FINAL Race report by Tom Harris




 1st derby arona Tenerife final race beniamin neag Austria 50,000 euro

 2nd derby arona Tenerife final race team well wag uk u/Ireland 25,000 euro

 3rd derby arona Tenerife one loft race mark gilbert uk/Ireland 20,000 euro

The winner of the derby Arona Tenerife one loft race Beniamin Neag Austria

Its early march and for us and many fanciers around the world all thoughts and expectations are on the forthcoming final race in the derby arona tenerife one loft race from feurtaventura which was scheduled to take place between 14th and 19th march

As we touched down on sat 12th we were informed that the arona team had studied the forthcoming weather forecasts for the following week, and after close inspection decided on fri 19th as the best conditions to stage the race which implemented basketing on wed 17th

With the bags off loaded at the hotel we made our way to the scheduled meeting piont the chieftain bar in playa las americas to meet up with fellow fanciers as in previous years to join in the excitement and expectations about the forthcoming basketing and final race events

On monday morning and i was able to take advantage of arranging a visit to the arona lofts with other uk fanciers to introduce two friends and new particiants in 2016 ,who were here for the first time and to introduce them to the ledesma family and the oppertunity of viewing the lofts and pigeons prior to the busy basketing day ,we didnt outstay our invitation on this occation as we could clearly see the team had a lot of work to carry out in preparation for the final race day ,but we did however witnesss the pigeons having thier final exercise around the loft ,before we departed

The condition of the pigeons can clearly be seen prior to basketing
The condition of the pigeons can clearly be seen prior to basketing

Wednesday morning and once again it was a short taxi ride to the guassa lofts at 08.30 for a 9am start of the live basketing procedure ,which for fanciers not in attendance was once again also showed live via the livestream , to give each fancier the oppertunity of viewing their entry prior to being place within the basket , additionaly for those present it also gave them the first oppertunity since entering their pigeons a chance to handle and admire the condition prior to be being basketed,as you could imagine this procedure went on for quite a few hours and it was at 4pm that finaly the last pigeon was marked to register a basketing list consisting of 490 entries all challenging for the top prize of 50,000 euros 1st prize,

On complition of such a daunting task ,fanciers present were then asked to sign off the basketing list and the unique wing stamp used to stamp the entries was dually cut up in front of everyone once again to show the transparency of the race .

Everything concerning the race basketing was handed over to an independent security firm
Everything concerning the race basketing was handed over to an independent security firm

With the baskets sealed and under continuous security that evening and throughout the journey ,the following morning the pigeons were loaded for the last time and under the control of able ledesma who had done a sterling job on liberating throughout the programme, they were once again north bound to the port of santa cruz for the ferry to the liberation site on the south east coast of Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura Island
Fuerteventura Island


The witnesses and owners at the basketing day
The witnesses and owners at the basketing day

The pigeons were reported to be on site at midday thursday when they were fed and watered and left to rest overnght ,that night back in tenerife the atmosphere was tence to say the least for the many fanciers who still had pigeons competing in the final race and taken the time to join us, as various expectations and predictions were once again being aired by experienced and new fanciers within the derby arona one loft race

Early friday morning i took the oppertunity of catching up with jose at the lofts to enquire to his estimated time of liberation based on the facts that throughout the week leading up to the race, the mornings had opened with thick haze across the atlantic due to continued high temperatures ,it was during such conversation we were informed that on site the reports were that the tem had reported good visibility on fuertaventura and throughout the line of flight and therefore prearations were being made to liberate the pigeons at 08.50 ,into clear blue skies and an helping north easterly breeze

As a result of the delay in the liberation ,the bus departed from the centrel hotel as planned at 09.30 , however the main core of uk and ireland fanciers took this additional time to meet up for a pre race breakfast, prior to making our way to guassa in a convoy of taxis to liase with fanciers already present

On our arrival at the loft we immeadietly noticed that the large screen was was again erected to show every angle of the surrounding areas and landing boards to ensure all activities and arrivals would be highlighted during the day , with livestream running to give those at home the oppertunity of taking in the atmosphere , , on our approach to the lofts where we were once again welcomed to the proceedings by jose , gladys and the ledesma family, and fellow fanciers both from the uk and around the world and whilst there were quite a few familiar face present there was also quite a few new faces present this year which was pleasing to see as the race was still attracting new interest ,with the meeting and greeting done we settled down for the day and wait for the returns in our familular location ,


With the catering staff arriving to supply everyone present with the traditional complementry food and drink there was once again plenty to go around throughout the day with the plenty of local beers and pieala once again going down well considering the temperatures was gradualy climbing to a moderate temeperature of 28 degrees during the morning

As the day went on we were publicly informed by jose that fanciers to the north easterly coast of tenerife had spotted a batch of pigeons heading in a southerly direction which could possibly be the leading batch and potential winning pigeons ,as everyone sat on edge in hope that the report were correct and arrivals wouldnt be far away .

It was just a few minutes before the three hour mark that an almighty cry was heard as locals screamed the words we patiently waited for …palomas!!!! (pigeons ) as a small number were seen heading up the street to the loft ,and after a short spin overhead followed by the sound of whistles these leading pigeons hit the landing board and entered the loft

Everyone awaits the result
Everyone awaits the result

With the frst birds within the confinds of the loft everyone took a step back to view the digital screen, as everyone fell silent to await the words that all the participants were waiting to see ” THE CHAMPION IS”,it may have been a few minutes before the result was announced but for some reason it seemed to take a lifetime, until finaly the winning pigeon was announced in first place and champion of the derby arona tenrife one loft race 2016 was team austria with pigeon lee ray entered by beniamin neag timing in at 10.45.36 the winning pigeon was a blue cock which over the past months had held mid table positions except for the occsational position within the top hundred in position 66th and 87th ,unfortunatley the winning owner wasnt present at the lofts when the birds arrived but no doubt enjoyed the moment when he would of recieved the text to inform them that their entry lee ray had recorded 1st position and winner of the derby arona tenerife one loft race 2016 and the grand prize of 50,000 euros

The winning pigeon lee ray
The winning pigeon lee ray

With just three seconds dividing the top three positions in 2nd place was a third party activation pigeon by regular competitiors team well wag up north combine headed by fred muclusky and friends representing team uk/ireland timing in at 10.45.37 ,the pigeon named w.w.mayguana is a dark cheq pied which was originaly entered by tean lorenzo van russel of the netherlands ,and after opting to let the pigeon to go to third party activation the well wag syndicate took over the ownership ,which was proved to be the best 220 euro they could ever spend as they collected the 2nd prize of 25,000 euro ,

In 3rd pace just two seconds behind the winner on 11.45.38 was a second arrival for team uk/ireland with the well known fancier mark gilberts entry southfield believe timing into collect the third prize of 20,000 euro ,this is marks first time in the race and on basketing mark was well represented with six of his initial entries remaining in the fianl race

Team well wag 2nd derby arona final 2016
Team well wag 2nd derby arona final 2016

In fourth place its pleasing to see team south africa amoungst the leading pigeons ,its the first year this nation have been represented ,as team josh and dean and their entry brock eveels timing in on and 15.000 euro ,in 5th was team florea sorin from rumania with pigeon noah and 10,000 euro just ahead of a second arrival for the winner beniamin neag who takes his second share of the prize money with a further 5,000 euro with pigeon graphic design ,7th place with 4,000 euro was the first arrival for team germany with team ladys germany entry alexandra xxx registering an arrival time of just ahead of another german entry and moon foal for team team express with not only collecting 3,000 euros for 8th position but also went on to claim the first knockout pigeon recieveing a further 5,000 euro with a time of,team czech republic register in 9th position with pigeon karlos for team karl klemens on and 2,000 euro and roundong off the fnal top ten were team Dionisio and Pandiella with pigeon trufa at

Mr and Mrs mark gilbert 3rd derby arona 2016
Mr and Mrs mark gilbert 3rd derby arona 2016

So that was the final race top ten as they arrived and the leading prizemonies allocated ,however what was pleasing to see for the many fanciers present, was pigeons were still arriving throughout the afternoon. Which was pleasing as everyone applouded each and every arrival. Which was a tribute not only to the participant and pigeons that had face the extreme challenge of crossing the atlantic ocean for the final time in such extreme temperatures , but to the arona team who had worked so hard throughout the campaign to get so many pigeons through to the final race and home within a reasonable time , with the prizemonies going down to the first 300 pigeons most of the arrivals will benfit finacialy for there efforts

Top 25 winning pigeons

1st austria MC1957 / Lee Ray Beniamin Neag 1 11:45:36,20 1 02:55:36 VRV – Oberoesterreich

2nd england MC0949 /WW Mayaguana Team Well Wag (UNC) 1 11:45:37,60 1 02:55:38 Up North Combine

3rd england MC2974 / Southfeild Believer Mark Gilbert 1 11:45:38,00 1 02:55:38 RPRA (Pigeon Association)

4 south africa MC2489 / Brock Eveels Team Josch & Dean 1 11:45:40,00 1 02:55:40 South Africa Club

5 rumania MC4035 / Noah Team Florea Sorin 1 11:45:40,40 1 02:55:40 Romanía

6 austria MC1956 /Graphic Design Beniamin Neag 2 11:45:40,45 1 02:55:40 VRV – Oberoesterreich

7 germany MC3107 /ATLANTIC-XXX Team Ladys Germany 1 11:45:41,50 1 02:55:42 Club Saalfeld

8 germany MC3170 / Moon Foal Team Express 1 11:45:42,25 1 02:55:42 Coesfeld/Leiberg Club

9 czech republic MC0810 / Karlos Karel Klemens 1 11:45:42,65 1 02:55:43 Czech Republic Club

10 asturias MC0623 / Trufa Team Dionisio & Pandiella 1 11:45:42,66 1 02:55:43 R.C. Oviedo

11 netherlands MC1346 /R. Nelson Team Soepboer 1 11:45:43,70 1 02:55:44 Holland Pigeons Club

12 england MC2392 / Essex girl 2 Team Wilton & Son 1 11:45:50,05 1 02:55:50 RPRA (Pigeon Association)

13 germany MC0706 / White-eyed Fedoseev Vitalij 1 11:45:54,05 1 02:55:54 Club Harsewinkel

14 austria MC0788 / Chevelle Team Garcia & Nagelhofer 1 11:45:55,10 1 02:55:55 VRV – Oberoesterreich 15 england MC3456 / Rachael Team Casey & Rainbow 1 11:45:55,35 1 02:55:55 RPRA (Pigeon Association)

16 rumania MC2245 / Dany Team Pisla Daniel & Vintan George 1 11:45:59,00 1 02:55:59 Romanía

17 england MC1773 / Gold Nugget Team Paul Smith Syndicate 1 11:46:27,45 1 02:56:27 RPRA (Pigeon Association)

18 gran canaria MC1585 / Sand Mountain Team Félix Santiago – Aday Rguez 1 11:47:00,10 1 02:57:00

19 germany MC3294 /Brandt 600 Daniel Brandt 1 11:47:15,05 1 02:57:15 NRW Club

20 italia MC2691 / IT-052963 Baby Cisco Team RSR 1 11:48:57,00 1 02:58:57 Italia

21 austria MC0778 / Ramona Team Garcia & Nagelhofer 2 11:49:20,00 1 02:59:20 VRV – Oberoesterreich 22 rumania MC4311 / Invictus Team Class 1 11:49:27,35 1 02:59:27 Romanía

23 germany MC1091 / Rocky Team Klaas & Sohn 1 11:49:47,70 1 02:59:48 Club Rietberg

24 germany MC3125 / Legend of Heremans Team SG Eider 1 11:50:02,90 1 03:00:03 Club Oberfranken

25 germany MC0987 /Silvy Team Röhlig & Bukowski 1 11:50:13,45 1 03:00:13 Club Vogtland


It was shortly just after 3pm and with over 250 pigeons safely perched we were given the oppertunity of viewing the leading pigeons which were in a remarkable condition considering what they have just faced and with that we said our farewells and returned to the resort ,where the after party continued as everyone reflected on the winners the day and the race in general

Whist the result showed the race winners there was a few other campaigns going on within the final the frst being the hotspot ace pigeon award ,this is for pigeon which had flown consistant over the three hotspots and final race ,with the eventual winner this year being mike woodyard of highway lofts syndicate from ireland with their entry highway celtic spirit recording a winning average of 14460 and the 1,000 euro prize money ,in 2nd position were team holland and syndicate Team Van der Heide with pigeon sido on 13945 pts and in 3rd was team Fenyvesi Balazs & Norbert from hungary with their entry gold boy on 13915

Another competition going on behind the scenes was the international country challenge at it was the semi final car winning pigeon carmen dark which took 1st place for team europe top 10 timing in at 11.02.07 in 2nd was team express and moon foal in at 11.02.08 for team germany and 3rd was pacha for team poland for bogdan mlynarczyk at 11.02.10

So that just about rounds up the final race in general ,and after months of training and races won and averages claimed , it was now time to prepare for the forcthcoming presentation and gala evening on the saturday night at the mare nostrum venue in playa las americas

The opening speaches
The opening speaches

Saturday evening

And for the first time since our involvement in the arona race, myself and gaynor attended the presentation in the company of fellow uk/ireland fanciers ,once inside we swiftly aquired our seats, as the arona team opened the proceedings with the opening speaches by welcoming and thanking everyone for attending the evening ,to reward the winners of the derby arona one loft race

With the buffet declared open with complementry wines and beers freely flowing all in attendaence dualy made thier way to a fine spread of spanish and interntional quesine ,to suit all tastes ,and desires ,perfectly presented and served by the venues catering staff

With the tables cleared the arona team then performed thier final task of the 2015/16 series by presenting the awards to all ,the hotspot and final race winners ,each name and performance was read out as fanciers and syndicates made there way to the stage to recive thier rewards

Recieving rewards for hotspot one from the west coast of gran canaria were in 3rd place lubomir kubacek from the czech republic ,with pigeon tokio 2 ,the 2nd place award was presented to team mark buse and famly from germany with pigeon billy lees hope ,and the first position award was presented to team europe top ten with their entry unknown solidier winning the trophy for 1st place and of course the new car for the winning pigeon

Team Europe top ten double car winners 2016
Team Europe top ten double car winners 2016

For hot spot race two the liberation moved to a greater distance from the east of gran canaria in third place were team redlch and risse from germany with pigeon corra ,team malta and debono loft with pigeon matthias took the runner up position and award just behind the car winner from belgium filip de smedt who was presented with the winners trophy and the keys to the second car after the winning performance of his entry risque

For the semi final the pigeons had to overcome a double island jump from the island of fuertaventura when the hotspot and car race one winning syndicate team europe top 10 came out on top once again to claim their second major prize of a second new car with thier entry carmen dark ahead of the field ,the presentation for 2nd place went to team express and pigeon moon foal ,followed in third place by bogdan mlynarczyk and pacha, each in turn were presented with the well sort after derby arona trophy as a tribute to their achievements

Car race 2 winner fillip de smedt
Car race 2 winner fillip de smedt

It was now time to reward the final race winners and after sucessful race and finale to the series ,338 gallent pigeons had returned from the entry of 490 `,it was pleasing to see hat the final race winner beiamin neag and his good lady had travelled over to the island from austria to the loft to handle they winning pigeon and be present for the presentation ceremony for which they recieved a standing ovation from all present as they approached the stage to be awarded the winners trophy and the cheque for 50,000 euro prizemonies


,in 2nd position and the prize fund of 25,000 euro went to the uk/ireland syndicate team well wag(unc) headed by the regular competitor fred mclusky who sadly wasnt present on the evening ,but has since sent an email of thanks to everyone who have congratulated the syndicate on their success and a special mention to the arona team for their dedication and care in running of the race ,which can be viewed on the arona website .

For the presentation of the third prize fund it was unfortunate that whilst mark gilbert was present at the loft on the basketing and liberation day he had unfortunatley ,had already departed for home earlier on the saturday ,therefore paul smith dualy collected the awards on behalf of mark along with the 3rd prize cheque for 20,000 euro

Mike woodyard (highway lofts)hotspot ace pigeon winner 2016
Mike woodyard (highway lofts)hotspot ace pigeon winner 2016

Following the race presentation the arona derby organisers wished to thank all the country co ordinators from around the world who work hard throughout the year on behalf of the arona organisation and the ledesma family ,as each were dualy presented with a glass trophy to thank them for there endless work that goes into ensuring the safe passage of there exports to the lofts in tenerife

With that the light were lowered as the entertainment which included a typical canarian carnival band and singing group entertained the congregation well into the early hours


On behalf of the arona tenerife one loft race organisation this has brought to an end a very succesful 2016 race, and they wish to thank everyone for their support of the past years and welcome everyone back in 2016/17,


On behalf of the arona organisation we thank you for your participation and hope to see you all in 2016/17

(Jose Ledesma )

From myself ,this also puts a closure on my years reports ,i would like to pass on my thanks to everyone who has read the regular articles that i have had the pleasure of publishing on behalf of the arona one loft race ,and hopefuly ive managed to cover your successes over the past weeks and months

Remember …

As one door closes another opens as the tenerife one loft race organisaton ,will soon be welcoming entries for this years event .for all relevant information including country co ordinators and shipment dates pricing etc, visit the arona website at

Tom Harris