After the recent excitement of Car Race One and congratulations to Team Schnellin from Germany with pigeon named “Daddy” taking the first of three Hotspot Race Car prizes, the Arona team have kept up with the race plan schedule that they implemented from the start by staging a short island exercise training race from the small residential village of Fasnia, a distance of approx 35 klm to the lofts in Guaza positioned between the familiar resorts of Los Cristianos – Playa de Las Américas and the southern Tenerife airport of Reina Sofia with the 750+ pigeons that overcome their fear of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in the previous Car Race again basketed, Abel Ledesma who as loft manager and conveyor and must be noted, has done an impeccable job in maintaining both the health and fitness of the pigeons under his control was again on site by mid morning and after allowing for the pigeons to settle for a short while he cut the strings and got them away at 11 am in a very light northerly breeze with temperatures maintaining a moderate 25 degrees.
Once again on livestream there were plenty of interested parties logged via the Arona website and with social media viewers the numbers soon increased to well in excess of 150 from all corners of the world.
Considering the training these pigeons have undergone it wasn’t surprising to hear that shortly after liberation the pigeons were away and clear of the area albeit in two batches, with one group taking a direct route south, the second took more of a wider line but could be seen to be slowly making their way homewards.
It was just short of thirty minutes flying time that the first birds were seen on approach and as they hit the landing board and made their way in the eventual winner of Race 18 was recorded once again as team Germany with Team klaas &
Son taking the spoils with pigeon “Ichabod” taking 1st place with a time of 22.214.171.124, for 2nd we stay in Central Europe as team Belgium and Team Geusens and pigeon “Super Star” came in on 126.96.36.199, Team Krajcik Daniel & Andrea from Slovakia came in at 3rd with their entry “Despacito” team UK & Ireland take 4th with Paul Smith representing England recording one of his entries “Pauls Ambition” on 11.29.01.10 just a few seconds ahead of the second arrival for team Germany as Team Zumdiek and pigeon “Howling Dew” in 5th recording 11.29.04.50, Team Florin Scutaru from
Romania are taking another top flight position as their pigeon “Aru” takes the 6th place on 11.29.09.50, its team Scotland in 7th as William Donachie and pigeon “Basher” came in on 188.8.131.52 in 8th we have the Czech Republic fancier Roman Zlicar and pigeon “Rio” on 184.108.40.206 as Team IFJ Ferge Miklos Jr. from Hungary who’s team of entries have made yet another appearance for him in the Top Ten as pigeon “Zsanci” came in 9th on a time of 220.127.116.11 finalising the leading pigeons for today in 10th we see the Netherlands Team Soepboer and pigeon “Xoaring” on 18.104.22.168
With the first half of the arrivals all timed in apart from a few keen to stay out and control the landing board driving and chasing pigeons as they pitched we were aware that the second batch which were reported to have left the liberation site a few minutes behind the first birds, weren’t going to be too long arriving so we again kept a watchful eye on the local vicinity via the live cameras, for these pigeons to come and right on cue just a short time behind, here they came racing over the loft to the delight of all watching, clearly no worse for we are considering they had taken the more scenic route home after undergoing the previous training of two Sea Races and an Atlantic crossing we knew they were experienced and fit to cover such a short distance with no problems but you can never take things for granted over such a rugged terrain and like in all races long or short you can’t settle until you know your entries are home safely… With all the arrivals timed in there still seemed to be a small number adrift however by nightfall and with a constant flow of arrivals during the remainder of the day the numbers were more pleasing as just a small number were unaccounted for by nightfall and with such the team were confident they would rectified there route and come the following morning.,
Day 2 and with more pigeons coming in, in the early hours whether it was the fact they had taken the wrong route or in fact they had been victims of a hawk attack we will never know but fortunately when the clock was turned off on day 2 just two pigeons were left unaccounted for as the returns rate recorded 99.73%
After such a successful training flight a few days earlier they made the decision to return to the island of Gran Canaria for an additional training flight from the same location as the previous Car Race One, an option that they have within their powers as per the race plan as additional training if they believe it would benefit the pigeons going forward to the remaining Hotspot races and Final Race from Fuerteventura, so with the birds travelling north to port of Santa Cruz mid afternoon on Saturday and after an uneventful sailing across to Gran Canaria, the convoy were once again on site by early evening with the water applied and the sun going down we all settled down for the prospect of an early liberation on Sunday morning.
Sunday morning and again with everyone set and a clear line of flight out across the Atlantic towards Tenerife, Abel Ledesma once again on site with the birds he was happy to go at 08.30 into a 23klm helping tailwind as temperatures increased to 21 degrees, as always with local fanciers on site to watch the liberation on release the birds upon liberation once again hugged the coastline for a while and occasionally going so far out then returning to the safety of land beneath this procedure went on a few times until the birds broke into two or three batches and whilst one bunch took the courage to head across the mighty Atlantic Ocean for home the remaining birds that anticipated their adventure out to sea returned once again until finally a few minutes later they also realized that the only way home was to follow suit and cover the water crossing.
At the lofts we all sat patiently waiting not knowing how the winds on the water would affect their crossing when a single pigeon arriving from nowhere and to the surprise of all including the Arona team at the loft, landed on the board and following a few seconds it made its way in to the loft, going on the time of the Car Race winner just days before, we all expected the announcement myself included, that it would be a turn up from a previous race but to all our surprise and with no further birds in sight the result showed that in fact it was an entry named “Barkin” from the race and therefore the winner of the Gran Canaria 2 training race for Team Karakurt Koroglu from Turkey with an arrival time of 09.17.06.95,
It was a further fifteen minutes from the first arrival and with no other pigeons visible until 09.33 that the first batch of around fifty pigeons were seen approaching, in the lead from these we have taking 2nd position is Guys Elite syndicate from the UK flying the English flag was pigeon dark destroyer timing in on 09.33.43.90, for 3rd we go to The Netherlands and Team Comb. van den Berg timed in a familiar pigeon in previous race “Generaal Smurf” 09.33.46.40, our Car Race 1 winner Team Schnellin from Germany timed in another of their entries for 4th place today as pigeon “Jameson” came in on 09.33.48.60 holding off in 5th the team Poland pigeon named “Daughter Bonte Florizone”, for Dariusz Skawinski on the clock at 09.33.48.95, Team Tanase & Paul from Romania welcomed their entry “Rolexx” back onto the leaders board as they took 6th with a time of 09.33.50.20, as a second pigeon for team Germany takes 7th with Paul-Heinz Wesjohann`s pigeon “Napoleon” timed in at 09.33.51.55, for 8th we go back to The Netherlands and Team Soepboer are amongst the leaders again this time with pigeon “Xuald” on the clock at 09.33.51.60, by the narrowest of margins Team Alp Race syndicate from Switzerland came in at 9th with pigeon “Margy” timing in on 09.33.51.61 whilst the 10th position goes to the Austrian entry “Alpha 3” for Alois Wiefler on 09.33.52.90
As you can see and if you’ve been following the race a few pigeons are now coming regularly in the leading pigeons as we head further into the Hotspot Races and as such this will if it continues have an impact on the averages, at present after 19 flights Team Alp Racing and pigeon “Beepovitch” are holding the lead with 35365 pts in 2nd it’s Team Evin Peter & Noemi and “Rachel 409” from Slovakia with 35229pts, followed by fellow country competitors in 3rd Team Silny J & L with pigeon “Finist” on 34448pts.
In the next few days we will be heading back to Gran Canaria for Car Race 2 a distance of approx 130+klm this liberation will be from the eastern side of the island and will of course mean the pigeons will now have to fly the width of Gran Canaria island before coming over the waters they have already covered on route home so were hopeful, with a good result from there this will put the pigeons in the right mind for the double island jump from Fuerteventura to Gran Canaria then onward to Tenerife covering two stages of water in the semi final and final races.
Finals week and once again the Arona team welcome everyone to the loft and with the final approaching for those who as yet who have not already committed… it’s time to consider your options on attending the race and meeting the many fanciers from around the world, and experiencing all that the Derby Arona race offers first is the open basketing day planned for “Wednesday 21st March”, the Welcome evening when the Ledesma family/Arona team welcome everyone to the island and the race, the evening before the planned liberation, of course being at the loft on the day of the race is the experience when fanciers with pigeons in the race face nervous times waiting to see who will walk away with not only the ultimate 120,000 euro for 1st but the 2nd and 3rd prizes of 20,000 and 10,000 euro… of course it’s not about the winners it about being present to witness and wait the arrival of their entry in whichever position it has achieved, as every pigeon which comes is congratulated for completing the course in the Derby Arona One Loft Race “The Hardest One Loft Race in the World” also in attendance on the day at the lofts will be the live Spanish TV crew who will again be documenting all the activities throughout the day.
The year comes to an end as we all come together on the Saturday night at the Marenostrum Resort to witness the presentation of the winners with a buffet style menu served to suit every nationality and every taste and entertainment provided in the form of the traditional canarian carnival band “Los Joroperos” and “The Maquinaria” band which will take us into the early hours.
All these dates and activities are depending on the weather of course… which the Arona team will keep us updated on during the week via the website at www.derbyatlantic.com
The Arona team have already guaranteed the prize of 120,000 for the next event as more countries are confirming shipments from 1st April through till October.
For team UK we will again be shipping to Tenerife around the second week of June and September… the costs a team of 5 pigeons including transport is £350.00 (based on a rate of 1.10) and will cover 1 paid entry and 4 reserves, unlike most one loft races at the Derby Arona we don’t ask or expect you to pay for each pigeon as they go into the loft, your reserve pigeons can be activated during December after they have overcome approx 6 months of orientation around the loft and a min. of 5 training races, meaning you don’t pay for lost pigeons prior to activation you only pay for pigeons remaining in the loft that will then go forward to challenge for the next record breaking European race prize of 120,000 euro (£110.000 sterling approx) all confirmed dates will appear in the fancy press closer to the day.