Derby Arona, by Silvio Mattachione


Jose is successful in many different fields of human endeavor. Beautiful music, beautiful design and beautiful racing pigeons what more could you wish to achieve? Well it would seem that Ledesma is always looking for a challenge.

Most men would never have considered attempting to organize a one loft race let alone bring it to International attention and of all places on an Island in the middle of the Atlantic

If anyone had ever run such a scheme by me I would certainly have accused the originator of such an incredible idea of being “a few notes short of a symphony!”Yet tphotosilvioinloftlarge1his is exactly what Jose Ledesma did! He successfully created the “Ultimate Challenge” he brought the “Ultimate One Loft Race” into existence regardless of all of the negative pontifications the “nay sayers”. There is no one loft race in the world that can lay claim to being the “Ultimate Challenge” that is not up until Ledesma created “DERBY ARONA”.

“Derby Arona” has within a brief five years established itself as a “World Class” sporting event

The marriage of an ancient activity (the racing of pigeons) with the 21st Century technology of the internet allows fanciers from all over the world and all walks of life to showcase to the entire world their prowess as breeders of the ultimate animal athletes. Reputations can be made overnight if you have both the courage to participate and the horsepower or more appropriately the “pigeon power” to establish a world class performance. I can assure my readers that this race is not for the faint of heart, your pigeons must be exceptional in every way or you will indeed be wasting your time.

image002This race is for the realist, the brutally honest fancier who believes in the superiority of his stock and is willing to challenge the “Atlantic Ocean” and all that, that entails. This race is not for whiners or believers in affirmative action, this race is for the professional seeking to pit his breeding prowess against the fury of the seas.

You will be racing against the very best endurance pigeons in the world for the Fame & Price

I think, it would be an understatement if I were to say that racing pigeons instinctively do not like to fly over large bodies of open water. In Taiwan as well as many other Island Nations like The Canary Islands many fanciers value a racing pigeon solely on its ability to fly over the ocean.


Therefore they seek out and greatly value racing pigeons that can fly over an unforgiving open ocean! Let’s be very clear here, not all racing pigeons have the requisite qualities to be able to do so.

These flights are dangerous, grueling and can and be deadly

Risking flights over the open ocean requires the ultimate in terms of a pigeon’s ability to orient, its physical performance, its endurance, its courage and its iron will to return to its home. So what is my sudden fascination with water, when most friends of mine know that I cannot swim a stroke? I am fascinated because it never fails to amaze me that the birds that we keep can have so much courage, so much raw power, so much strength, so much endurance, so much determination and such a love for home that nothing, not even a deadly ocean would stop them from trying to get to their homes.


Yet it seems that the Canary Islands (officially a part of Spain) has a large, extremely dedicated racing pigeon fanciers community as well as racing pigeons that face these incredible challenges every race day. Just imagine the oceans, totally unpredictable, deadly calm one minute and gigantic 10 storey waves and winds the next. Water, fog gale force winds, peregrine falcons and add to all of this a distance of near to 300 kilometers and you certainly have a recipe for the “most extreme one loft race in the world”. The “Ultimate Challenge” This then is the background for the Derby Arona which (and I believe rightly) bills itself as “The Most Extreme One Loft Race in The World”!

Till this happens we can only sit on the sidelines and watch as the Europeans and others take up the challenge

There are a number of long established highly successful and fully subscribed “One Loft Races” in the world today. The two that have the longest and most successful track records and pay out the largest prize money are “Sun City Million” in South Africa and “Derby Arona” in Tenerife, Canary Islands. Only the very best racing pigeons bred should be sent to Derby Arona. The entire training takes place via huge ocean going ferries very similar to the one represented in the photo below. The releases are videoed so as to have a permanent record of not only the release but the conditions at the time of the release.


The birds are well trained and given every opportunity to perform at the very best of their abilities. The flights are not easy but the youngsters must come to know and understand the conditions that will confront them. Below you can see the giant wake left behind the ocean ferry. There is no room for error here. The 2020/21 Derby Arona attracted participants from +30 countries a virtual “who’s who” of the racing pigeon world worldwide.

A United NationJosé Ledesmas of racing pigeon fanciers descended upon Tenerife to enjoy the hospitality of this tropical paradise and hopefully also emerge victorious in the ultimate challenge that is Derby Arona. With the emergence of the One Loft Races worldwide the sport of racing pigeons rose to a new level. Racing pigeons in exotic destinations for large prize money what a great excuse for a family holiday! Tenerife is an incredible holiday destination for the entire family. A favourite destination for visitors from all over Europe and clearly you can see why! – Europeans have an ongoing opportunity to support a world class event, that is professionally operated at the very highest level with complete transparency built into every facet and where the birds receive incredible care and attention to detail is paramount.

Jose Ledesma the virtuoso composer has created his greatest “Opus” for racing pigeon fanciers of the world and it is called “Derby Arona!” I leave you with one image and this image is what our sport is ultimately all about. The face of victory. We all love our pigeons and we all love to win and this shot tells it all.