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It’s December as we’re all aware this indicates the start of the DERBY ARONA Tenerife one loft race for 2017/18 and time once again for myself to start putting pen to paper for another series by welcoming on behalf of the Derby Arona Team, old and new fanciers from all continents to the ultimate one loft race in the world, a race publicly announced and world widely known as the “hardest one loft race in the world” due to it rugged terrain and Atlantic Ocean flying challenges,

With the doors opening early may for entries into this year’s event, throughout the year a steady flow of pigeons arrived on a weekly basis to the sun blessed island of Tenerife in anticipation of winning one of Europe’s leading one loft races THE DERBY ARONA in anticipation of winning yet again Europe’s biggest prize for a final 120,000 euro come the final race at the end of March 2018.

With over thirty countries once again competing , there was once again a keen number of entries for this year’s race with excess of 2500 pigeon registered for competition, sadly thou due to transport restrictions implemented by respective countries three shipments failed to get their entries into the race in time, due to unforeseen circumstances during  the quarantine and exporting period  imposed by Canada and the USA, sadly 250 pigeons had to be returned to their original owners, this devastating  news was then followed by a further 150 entries from South Africa also being refused shipment due to avian flu in Africa therefore exporting was banned until this cleared up . so regrettably but to ensure the safety and health of the birds already housed this decline was paramount to ensure the wellbeing of the race, even though as a result of such a number of pigeons being unable to secure their place in the race, it meant a small shortfall on the 3,000 pigeons anticipated for the Derby Arona 2017/18 race, the Arona team have once again announced a guaranteed 120,000 prize pot for the final race winner and three hotspot/car races as advertised which again in 2017/18 is currently unmatched by any other one loft race in Europe.

 

your derby arona team with the the aim to provide enjoyment and ambition to get your pigeons through to the final
your derby arona team with the the aim to provide enjoyment and ambition to get your pigeons through to the final

Over the past weeks the team have been moving forward with their preparations for the start of training which was planned to go commence on the 30th November, however with the latest batch of pigeons that arrived at the loft only being out freely flying with the main batches for a few days, the Arona team made the wise decision for them to have a further five days of loft exercise and therefore delayed training until Dec 5th this then gave every competitor/pigeon the same opportunity to compete on level terms.

With all the pigeons swiftly est. marked and the loft itinerary completed and advertised via the website, it clearly showed that to the delight of the DERBY ARONA, during the orientation period only a small number of entries had gone astray over the past months during loft exercise and considering some may have been in the loft for six to eight months or more upon basketing for the first training race 2,428 pigeons were present and entered from a distance of 3klm. yes, you may say, it’s only a few klm away from the loft, but like every loft around the world. There has to be a starting point to educate the pigeons and the Arona OLR it’s no different to any other in this sense as it gives the pigeons experience of a mass liberation and return to the loft, of course over the next few days the distance between loft and liberation site will increase at a steady pace prior to the Xmas break and recommence on 9th January and progress through to the final planned for march 23rd.

team Columbacanaria from tenerife 2nd race 1
Team Columbacanaria from tenerife 2nd race 1

On 5th December the pigeons were basketed for the first time and on route for the release whilst this was going on, we were all again on the livestream to witness the first race of the year and as many fanciers from around the world once again came together to experience the race and to chat, it was also good to see that a few of our new entrants, had made it onto the livestream on the day and introduce themselves and enjoy the Arona experience.

As 10.30 am approached the team indicated that they were preparing to liberate shortly and confirmation would be announced after such time that the birds were on route as we all waited patiently for the news.

With island temperatures were steadily climbing to 25 degrees and blue skies above as we were informed that the birds were away at 10.40 am into a light, ne wind, after which all eyes were peeled on and above the traps awaiting the first sighting of birds on approach considering the short distance expectations were that the pigeons wouldn’t be to long before arriving.

It was shortly after 11am the first small batch of pigeons could be seen above the loft and as they slowly made their way lower and duly landed on the loft, it was a few minutes as more a pigeons arrived before the first birds eventually crossed the line to record their arrival home.

Taking the top honours with the first position was the country of Asturias as pigeon “Josey” entered by Team José Manuel García Darriba timed in at 11.03.11.50 narrowly ahead of the 2nd pigeon entered by local fancier Team Columbacanaria from Tenerife with pigeon named “Claude Green Grass” with a time of 11.03.12.85 for 3rd we have the first arrival for team UK & Ireland as Paul Bamford from Wales timed in his entry “Ellis” at 11.03.13.00 just a fraction ahead of the Denmark entry of team Ulric and Claus with pigeon “Mirka” taking 4th on 11.03.12.75, in 5th position it’s another local entry from the island of Tenerife as Team Hermanos Remón timed in their entry “Wriggley” at 11.03.14.35, in 6th place team Denmark announce their second arrival as Team Helle & Jens Pedersen and pigeon named “Cucky” recorded a time of 11.03.14.95, ahead by just two seconds in 7th for the UK syndicate  Team Trainspotters entry ” King Waggy” on 11.03.16.35, Team Rumania and pigeon named “Bold Cherry” take the 8th spot for Team Familia Bacalu on 11.03.16.36 just ahead of two entries for Team Germany take 9th and 10th with Team Fam. Flonta having two of their entries trapping together on 11.03.17.20 and 11.03.16.36.

Team Hermanos Remón
Team Hermanos Remón

So there we go as the first of many training races has successfully been overcome and shortly after mid-day 2,350 of the initial entries were safely perched and as the day went on more pigeons arrived as the final count reached 2,406 pigeons and a percentage rate of 99.09% just 22 pigeons short, of course were sure some of these my well return over the next few days once they’ve explored the island.

 

paul bamford 1st uk 3rd international race 1
paul bamford 1st uk 3rd international race 1

Over the following few days the Arona team will steadily move the pigeons further northwards from the loft as the pre-selection training progresses and with the second race planned in just forty eight hours we once again look forward to being present to enjoy another day in Arona.

Thursday morning and the birds were once again basketed for training race two from the 5klm and again with over 100 viewers on livestream sitting patiently for news of the liberation the team announced the liberation at 11am with slightly cooler conditions with current temperatures ranging at 20 degrees and a few broken clouds over the loft and an average wind speed of 21 klm per hour.

 

Team Henricks from denmark 1st international race 2
Team Henricks from denmark 1st international race 2

It was just over 15 minutes that the first arrivals were seen on approach and expected from such distance it was a blanket finish however unlike training one when the birds hesitated before trapping today upon landing the first birds made a brisk entry into the loft to everyone’s delight taking  the top honours were Team Hendricks from Denmark with their pigeon named “Tour Again” registering its arrival at 11.16.36.90 narrowly in front of the 2nd place pigeon “Asclepios” entered by Team Hennie & Arie Voskuil from The Netherlands at 11.16.38.28

 

 team Hennie & Arie Voskuil
team Hennie & Arie Voskuil

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For 3rd we go to Team Russia and pigeon “RU 268” for syndicate Shatalov & Shebanin 11.16.39.30 in 4th spot we return to The Netherlands as they record their second pigeon being named “Baby Smurf” for Team Comb. van den Berg on 11.16.39.80 it’s also another arrival for Team Denmark in 5th as Team Anita and Tage Gravesen see their entry “Mosaic Junior” come in on 11.16.40.05 for 6th place Team Migo from Slovakia timed in “Mikro” 11.16.40,35 closely followed in by Team Leifkes, Iking & Schulz from Germany in 7th as “Hombre” 11.16.40.65, Team Podiumpigeons from Belgium take 8th on 11.16.41.35 with entry duly named “Podiumpigeons van Veld 70” and closely behind rounding off today’s top ten we have team Poland registering two arrival the first being Team Lorek & Losinski  with “Three Wonders” on 11.16.41.40 just ahead of their fellow countryman Aleksander Golofit with pigeon “Birdie” on 11.16 41.45

As always highlighting the first UK pigeon today Team Scotland came out on top as William Donachie claimed the honours with his pigeon “Little Miss Zwols” in 15th place.

 

WILLIAM DONACHIE IST UK RACE DAY 2 ,15th international
WILLIAM DONACHIE IST UK RACE DAY 2 ,15th international

As you can see its was a close finish for the main batch of pigeons a with such good trapping positions were gained or lost on third decimals as within just the first two minutes of the first arrival over 200 + pigeons were on the clock, as batch after batch arrived it was clear to see the condition of the pigeons as they arrived which are a credit to the team and as such the Arona 2nd training race indicated that by nightfall 2,368 entries had homed and with a further two the following morning turning in it was once again a high returns rate of 98.46% to go into the next training race on Saturday morning .

Sat 9th Dec and the 2,368 pigeons that have safely returned from race 2 were re-basketed and heading off once again this time to a distance of approx 10 klm, with it being the weekend we saw more fanciers logging into the livestream and this year we see a larger number also watching via the social media sites as the races were linked live into them for added transparency and enjoyment, on the island the weather was again holding with temperatures  in the early 20`s as Jose announced that the pigeons were airborne at 10,30 am into a 20 klm south westerly wind and sunny blue skies.

Team Anita & Tage Gravesen
Team Anita & Tage Gravesen

Looking at the official result it’s shows that eastern Europe dominated the result today as, once again ahead of the field, were Team Denmark who have hit the road running with two 1sts from 3 races to date, taking the top spot today were team and regular annual participants Helle & Jens Pedersen moved who moved up from a previous 6th place to take 1st International, with their pigeon named “Cucky” on 10.44.36.39, the 2017 winning syndicate and recipient of the 120,000 euro prize Team Leyen-Paloma-Segers Racing from Belgium take the 2nd position with pigeon “LPS 17-21” just two seconds behind on 10.44.39.25,  3rd position was claimed by Team Volmer & Wilpers from Germany with their entry “Gaston” 10.44.41.60, from Turkey with have Team Mehmet-Fatih Donder and pigeon “Meryhem” timed in at 10.44.42.35 for 4th, a second arrival from Belgium takes 5th with Team Red Devils Racing Syn pigeon “Lars” on 10.44.43.60, in 6th its Víctor Manuel Gómez Rodríguez and his pigeon “Ginny” from Galicia with a time of 10.44.43.75 . for 7th & 8th positions we go to Poland for two of their entries as Team Andrzej Jankowski and pigeon “Yuri” records 10.44.44.10 narrowly ahead of Team Morel and “Marciano” with a time of 10.44.44.50 we have a local entry in 9th place as Team Farallon from Gran Canaria comes in with pigeon “Barry” at 10.44.44.70 and to finalise today’s top ten Team Denmark, Team Anita & Tage Gravesen keep up their top ten place this time with entry “Rambo Junior” on 10.44.44.71

Team Leyen-Paloma-Segers Racing
Team Leyen-Paloma-Segers Racing

Team UK`s first arrival today comes from Wales as Rasbull lofts take the 1st UK and 22nd International with “Rasbul 83” coming in 10.44.48.75, once again after witnessing the way these pigeons are coming and now trapping without hesitation, we still encountered a small number away by nightfall as 99.02% were safely locked away for the night, but we are always hopeful that these after experiencing a night out of the loft will come in the following morning.

 

team rasbull lofts 1st uk 22nd international race 3
team rasbull lofts 1st uk 22nd international race 3

Once again the Arona team are pleased and I’m sure you are as competitors and interested parties, with the pigeons and what they are learning in these early races as when they return now they’re trapping well in advance of the same period last year when it took a while for them to realise what was required by them on their return. It’s possible the early loft control and pigeon management implemented this year by the Arona team during the breaking in period, where after their daily exercise they were brought in and fed on entry, could well be paying off.

As we approach the half way stages of the pre selection programme with three form 5 training races overcome, by the time this goes to press training races from 15 and 20 klm would have been flown, implementing  the owners activation stage this is where you!! as the entrant have the unique opportunity of activating your reserve pigeons prior to the 21st Dec cut off period after which they will become available to anyone wishing to pay the 220 euro which means they then take over your pigeon and become  part of the Arona 2017/18 race,

so owners when thinking about activation there’s a few things to consider first of all, unlike other one loft races, the Arona don’t ask you to pay up front for all your pigeons on entry  which could go a miss during the early stages, at the Arona One Loft Race. You only pay the 220 euro activation fee for pigeons which are still in the loft and have been successfully settled and broken to the lofts and new surroundings, experienced  months of loft exercise and would have completed no fewer than 5 pre selection training races. so the team and YOUR  pigeons have done their job by getting to this  stage,

It now comes down to you the fancier to show your faith and ability of your pigeons by activating them for the forthcoming big money/car hotspot races and big prizes at the end of the campaign in March. To activate your reserve pigeon/s it’s a one off payment of 220 euro per pigeon which keeps the pigeon within your team and therefore any financial rewards gained throughout the racing remains with you, remember your loss could potentially mean someone else’s gain if they go to third party activation from December 21st through to January 7th .

If you require any further information or assistance regarding owners activation, then please contact your local coordinator who will be pleased to offer advice and assistance in such matters or contact the loft team all contact details are available at www.derbyatlantic.com

Tom Harris