race points into Belgium and when I peruse its record of achievements since its origins I am amazed that the strain is not as well known as other top class families.

This was brought home to me on a number of occasions when I brought the name up and discovered
that seasoned fanciers were not aware of them. Perhaps this piece may help to change all that.

As stated the strains origins lies in the 1970s with one of the seeds being the ‘Oude Barcelona’, who,
in 1978 was 57th International Barcelona with 11,131 pigeons contesting. His son, ‘Jonge Barcelona'
scored in 1981 - 90th International Barcelona with 13,202 pigeons competing. In 1986, (see above) a
son of ‘Jonge Barcelona’ called ‘Sproete Barcelona’ won 86th International against 18,079 pigeons. To
firm the base during the 1980s new blood was brought in from Cobut; from Vandermeren; from Denys
and some from the legendary Barcelona specialist Andre Vanbruaene. The family believe however that
the best acquisitions during this period came from Andre Vanbruaene. But to remain at the top and to
have the pigeons for the 600 miles plus endurance tests in all weathers Remi Gyselbrecht and his
family know that they must continue to bring in new blood.

Therefore in 1993/94 they decided to bring in representatives of one of the greatest strains of the last
and the present century namely the Van der Wegen’s. Resulting with 3 of the first four birds in the
1997 Barcelona race being 50% Van der Wegen; including “Ronaldo”, who scored 22nd International
against 24,908 pigeons. In 1999 (see above), 'Sampras' (7/8’s Van der Wegen) won 2nd National
against 13,966 pigeons.

To conclude, this is one of the best strains for the new millennium as well as being one of the best in
pigeon racing history. The Gyselbrecht family from Remi the patriarch down to the latest member are in
no doubt masters of the art of long and marathon distance pigeon racing. The sport is in their blood
and that is the fairest tribute that I can offer. Finally by the end of 2003 the brothers Gyselbrecht
separated and started racing on their own after all the breeders and racers were divided. There then
began a new partnership as Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht and his sons Nikolaas and Thomas joined with the
well-known pigeon fancier and pigeon sport journalist Martin Degrave to become Degrave-
Gyselbrecht. I look forward to the exploits of the new partnership with perhaps another 1st
International from Barcelona for they have the goods to do it.




Liam O Comain  -
by: Liam O Comain

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