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TEAM P.K LOFTS (WALES)

“WINNERS OF THE DERBY ARONA FINAL 2018”

It’s the third week of march as all flights and fanciers head to the warm sunny canarian island of Tenerife for the “Derby ARONA one loft race ” final race planned for Friday march 23rd. With so fanciers already present within the resort of play de Las Américas and adjoining resorts we were greeted by a strong U.K. representation and many fanciers from around the world all hoping to be crowned the winner of the Derby ARONA final 2018. The week got underway with the traditional live basketing on Wednesday 21st when a large crowd had gathered at the Guaza lofts from early morning to witness the daunting task being undertaken by the Arona team to individually race mark and wing stamp each pigeon under the watchful eye of those present and fanciers from around the world witnessing the event via live stream, as each ring number was scanned and announced for those fanciers present it gave them the opportunity of entering the basketing compartment to handle and see their entries which they handed over to the Derby ARONA management team throughout 2017 and have since successfully overcome the past 25 island, sea and cross Atlantic races to reach the final.

Live basketing underway.

As you can imagine to mark all 400+ entries this a job that took a long seven hours until such time the team formally announced a completed basketing list of 408 entries for this years final race, with the final basket sealed and placed under constant guard provided by an outside source until departure, the Arona team traditionally asked for signatures on the basketing list from those present to clarify that proceeding had been carried out to their satisfaction, followed by the cutting up ceremony of this years unique entry wing stamp also done under the watchful eye of all present, once again showing the transparency of the race as everyone made their departure happy and contented in what they had witnessed over the past hours.

Basketing day under the watchful eye of all present waiting to handle their entry

With the birds safely on their way under constant guard to the race point that evening to the north of the island to the port of Santa Cruz for the early morning sailing to Gran Canaria and the forward journey to fuerteventura Abel ledesma once again kept us all updated with regular information throughout the journey taking in live video footage of landmarks along the way to indicate his progress, prior to reaching the liberation site around midday Thursday. With the birds safely resting on site the Arona team once again invited everyone along to the welcome dinner which was again being held at a top local canarian restaurant and with an additional bus provided this year due to the increased volume of fanciers present the ledesma family and Derby ARONA team opened proceedings by welcoming everyone to the island of Tenerife and the Derby ARONA final race for 2018, with many courses of traditional canarian cuisine served and drinks flowing the evening came to a close as the family wished everyone the best of luck and thank everyone for their attendance. Race day and as the atmosphere and expectations was at its greatest team gb once again met for finals day breakfast prior to departing for the lofts once the liberation had been confirmed as 09:00 into a light north easterly wind and clear blue skies and temperature rising to a moderate mid twenties, a fleet of taxis ferried us all to the lofts.

Team Belgium fanciers awaiting arrivals.

On arrival we could clearly see that a large number of fanciers were already present as it gave everyone the opportunity to meet and greet old and new friends from many countries represented, with the large screen in place and cameras picking up on every movement in and around the loft and local area operated by the live TV film crew fanciers were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and highlight the enjoyment of being part of such a great race by an outstanding pigeon family headed by jose, Gladys and Abel Ledesma. With the complimentary food consisting of freshly cooked paella and hog roast being served and drinks flowing you could feel the anticipation and excitement in the air as the time of arrivals slowly approaching and the prospect of pigeons was imminent you could feel the anticipation and excitement building in the air as all eyes were searching for the first birds, everything did go quiet on one occasion as Jose blew. And as everyone jumped to their feet, in laughter he commented. “Just Practicing”.

With more fanciers arriving over the following hour or so and the clock approaching the three hour mark again the whistle was blown but on this occasion with spotters on the house overlooking the loft indicating the sighting of the first birds heading for the loft.

Without circling and any hesitation a small batch of eleven pigeon came over the top of the adjacent houses and swiftly hit the trap and to the delight of everyone, went straight into the trap. As everyone sat patiently and with the second batch arriving, there was an all mighty cheer from the U.K. congregation and all present as the winner and champion was announced as wales. Team P. K. Lofts. Name Harry 385, and winner of Europe’s biggest prize of 120. 000 Euro, with a time of 11. 58. 07. 55 as the celebrations started in the gb corner, I had the pleasure of phoning the winning syndicate to inform and congratulate them on their success, to the disbelief at first to what i was telling them. They struggled unsuccessfully to hold in their emotions on the other end of the call, so we gave them i few minutes to take it in before calling back to repeat the news , in 2nd place just three seconds behind were the partnership of Garcia and Nagelhofer from Austria with pigeon Pluto 2274 timing in on 11.58.10.45 and as well as collecting the 2nd prize of 20,000 Euro but also secured the King of the Atlantic averages with another of their entries venus 2271, in 3rd and 10,000 euro richer we stay in eastern Europe as team Team Ifj Ferge Miklós Jr. From Hungary who has flown a consistent pigeon during this years campaign being in amongst the leaders on many occasions with his entry zsanci coming in on 11.58.10.70, for 4th and 5th we go to Belgium as Team Buyl and Howells held off the challenge for 4th with their pigeon blue lagoon taking 5,000 euro on 11. 58.11.30 just ahead of Filip de Smedt and pigeon Favourite 215, on 11.58.12.50, Team Krajcik Daniel & Andrea from Slovakia take 6th place with pigeon drejka coming in on 11.58.13.60 whilst in 7th we have Team Poland and syndicate Dariusz Skawinski with pigeon Brahms, on 11.58.13.90, Team Klein Falckenborg from the Netherlands had continued success with pigeon Canary-2 arriving on 11.58.14.60, to round up today’s leaders leading birds team Belgium take the 9th and 10th positions with Team Diamond Ladies and pigeon Princess on 11.58.15.30, narrowly ahead of team Breese Pigeons Friends and pigeon Lise on 11.58.15.40. With a short break in the arrivals the Derby ARONA team entered the loft to carry out the verification process and confirm and present the winning pigeon to all present to clarify the ring number and show the approved wing stamp which was applied on basketing, and with all necessary checks completed and in the absence of team P.K. Lofts, the winning pigeon was handed to myself and the welsh contingent present to hold aloft in celebration the winning pigeon on behalf of the winning welsh syndicate.

Team U.K./Ireland and winning nation Team Wales

As the day went on everyone sat chatting and reflecting on the race and patiently waiting for further arrivals we also welcomed each and every pigeon home which had made the journey across the Atlantic ocean and completed the Derby ARONA 2018 final, the hardest race in the world.

The moment that captures the excitement when the winners were declared.

By mid afternoon, and with in excess of 250 entries safely home from the 408 liberated most had said their goodbyes and expressed their congratulations to team Derby ARONA on another successful race and made their way back to their resorts and hotels for the evening.

However for team GB the party was still going strong in celebrations, as it was confirmed the winning partnership were on route from the U.K. to be present at Saturday nights gala presentation. Saturday, and with the winners touching down in Tenerife, we could now look forward to the gala evening that evening, at the mare nostrum hotel in Playa Las Americas, once again on our arrival at the venue, the Ledesma family were all gathered at the entrance to welcome each and every guest upon their arrival and with the presentation of a red rose to the women as they entered we went and took our seats for the start of proceeding.

The successful Ledesma family waiting to greet guests at the gala evening.

With background music quietly playing, the buffet style menu was declared open as everyone went forward to help themselves to a spread consisting of hot and cold cuisine that would satisfy every nationality with plenty of it to go around expertly presented and served by the hotel catering staff.

Following the meal, the stage was set as the Ledesma family welcomed everyone to the night to thank everyone for the participation and support in the race and congratulate the winners of not only the hotspot races and final but all who were present that had completed the final race who were award with certificates of merit for their achievements, with the later presented it was time to present he trophy winners as each in turn were read out and came forward to receive their glassware, in HotSpot race one team Schnellin from Germany took 1st followed by Team Greg from Slovakia in 2nd and team alp race in 3rd from Switzerland, in HotSpot Race 2 Team Paul Smith from England took the major prize in 1st followed by team Krajcik Daniel & Andrea from Slovakia in 2nd and Paul-Heinz wes Johann from Germany in 3rd. In the semi final race from fuerteventura Ahmet Cavdar from Turkey won the first prize, Lukasz Sprycha from Poland took the runner up award and 3rd went to Team Murray and Mills from England, with all the race glassware and gold rings for the top ten pigeons in the final presented, going on behind the scenes there were other challenges taking place these were the three bird challenges from each of the three hotspot races as each team receives a Trophy and 500 euro prize Team Greg took the honours in hotspot one, Hot Spot-2: Slovakia Team Krajcik Daniel & Andrea and Hot Spot-3: Hungary Team Bacskai Dandor & Kellner Andrea.

Team Krajcik Daniel & Andrea

Then there was also the Knockout Competition which also run on a percentage basis where pigeons had to return in the top 40, 30 and 20 % of arrivals upto the semi final and therefore the first pigeon remaining in the knock out also receives 1, 000 this was won by the winning Pigeon Harry 385 for team PK Lofts Wales.

Team Garcia and Nagelhofer Austria.

There was also a prize for the winner of the HotSpot ace pigeon this was awarded to pigeon Marie-Julie Team Breese pigeons Friends from Belgium.

As for the overall averages there were two competitions running the first was the “King of Sprint Challenge” for the overall average from the first race to the final covering 26 races from 3 km to 300 km approx calculating to approx 2000+ km and the Winner of such award went to Team Evin Peter & Noemi, with pigeon rachel 409 with 68596 Pts, runner up were Austria’s Team Garcia & Nagelhofer with pigeon Venus 2271 with 68087 and 3rd Team Silny J & l from Slovakia with pigeon finish on 66691.

Team Murray and Mills 3rd hotspot semi final.
Team Evin Peter & Noemi.

Also from the Hotspot races and the final race their was the King of the Atlantic averages which was dominated by the eastern Europe countries of Austria and Denmark as Team Garcia & Nagelhofer finished the year off in fine style claiming the Top Position with Venus 2271 accumulating 43365 over the five races followed by two entries for Team Anita & Tage Gravesen in 2nd and 3rd with pigeons, Ted Superman on 41860 and Silver Daughter on 41720.

It then came the time to present the winners of the Derby ARONA final 2018 in reverse order in 3rd Team Ifj Ferge Miklós jr. From Hungary, 2nd and runner up Team Garcia & Nagelhofer from Austria.

Team Bacskai Sandor & Kellner Andrea Hungary.
Team Paul Smith Syn 1st HotSpot /Car Race 2

And then with the Welsh National Anthem playing the whole congregation stood to welcome and applaud the champions of 2018 team P. K. lofts Peter Goodright and Simon Hillburgh as they made an emotional way through the crowds to the stage to be presented with one of the highest awards in one loft racing in Europe and the prize of 120,000 Euro.

The Derby ARONA winners P. K. Lofts (winners) and the winning pigeon verification Harry 385.

Following on from the race awards the Derby ARONA team went on to thank the many coordinators from around the world for all their hard work and dedication they put into not only shipping the entries but liaising within their respective countries with entrants in the Derby ARONA race. And promotional work, without such the race wouldn’t be so successful and popular around the world. With all the presentations completed it was entertainment time. As the drums and whistles rang out around the venue with the arrival of the Carnival band which again went down well especially for those attending for their first time, and with the live group keeping the music going until the early hours the night and 2017/18 Derby ARONA race finally came to a close.

In the days that followed i was asked by the winning syndicate if i would accompany them to the Arona lofts to formally meet the ledesma family (Arona Team) and for the first time since handing over their entry hold the winning pigeon Harry 385, that had know become a world wide name in the pigeon world.

Germany Team Volmer & Wilpers.

So that is it another great year within the Derby ARONA Tenerife one loft race, and as always I’ve had the pleasure to report and relay to a worldwide audience via several internet and weekly magazines the delights, enjoyment, and sometimes disappointments of fanciers from around the world. But ! That’s pigeon racing I guess. For myself as i finish for another years scribing. I would like to thank Jose and Gladys Ledesma for giving me the pleasure of reporting on such a worldwide platform for fanciers around the world and congratulate them on another, outstanding event also to Abel and his Transport Crew for the Loft Management and convoying duties they carry out on a daily basis behind the scenes on behalf of the race and fanciers who enter.

The Derby ARONA team and all concerned. Wish to congratulate all the winners, and participants for their trust in the race and hope to see you all again in the next episode of Atlantic Challenges within “The Derby ARONA Tenerife One Loft Race “The Hardest Race in the World”.

(Footnote reminder)

Doors open for entries from April till October and with the first shipment of pigeons already on route form the USA and Canada, we are looking on a bumper number of entries this year. A team of 5 pigeons for 220 euro (1 paid 4 reserves) contact your country coordinator for future shipping dates a list can be found on the website at www.Derbyatlantic.com

Tom Harris

www.derbyatlantic.com