Team Leyen-Segers-Paloma Racing from Belgium
Win the ultimate one loft race prize in Europe 120,000
Its mid march and many fanciers from around the world were on route to the island of Tenerife for the final of the derby ARONA one loft race series 2016/17 which is due to take place on fri 24th march.
For myself and Gaynor we arrived few days before the race and welcomed many uk fanciers to the resort, whilst the majority were previous competitors there was also quite a few newcomers in their first year of competing, who had travelled to witness such an event on a worldwide scale and soak up the atmosphere.
During the first few days the weather was the traditional sunny clear blue skies and average temperatures of around 22 to 25 degrees however more cloudy weather was set to move in over the coming days as the race drew closer.
With the ARONA team studying the weather conditions in the days leading up to the advertised race date, everything seemed fine to confirm public basketing would go ahead as planned on the Wednesday morning, so it was an early start as we made our way to the loft for a 0900 to witness the process, as ring numbers where announced each pigeon and entrant were reunited for the first time since they entered the loft at various stages during 2016, fanciers present had this unique opportunity of examining the pigeons prior to being basked with many complementing the ARONA team on the condition of the pigeons..of course with so many fanciers present this process took a few hours to complete, and for those unfortunate not to be at the loft, they also had the same opportunity of seeing there pigeon via the live stream facility before going through the marking process, the process included each pigeon was marked via ets, rings covered and the unique wing stamp applied before going into the crates, as you could imagine this was along process as each individual pigeon and fancier was given the same opportunity to be examined.
After a long five hours and with all the birds race marked under the watchful eye of those present the ARONA team under public view disposed of the wing stamp that each entry would be carrying as part of the verification process as fanciers present were invited to come forward to sign off the basketing list for the 2017 derby ARONA one loft race.
Whilst all this was going on, the crates containing the pigeons were sealed with security seals and numbers of such taken, then the ARONA team formally handed over the baskets to an independent security firm who would remain with the pigeons throughout the next forty eight hours and throughout their onward journey to the liberation site in the south of Fuerteventura. With the congregation more than happy with the procedures they had just witnessed.. Everyone happily made their way back to their hotels and resorts to await the liberation day.
With the entries departing Tenerife on Wednesday evening and after an uneventful overnight journey the pigeons arrived on site mid day Thursday and where they were fed and water in anticipation of the scheduled liberation the following morning, under the control of Abel Ledesma who had responsibility to care and ensured the conditions were right for the final time this year.
Thursday evening and once again the ledesma family and ARONA organisation welcomed, all fanciers to join them at a top canarian restaurant, to welcome them not only to the island of Tenerife but to the 2017 derby ARONA final, as sixty five or so fanciers where picked up and transported the short journey to the restaurant the family were already present to welcome everyone to the venue, and after being seated we were presented with a traditional canarian menu which if i counted right consisted of no fewer than eight courses during the evening, before departing a few hours later jose ledesma thanked everyone for their attendance on the welcome evening and wished everyone the best of luck in the race.
Friday morning and after a few cloudy days in the canaries, the weather on Fuerteventura on the day of liberation showed clear blue skies above and a light north by north easterly wind stretching out over the Atlantic towards Gran Canaria island indicating that once again the team had done their home work to provide the best possible day for such a highly profiled event.
With the final checks under the scrutiny and approval of the security guard indicating that everything was in order on site in regards to the pigeons in their care and nothing untoward had occurred regarding the security of the race, he then assisted the ARONA team to cut the seals and release the pigeons were at 08.30..following the liberation we received news via jose at the loft that on release the pigeons had orientated well and had cleared the liberation site on line for home.
Back in Tenerife at such time as things were happening two islands away to the east, we to were experiencing the same weather conditions as team GB met prior to departing for the lofts for a pre race breakfast and like most fanciers that morning undoubtedly the conversation around the table was, of course the high hopes and excitement that was building amongst competitors as to who would claim the biggest one loft race prize in Europe of 120,000 euro.
At roughly 09.30 we made the short journey from Playa de Las Americas to Guaza, and once again on our arrival at the loft, we were welcomed by the ARONA team, and informed that their expectations were high for a good race based on the information they had received, once again it was clearly noticed that the warm hospitality was again in place with the complimentary food and drink once again available during the day and again we were joined by the film crew broadcasting live to the Spanish TV as they prepared to capture every moment during the day and show history in the making in regards to the prizes on offer.
Over the next few hours, the weather seemed to take a turn for the worse, as dark clouds appeared overhead, but fortunately for us dressed for the summer any prospects of any light rain didn’t materialise, and the temperatures remained in the mid twenties, as everyone present settled down for the first sightings of pigeons, once again guess the time was circulating and most were prepared to take on a 5 euro stake as to who would guess the nearest time the winning pigeon crossed the line to claim top spot.
With the drinks and food going down a treat !! It wasn’t long before the first whistles could be heard as around twenty pigeons or so were spotted approaching from the bottom of the road heading straight for us, and with a short twist and turn the first two pitched the landing board and roof above the traps to be joined seconds later by the remainder of the bunch. As silence was adhered to and whistles of encouragement pierced the air these winning pigeons entered the loft just ahead of the second batch of arrivals that were pointed out circling high in the clouds, as we awaited news of the winner and other positions to be announced, to show 100% transparency throughout all this the ARONA team like everyone else waited patiently amongst the crowds for the digital screen to announce the winners they do this during the race to show that the only encouragement given to the pigeons to enter the loft is via the whistle that is used on a daily basis implementing that the pigeons start and finish the race under their own speed with no human intervention applied, resulting that the first pigeon to cross the line is the a true winner.
As everyone waited for a few seconds for the computer to generate the final positions, which seemed like a lifetime for some participating in the race, the eventual winner of the 2017 derby ARONA Tenerife one loft race was announced and for the second time in three years screams of joy could be heard from the belgium gathering as Team Leyen-Segers-Paloma Racing from Belgium with pigeon “Martha 3” claimed the ultimate prize of 120,000 euros with a winning time of 22.214.171.124 to the delight of the syndicate and fellow Belgium fanciers, with cameras directed at them and everyone wanting to be the first to congratulate them on their performance i think it took a while for reality to sink in however there joy was clearly seen in their faces and shared by everyone present.
In 2nd place and rewarded with the second major cash prize of 25,000e were team gregg from Slovakia as pigeon named gregg 1234, crossed the pad to record its arrival on 126.96.36.199, less than a second behind the winner, but of course was amongst the first to congratulate the winner in true sportsmanship, for the third prize and the cash sum of 15,000e we go to team germany as pigeon snowman 5 entered by Günter Schneemann finished with a time of 11.27.07.47, with the three major prizes claimed within the first two seconds there was still plenty to fight for in the next few positions, Team Bacskai Sandor-Kellner Andrea complete a successful year in 4th place with pigeon istike and the prize for such being 10,000 euro, just ahead of team Netherlands as pigeon named karin came in for Team Borger pigeons in 5th position and credited its owners with 6,000 euro prize money on 188.8.131.52, for 6th place and the 5,000 euro prize money we go outside Europe to china as participant Team Haiye Bai Fuqing with pigeon nikon timed in at 184.108.40.206.for 7th position we return to the winning country as Team Batenburg- v.d. Merwe / PEC (pipa elite) recorded their entry Derby Laureaat 375 on 220.127.116.11and the 3,000 euro prize, in 8th and 2,000 euro we head to team Italy as team Dumitru Danci`s pigeon bianca timed in at 18.104.22.168, whilst team Greg this time representing team Poland timed in his second arrival as pigeon Greg 919 came in 9th to add an additional 1,000e to his prize cheque on 22.214.171.124 and finally in 10th position we remain in eastern Europe this time with team Czech republic and an entrant who has flown a consistent pigeon in past campaigns Lubomir Kubacek recording his pigeon shalie to claim 900e.
As you can clearly see by the times the pigeons came high and fast as many more were amongst the leading bunches and when timing in there were only seconds between them and the winning pigeons however this is a pigeon race and the time is recorded once over the line but was so pleasing to see for the benefit of the race was within three minutes 67 pigeons were recorded on the clock and as the day wore on more and more were timed in to the delight of everyone present so congratulations to everyone in the top ten this year and everyone with pigeons timed in the race that can claim to have completed and conquered the “Hardest Race in The World”, as mid afternoon approached, and more arrivals were recorded the leading pigeons where brought forward so that everyone could view the pigeons shortly after their arrival, this also gave the ARONA team the opportunity of searching amongst them for the winning pigeon, so that all security checks could be carried out as to verifying the wing stamp and ring number in front of everyone once again showing no relaxation in transparency even at this late stage of the race.
In past years this race has been noted for being the hardest race due to lack of returns on the day due to the conditions and elements of open waters the pigeons have to overcome not only in the final race but in races leading up to such, however the team have since improved the returns percentage over recent years and have come across a winning formula to overcome the course to everyone’s delight, we must congratulate the ARONA team for providing such a worldwide spectacular and enjoyable pigeon race as 143 brave and courageous pigeons from the 179 entered were safely home by nightfall and by the close of race a respectable 87% returns ratio had homed.
As for team uk /ireland after a successful hotspot challenge winning two cars, hopes were high for the final as a nation the first pigeon to trap was for Deneside Lofts with pigeon Deneside ace timing in 24th place on a time of 126.96.36.199 just seconds behind the leading pigeons.
And everyone was invited to attend the gala evening at the prestigious mare nostrum hotel in the central of playa Las Americas to congratulate the winners of all races and present them with their rewards, as everyone waited patiently outside the venue the ledesma family were once again the ultimate hosts as they welcomed everyone in turn to the evening, as all the women received a red rose on entry which is always is a nice personal touch by the organisers.
With everyone shown to their places, the evening opened with a hot and cold three course buffet meal consisting of a menu to suit all tastes and nationalities which certainly went down well with everyone present.
Positions were taken to read out and reward the winners as they came forward in turn to the stage to receive their traditional glass prizes for the leading positions taken in each of the Hotspot races and final race additionally to this every pigeon in the final race that returned and leading positions in the hotspot races were also reward with a presentation diploma with the formal one due to be sent out to them in future weeks once fully completed and printed for completing the programme in addition, the first ten winning pigeons /fanciers in the final race, each received the traditional 18c gold pigeon ring on the night as a personal memento to mark their achievement with all the race winners rewarded it was time for the average winners to be called forward to be presented with their trophies in turn.
In regards to such trophies the ace pigeon award, the main one of course for the best average from start to finish competing in all the races against an initial starting number of 3,037 pigeons, the winners trophy goes to pigeon les paul and fancier Alois Wiefler from Austria with an average of 72,488 points accumulated, and a cash sum of 5,000 euro, in 2nd place its our final race winner Martha 3 for Team Leyen-Segers-Paloma Racing belgium with 72.007,and 3rd goes to team Croatia and Team Stojak-Jenjic with pigeon picolo fiore with 70.203pts.
As for the new race introduced this year “The King of the Atlantic” which covers the three hotspot races and the final race with a cash reward of 1,000 euro this was claimed by last years winner Beniamin Neag with his entry Herro on 44,080pts 2nd was team Germany and Team BBKB Racing with 43.840 pts and 3rd Team Bacskai Sandor-Kellner Andrea from Hungary with pigeon istike on 43.710pts
There was also the knockout competition which has been running during the latter stages of the programme which was again won by the final race winners Team Leyen-Segers-Paloma Racing with Martha 3.
And finally there was the three bird averages award running again this year and this was dominated by last years winner Beniamin Neag.
So that’s it for another year, I’m sure you’ll agree that in whole it’s been another roller coaster of a year in regards to the racing in general, and as always there was highs and lows during the past months something that makes this race so unique to the many one loft races around the world, the organisers however have never claimed that the race is easy or the biggest or the greatest race in the world because the race speaks for itself however they do lay claim to being the “Hardest” due to the geographical position of the island and the terrain the pigeons have to overcome to return home however they do their utmost to ensure the best possible racing possible but unfortunately Tenerife is a small island in the Atlantic ocean and to achieve any distance and create the ultimate challenge then the pigeons need to be transported overseas to neighbouring islands a route that presents the biggest fear in pigeon racing having to overcome miles of open waters to return home.
Before signing off for another year, without doubt we must congratulate the ledesma family for providing one of the most profiled and enjoyable one loft race in the world, which has been watched on live stream on various occasions by record numbers and consists of a following on social media sites unmatched by any one loft race during 2017, so to Jose, Gladys, Abel and the Ledesma Family and the lads who help out on a daily basis around the lofts..from fanciers everywhere we thank you for your commitment and look forward to rejoining you in 2017/18
As for myself this report puts closure on another years write-ups and reports, i hope its been as enjoyable for you the readers and winners to see your names and photographs published in various weekly magazines and social media websites as its been for me writing on behalf of the derby ARONA Tenerife one loft race organisation, a big thank you also to the British Homing World, the racing pigeon Elimar Pigeon sites in the UK and various websites around the world that has assisted me in profiling such results and information and the race in general over the past months. If all goes well i hope to be back next year, and hope we can rely on your support during the next campaign.
Finally as one door closes another one opens, as the derby ARONA Tenerife will soon be open for this years in take of ybs in the improved extended loft now capable of housing approx 4,200 in comfort, for transport dates and any enquiries regarding sending to the race this year a full list of coordinators from many countries around the world is available on the website who are standing by willing to help you or alternatively, contact the ARONA team at www.derbyatlantic.com who will put you in touch with the nearest shipping agent to you
So on behalf of the derby ARONA team, country co-ordinators and of course myself and everyone else involved in the race, we thank you for your participation and hope to see you all back here in the coming year.
“Every ones a winner”