ROBERT BEN aka LE PHENOMENE - 1st Internat. Barcelona 16.595 p.


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Robert Ben

It was still early Thursday morning when the alarm went off. Before daybreak and dew we got in the car for a drive to Calais.

Calais is located on the Strait of Calais within sight of the English coast and is therefore the main port on the mainland for passenger transport with Great Britain. Add to that the tunnel under the Cchannel from Calais to Dover, which is more than 50 km long, of which 37.9 km under the sea, and it is not surprising that Calais has been in the news frequently lately, however mostly before the corona outbreak, due to the many immigrants.

As you could read in this newspaper last week, Robert Ben wished to stay out of the public eye after his international victory over Barcelona, but after a long push through various different contacts we finally got in touch with him and were allowed to come to "an audience" with Le Phénomène last Thursday at 9am.
Since Robert's legendary "048", renamed "Super Ben", grew into a phenomenon that was unprecedented, he gained the status of vedette in his own region, and also for a lot far beyond. A status Robert himself certainly wasn't waiting for. Leave him with his pigeons. He is averse to commerce and visitors, although the close friends are always welcome. Robert himself says: "I have more sentiment with my pigeons and in the loft, and especially on arrival of a big race, than for any first date with an earlier love."
That is fully agreed by his daughters Sandra and Virginie, who were raised largely by Robert after the early death of their mother, Robert's wife. Sandra: "Daddy has sacrificed his whole life to the pigeons. The family always came second, although we were never allowed to complain about his commitment to us."
Sandra even raced briefly with the pigeons, but the main task of the daughters Ben was to take care of the pigeons and especially the clocking of the pigeons when father Robert had a late shift and had to work from 14:00 to 22:00.

Robert Ben met Rik HermansMeanwhile Robert is 72 years old and has been retired for a while, and he can lose even more his soul and find happiness in the pigeon loft. He mainly plays the International races, especially Pau, St. Vincent, Narbonne, Perpignan and especially Barcelona. He largely ignores Agen and Marseille.

He built up his colony with predominantly Dutch marathon species and succeeded mainly with pigeons of Mrs. Jopie Sprenkels, Peter van den Eijnden and Lei Kurvers-De Weerd. Together with a comrade he visited the fanciers in the Netherlands frequently and always tried to take some of the best to France.
However, the last visit to the Netherlands dates back to 2007, when he visited Jelle Jellema together with Michel Dubois. It is clear that Robert Ben does not have his eyes in his pocket!
Robert still builds on that old base, the only notable acquisitions are two more pigeons from the aforementioned friend Michel Dubois.

Robert plays with about 40 widowers and also has a number of hens between the youngsters, but they do not train well enough and the performances are corresponding, according to his own words.
The widowers train twice a day for an hour, but it is free training, there is never forced flying.
In terms of nutrition, Robert still relies on the different mixtures of Versele-Laga. The late Mathieu De Clippel was one of his close friends. As an extra, some hemp seed is regularly provided. There is feeding in a joint container and the pigeons get so much that after each feeding a leftover remains.
No partner is ever shown before the basketing of the preparation flights. For basketing of the "big" races (the International), the pigeons access the other half a box for an hour, and just before the cocks are put in the baskets they can join their hen for 1 to 2 minutes, with Robert making sure that they do not tread the hens.
In preparation for Barcelona, the pigeons flew Argenton (480 km) and another 600 km race after a shorter preparatory race.


Super Ben 98-361048 (click image to enlarge)

“Super Ben”

For many, "Super Ben" is the best pigeon ever in the international races with 5th, 20th and 44th Internat. Barcelona and 3rd, 20th and 21st Internat. Perpignan. A comparison is sometimes made with the "Euro Diamond" of Brockamp (2nd Internat. Carcassonne, 5th and 12th Internat. Perpignan and 21st Internat. Marseille), but most of the real long distance fanciers will definitely prefer "Super Ben".
"Super Ben" was not so small, rather long and narrow, with extremely soft feathers and a huge wing relative to his body, and beautiful dark eyes.
Late 2003, when "Super Ben" won 20th Internat. Barcelona and 3rd Internat. Perpignan, there was already a huge bid that was resolutely rejected by Robert. In 2004 the "Super Ben" won 5th Internat from Barcelona on top and again the bids poured in. But Robert still had to and would fly Perpignan with "Super Ben", and surprised friend and foe with 21st International.
It was striking that he delivered several of his exploits with west and northwest wind, so with the wind right on the head. That makes things even more special.
A few days later, Japanese businessman Hiroshi Kijima suddenly showed up at the door, and although his insane bid was first rejected, a few days later the family gave in and with pain in the heart they waved farewell to the "048" that was renamed "Super Ben".
How did Robert fare with the descendants of "Super Ben"? Robert: "Suddenly everyone was standing here at the door. I've handed out way too much of it to friends."

Barcelona 2021

For Barcelona Robert had a team of 14 pigeons, 6 or 7 proven pigeons and 6 or 7 new triers, which disappointed him a bit.
Robert was watching the final of the European Championships with a look half on the TV and half on the pigeon loft. Robert: "I don't have internet here, I don't even have an electronic system. My brother also has pigeons, but during the moments of the arrival of a flight we do not call, I find that far too stressful. Suddenly I saw a pigeon fall from the corner of my eye, it was already quite dusky. I quickly clocked that pigeon and called my brother, who could tell me that there were already about 30 pigeons at home. He looked at the computer, and then it turned out I was at the top.
I got a bit nervous, winning Barcelona internationally was a dream, but of course it wasn't that far. I definitely had a restless night and didn't get much sleep.
The next morning it really became crazy with everyone who wanted to call me and congratulate me. I didn't respond anymore, I wanted to wait for my pigeons quietly, although it took until 6 pm before my second pigeon arrived". 

FR16-187003 “Barcelona Ben”

FR16-187003 “Barcelona Ben”  FR16-187003 “Barcelona Ben” 
(click images to enlarge)

“Barcelona Ben”

FR16-187003 “Barcelona Ben”

The FR16-187003 was clocked at 22:18:32 at a distance of 1043,650 km.
Anyone who thinks of the shortest distances in France is partly deceived and should consult Google Maps. Robert Ben, for example, flies further than Joost De Smeyter (1033 km) and only slightly shorter than Barcelona specialist Frans Bungeneers (1086 km) and the fanciers in Dutch South Limburg (Maastricht 1065 km).
The "003" had already earned his stripes with two handsome prizes in 2018 and three prizes in three races in 2019, making him 17th best European Ace Pigeon over 3 races, before having to go into the basket for his Barcelona debut in 2020.
However, the "Ad Blue affair" (the French pigeons were mistakenly given the fuel additive Ad Blue instead of drinking water, which took almost all French pigeons out of the race and returned them to the fanciers) threw a spanner in the works. 

The "003" does not have it from a stranger, because his father FR11-502541 (a great-great-grandson of "Super Ben"), was also a prize packer with 118th Nat. St Vincent 2,836 p. and 802nd Nat. Perpignan 3,832 p. 2014, 196th Nat. Narbonne 2,770 p. 2015, 594th Nat. Barcelona 3,046 p. and 671st Nat. Perpignan 2016, 336th Nat. Barcelona 3,099 p. and 355th Nat. Narbonne 2,610 p. 2017, 212th Nat. Perpignan 3,477 p. 2018 and 654th Nat. Barcelona 2,996 p. and 602nd Nat. Perpignan 3,542 p. 2019.
Mother of "003" is 12-750, is 12-750, a daughter of 01-064 "Son Super Ben" (5 out of 5 at Barcelona and 5 out of 5 at Perpignan) x 02-633, a sister of 02-669 (13-32-119-128-261-283-523e Nat. Barcelona and 55-213-230-350th Nat. Perpignan) and daughter of 97-171 "Half sister Super Ben" (from father x grandmother "Super Ben").
The "003" was renamed "Barcelona Ben" in the style of "Super Ben". He is a small (a typical Dutch marathon) pigeon, that is well built, with a beautiful wing and a beautiful eye.

In the meantime, he was sold to the Hermans family, who also mediated the sale of "Super Ben". Before he will probably join his great-grandfather in Japan, he will certainly stay in Belgium for a few more months. 

Once more “Super Ben”

Finally, the striking fact is that the 2nd Internat. Barcelona (Ludovic Guirado) is a great-grandson of the 01-564 "Son Super Ben". The 6th international (1st Internat. hens) comes from a granddaughter of "Zus Super Ben".
Robert has handed out a lot of pigeons according to his own words, but is also proud that others have great success! 


Robert came across to us as a sympathetic fancier. After a pleasant chat we were able to return home satisfied to basket the pigeons for Guéret!


Ludovic Guirado: 2nd Internat Barcelona 2021 and great-grandson of 01-064 “Son Super Ben”, grandfather of “Barcelona Ben” (1st Internat. Barcelona 2021).

Ludovic Guirado FR15-254986 

Ludovic Guirado FR15-254986
(click image to enlarge)

Ludovic Guirado

Philippe Bazille: 1st Internat. Barcelona hens (6th Internat.) with a great-granddaugher “Sister Super Ben”.

Philippe Bazille FR16-87373

Philippe Bazille FR16-87373

Philippe Bazille


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