Johan Hamstra Poortugaal
"The champion of the square meter"
To achieve great scores on the marathon flights year in and year out on is not an easy task. If you only have access to several pigeons, then this becomes even harder. Our longtime reporter, Johan Hamstra from Poortugaal in South-Holland province, somehow achieves it for a while now. And that despite the limitations like a very small loft and a very small amount of pigeons.
Under the smoke from Rotterdam, in the charming town of Poortugaal, the 41 year old fancier Johan Hamstra manages to surprise everyone year after year with his results. He therefore received the nickname "The Wizard Tita", based on an old television series. And it is very fitting, after comparing his loft to his results.
In his daily life, Johan earns his wage with one of the largest refineries in the world, Royal SHELL in Pernis. He is responsible for the safe and correct execution of new constructions and maintenance of reservoirs. Apart from this busy and quite important job and his young family, he really manages to stand out with his results on the overnight long distance races. It is remarkable that he scores that well with so many responsibilities, against all the mega lofts that our country has. On a loft of only a few metres, in what could be the smallest garden in the country, he gets amazing scores.
Long distance on mini loft
Near the end of 1999, Johan Hamstra started on the long distance races all by himself, on a small loft behind his house. As the space was limited, only 5 meters were available for a loft. For the coming year, 18 older racing pigeons are housed in a loft of 2.80 x 1.80 meters, and 22 yearlings in a 2.20 x 1.20 meter loft.
Youngsters are only bred halfway through the year and are placed with the remaining yearlings. Not ideal, but his motto is "If it doesn't work like it should, then make it work how it can". And he has enough chances to use this motto in his pigeon sport, because he often has to work with limited resources. The breeding couples he has (6 in total) have been placed in a little shed of 2 meters deep and 80 cm wide. It is almost too crazy to believe!
The following is an overview of the beautiful successes scored on the small miracle loft in the town of Poortugaal in South-Holland province.
Bordeaux, 10 prizes out of 10 flying pigeons.
ondclub Groot Rotterdam; 518 pigeons; 14, 29, 36, 55, 65 etc.
Attractie Hoeksche - Waard; 1.431 pigeons; 23, 37, 54, 84, 112 etc.
Department 5 South - Holland; 5.153 pigeons; 74, 139, 196, 347 etc.
S.N.Z.H. (area sector 2); 9.277 pigeons; 120, 230, 318, 565 etc.
St. Vincent, 6 prizes out of 9 flying pigeons.
Fondclub Groot Rotterdam; 540 pigeons; 5, 23, 31, 50 etc.
Attractie Hoeksche - Waard; 1.071 pigeons; 15, 73, 85, 141, 146 etc.
Department 5 South - Holland; 4.108 pigeons; 36, 197, 236 etc.
Nationaal sec.2; 6.621 pigeons; 77, 326, 386 etc.
Barcelona, 5 prizes out of 6 flying pigeons.
Fondclub Groot Rotterdam; 211 pigeons; 1, 4, 7 etc.
Attractie Hoeksche - Waard; 374 pigeons; 2, 18, 26 etc.
Department 5 South - Holland; 1.165 pigeons; 5, 35, 53 etc.
Nationaal Z.L.U.; 7.491 pigeons; 18, 149, 242 etc.
Nationaal Z.L.U. Duivinnen; 2.298 pigeons; 10, 52 en 81 (3 out of 3)
Internationaal; 25.815 pigeons; 35, 296, 497 etc.
Internationaal Duivinnen; 7.023 pigeons; 20, 108 en 168 (3 out of 3)
Bordeaux Z.L.U., 3 prizes out of 4 flying pigeons.
Basketingcentre Zuid-Beijerland; 179 pigeons; 1, 8 and 9.
Fondclub Groot Rotterdam; 188 pigeons; 3, 5 and 6.
Attractie Hoeksche - Waard; 348 pigeons; 6, 15 and 17.
Department 5 South - Holland; 992 pigeons; 22, 38 and 41.
National Z.L.U.; 4.000 pigeons; 77, 143 and 152.
Put together, the best results until the end of 2007 look like this:
1st Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Barcelona 18th National
1stFondclub Groot Rotterdam Perpignan 56th National
2nd Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Pau 28th National
2nd Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Int. Dax 60th National
2nd Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Narbonne 80th national
2nd Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Pau 191st national
3rd Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Pau 65th national
3rd Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Bordeaux 77th national
4th Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Barcelona 149th national
4th Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Pau 350th national
5th Fondclub Groot Rotterdam St. Vincent 77th national
5th Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Narbonne 118th national
5th Fondclub Groot Rotterdam Bordeaux 143rd national
In late 1993, when Johan was flying in combination with his father and some others, and he bought a pigeon-bon from Bram Walpot after a recommendation by Jan Walpot, on a yearly pigeon event in Elburg. This bon was traded in for a youngster couple, and both Johan Manstra as Bram Walpot could not predict that one of the two would be a formidable breeding pigeon. One that would, in hindsight, pass on the rich Steenbergen-strain long distance blood in a fantastic way to the offspring.
When Johan changes to racing on his own near the end of 1999, without the combination, he already knows he will make his "Walpot Cock" into his basis pigeon. This decision was partly based on the great offspring of the at the time very famous "Super Koppel" of brother Jan. This top pigeon became a recurring theme in Johan's small but very valuable collection. This top pigeon became father of among others: "Diamond Lady Xandra" (NL 00-1964814) with the 56th national 7.083 pigeons (9th of the hens, 1.573 pigeons) on Perpignan in 2002. That time she was also the earliest clocked pigeon of the complete western side of Holland by an hour difference. This victory was enough proof for Johan that he made the right choice. But also the mother of "Diamond Lady Xandra" with her 56th National from Perpignan is the strain of ‘Superkoppel' x the strain of the "Blauwe Barcelona" with his 1st National Barcelona 1994 with Bram Walpot. This one ended up on the loft by borrowing it from Jan van Wanrooy from Brede. This hen became the mother of "Miss Perpignan" with the 35th National Perpignan 2005 with A.P. Overwater. "Miss Perpignan" was born on Johan's loft.
Years later, and the top pigeon "De Walpot Doffer" has now become the centre of the loft, and it brought Johan many successes. For instance, Johan won with a granddaughter of this top pigeon: 10th National Barcelona Hens against 2.298 pigeons, 20th International Hens 7.023 pigeons., 18th National 7.491 pigeons and the 35th International against no less than 25.815 pigeons. But also the 28th en 66th National Pau, 80th Narbonne come from his strain. With a very good score on Bordeaux (10 out of 10) with 120, 230, 318 etc., against 9.277 pigeons, no less than 8 pigeons had "Walpot Doffer" blood in them. So we can conclude that Johan owes a lot of successes to this great top pigeon "De Walpot Doffer" from the world famous "Super Koppel" of Jan Walpot.
Those that know Johan a bit better, know that he is always looking for that one ultimate pigeon. He has done this since he moved to this current location and so far it seems successful. He also does this with his best friend cousin Wilfred Hamstra from Harderwijk.
That the offspring from "De Walpot Doffer" are doing very well with father and son Hamstra in Harderwijk, which seems obvious. They won on their current distance a 29th National Pau but also with a grandchild a 37th National from Barcelona.
Apart from this strain, pigeons from all the best ones of local colleagues D. Bakker and son came Johan's loft. Their own loft, built mainly from Van de Wegen pigeons x the old strain of grandfather Bakker, managed to gather big prizes on the hard marathon races. A notable pigeon is from theur basis pigeon "De Ouwe Rooie", "De 47" with his 6th national Perpignan and 93rd national Barcelona 1993 but also from "De Perpignan" 1st national Perpignan 1994 (one of the hardest races of recent times) youngsters came to Johan's loft. These Bakker pigeons, where many fanciers have scored nice prizes with, also came through Gerrit van helden in Hoogvliet, and Barend de Koning (1st national Tarbes 2007) in Hoek van Holland.
To add even more different pigeons to the loft, Johan and Wilfred often checked pigeon sales and the following ones were added: from Comb. van Kooten x van Bemmel (son Bonfire), Stefaan Meremans (inbred from the Barcelona 1), Reedijk - Jongekrijg (strain Demi 1st national Montauban).
One of the best purchases until now has been done with "De Lars" (grandson Rambo Barcelona) at a sale of the combination Ophuizen-Marell from Landgraaf in Lumburg province. This bought cock is now, several years later, the cock of Johan's basis couple, together with a grandchild of "De Walpot Doffer". Not only does the offspring from this couple get great results, the experts in the Netherlands but also abroad say the pigeons have a superb build, feathers and eyes that make them stand apart from the average pigeon.
Success on other lofts
As we hinted earlier on, there are other lofts who Carry pigeons from Johan who manage to win impressive prizes. The most beautiful and interesting one up to now comes from Belgium, and Freddy Thienpont in Melle to be exact.
"I had never met Johan, but I had heard of him thanks to that incredible result on Barcelona 2005. Because he only had a few pigeons I decided to contact that Dutchman by email. We came to a business arrangement fairly quickly about the youngsters of 2006 and somewhere in February/March I could take some of these of the breeders, and also from some of the successful racers, to Belgium. In the end, it was near the end of April when I traveled to Poortugaal. A big, strong looking man welcomed me, with a big smile and it was a great first impression. Johan immediately showed himself to be a great person, he didn't talk as if he were better than anyone else, he was a good listener and he tried to give advice without forcing it on me. He has a honest and healthy vision about pigeons and all the elements in the pigeon sport.
Where I initially contacted Johan because of business, became a friendship in 2006. After the first visit, a second one followed, and my "friend from the North" also paid a visit to me, just to have some coffee together, a trip of 500 km in total I believe.
The race- and breeding pigeons that Johan is keeping on his tiny loft are of remarkable quality. Most often, they are pigeons with a beautiful dark color, very soft plumage and a lively eye. Pigeons that are pleasing to the eye and whose offspring has proven time and time again that they are capable of getting great results.
In Belgium we also tested some of these children from Johan's mini-loft, with some of the following results: a 2nd international against 7.520 pigeons and a 2nd national against 6.431 pigeons on the very heavy St. Vincent on the 31st of July , and the same weekend a 1st prize Angouléme with a speed of 1200m/min which is good for a top 5 placement in the provincial rankings.
Both winning pigeons have been born in Poortugaal, which can be proven by their Dutch rings!
Johan really is a friend for life, someone that is there for you when you need him."
With these nice words from our southern neighbors I would like to end this report. Based on the qualities and the motivation that Johan has, I am sure I will return here soon enough.