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It’s that time of year that  we prepare to take on the Ultimate Challenge in the Atlantic ocean The Derby Arona Tenerife one loft race, and at this current time with  the first of two shipments from the UK and Ireland dispatched and informed that they have arrived safe and well in the lofts, we are pleased to say contained 20%  increase in number of pigeons from our 2016 first shipment and the second batch of entries not due to go out until around the second week of Sept it gives us the opportunity informing the fancy of what the race entails.

The island

Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands and sits in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of North Africa and enjoys eternal sunshine throughout the twelve months of the year which is one of the reasons that makes this beautiful island such a hotspot for millions of tourists every year and an idyllic place to race pigeons, aided by all year round warm climate

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The island is volcanic and has been naturally sculpted over time by several eruptions, the last being in the early 20th century and hosts the highest of the Spanish mountains in the form of mount Teide which is dominant from all angles of Tenerife and surrounding islands. It has a great mix of rugged terrain, dramatic landscapes and a sub-tropical climate with temperatures averaging 20°C – 22°C in the winter months and 26°C – 28°C in the summer.

The lofts 

The lofts themselves are situated in the southern region of the island in the small residential area known as Guaza, between Reina Sofia airport and the well populated holiday resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas, which is ideal to accommodate not only holidaymakers but fanciers who make the regular journey to the island and  take up the opportunity of making the short journey to visit the lofts and view the pigeons during their stay on the island.

The Arona one lofts are managed by the Ledesma family with the founder Jose Ledesma fronting the organization, whilst Gladys Ledesma takes on the tasking role of the  administrative side of things and throughout the year during training and racing the  loft management, welfare of the pigeons  and convoying  is controlled by Jose and Abel Ledesma.

Mike Murray
Mike Murray
James and Vicky cook Tumley lofts UK
James and Vicky cook Tumley lofts UK

The Ledesma family created this event back in 2005 with small numbers entering at first but over the years the reputation and extreme race factors of the team and conditions has resulted in the race currently being amongst one of the most, profiled one loft races in the world, with a European record payout in the 2017 final race prize of 120,000 euro for 1st place and an additional three car / Hotspot races, to establish such a reputation the Arona team work on 100 % transparency policy for the benefit of their competitors, this is imposed from the time of entering and throughout the campaign and is endorsed by the hospitality and openness  shown to fanciers when they visit the lofts, a visit to the loft and to meeting the Ledesma family not only offers visitors the opportunity of viewing the lofts and birds housed, but the team also enjoy taking time out to meet both current and new participants in the race and  illustrate how the race operates, it’s all part of the openness of the organisation.

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The new extension of the Arona lofts

Of course to maintain the high level of professionalism the team are assisted by  a well established team of  coordinators who act on their  behalf  by gathering pigeons and assisting fanciers from their respective countries by arranging the shipping of their entries etc to the island for entry into the race, as we head into the 2017/18 race series the Arona team are proud of their past record and are duly  being rewarded by more countries taking an interest and wishing to send pigeons to this year’s race series with the latest coming on board being Australia, Mexico,  India, Portugal and Canada to name a few which pushes the number of countries to well in excess of fifty competing for the top honour in one loft racing

 

Cool Carrot Syn
Cool Carrot Syn
Selwyn Abraham
Selwyn Abraham
Andy Harper from Gloucester
Andy Harper from Gloucester

The organisation never promotes itself as being the best  or greatest one loft race, in the world for obvious reasons as all one loft races have to overcome their own challenges, regardless of  which  country they are located in, but the Derby Arona one loft race do claim to be undisputed the hardest in the world, solely due to the geographical position of the island, the constant temperatures hardly ever falling below 20 degrees and the vast area that the pigeons have to cover, of course we must not forget the challenge imposed by the island to island crossings across the open Atlantic ocean.

 

With the doors being open for entry from the 1st may until October the team welcome a constant flow of pigeons arriving on a weekly basis, from all corners of the globe, once in the newly extended lofts, which can now house 4,000+ pigeons in comfort, the arrivals are left to settle for a few weeks under netted conditions, this gives the new inmates the opportunity of being able to leave and enter the lofts at their own free will and take in their new surrounding on top of the lofts without being able to flying off, it is then and only when the team are happy that the pigeons have accustomed to the area that they are released with the pigeons already exercising.

John May from Swindon
John May from Swindon

During the past months the Arona team have made the effort to take this race to the pigeon fraternity via the many shows around the world promoting all aspects of the race but as in all one loft races there’s not unprecedented promises as the Derby Arona Tenerife race is a unique race in itself as its flown from island to island and on times at mid seas from the rear of a vessel heading out over open waters in preparation for the forthcoming hotspot races in the later weeks, its these races  that duly tests the pigeons  homing ability and to overcome their fear factor to their maximum as they are now required to leave land below and head out over open waters to return back to the loft,  in the UK, myself and Chris Sutton who we all know is respected for his continuous work within the pigeon fraternity, have taken on the role of arranging the shipments of  the UK and Irish entries to the race and pride ourselves in offering the personal and professional touch of shipping the UK/Ireland pigeons ourselves on the first leg of the journey to Holland, in preparation for their onward flight down to Tenerife and by offering your entries this service it ensure that these babies placed in our care have adequate  food and water and reduce the stress level therefore arriving in perfect health, with such a successful past two years in the race by UK fanciers claiming many major prizes including 2nd (team Well Wag UNC headed by the late Fred McCluskey) and 3rd (Mark Gilbert) in the 2016 final added to that success in 2017 Pieter Oberholster and Fev Flyers which is made up by  the Leach bros and Steve Bannister proudly taking two of the three car hotspot races major prizes, this has result in interest being  increased here in the UK over the past weeks and months in regards to this year’s race.

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It was during the past  promotional campaign, we have gathered added interest from some highly profiled and established pigeon outlets who serve the pigeon fancy these, have already committed and have sent their entries in shipment one, to name a few the well known Tumley lofts stud down in Exeter headed by James and Vicky Cook signed up and sent out a team of five pigeons on the first shipment also from the north east there’s Mike Murray from the well established pigeon products outlet Murray & Mills who have also entered this year’s race with two teams (10) also sending for the first time is a familiar face for those who have been in the sport for many years, Steve Marsh and Ray Blower from Doncaster who are well known for publishing the pigeon video’s, as a joint syndicate have already sent out three teams in shipment one and have already pledged more for shipment two, of course whilst it’s good to see such highly  profiled  names and entrants which makes the race attractive to the eye, we must not forget the small back garden flyers who participate each year and there has also been new influx in participation from this sector, as it’s these people who make the race, sending  teams as an added interest during the long winter months, to keep everyone informed and up to date with what’s happening in and around the loft and during training and racing there’s an up to date website that gives out daily news and also offers live links to the loft  on training and racing days  via the Arona livestream, this facility not only enables everyone to monitor each of the training and major  money races from the comfort of their home but actually shows the arrivals and positions gain as it happens…

 

Steve Marsh and Ray Blower
Steve Marsh and Ray Blower

From the UK we have one more shipment scheduled for the second week of Sept and with the first shipment up by 20% on last year we are once again hopeful that the UK and Ireland will  again have a strong competitive team to challenge for the prizes on offer  .

Training starts on the island at the end of November and with an improved training programme scheduled for the forthcoming year we look forward to the competition and  the build up to the hotspot races and of course the big finale towards the end of March.

Hopefully this report has given you a little insight to the Derby Arona one loft race and for those who have already sent and those sending in Sept… We wish you good luck,

for Chris and myself were here to assist you in all aspects of the race to the best of our knowledge, but at the end of the day we all send what we regard as our best to compete but it’s solely down to the pigeons and their ability to return, so to be the best you have to compete and beat the best and this is provided in The Derby Arona Tenerife one loft race “THE HARDEST ONE LOFT RACE IN THE WORLD”

www.derbyatlantic.com

Tom Harris

 

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