” 120.000 “
“Simply the best”
400+ brave and courageous pigeons over 25 races with a combined distance of 1500 klm over land and sea compete for this year European record winner’s prize of 120,000 Euro
So here we are at the penultimate race of the year and the Semi Final from the island of Fuerteventura, since early December twice a week the entries have overcome various stages of training including short island flights mid Atlantic and island to island racing over the open Atlantic ocean to reach the lofts in the south of Tenerife, but now were at the ultimate test for the entries in the form of a double island flight from Fuerteventura to Tenerife taking in, the liberation on the western coastline of the island flying out in the direction of Gran Canaria and after crossing over the short land span they again head over the second leg of their water crossing to Tenerife.
With 630 birds safely basketed they made the drive north on Monday afternoon to the port of Santa Cruz where they boarded the crossing to the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria, after disembarking they then made the island crossing from west to east to meet up with the second Atlantic sailing to Fuerteventura and the steady drive south to Morro Jable the liberation site for the Semi Final with the pigeons nicely settled on site around midday Tuesday they were watered and fed and left, overnight looking out overseas in preparation for the planned liberation on Wednesday morning day break on the island of Fuerteventura, soon came and with it with the rising of the warm Canary sun which soon burnt off any lingering early morning mist… Abel Ledesma and his trusted travelling companion Jose Gregorio have done a sterling job in the loft management and convoying duties throughout the campaign on our behalf and the Arona race once again.
At the planned time of 08.15 in a light north westerly breeze and clear blue skies the strings were cut and the pigeons were airborne and circling above in a number of batches orienting their direction for home, after a few minutes and whilst everything was packed away in preparation for the long drive home the team reported the largest batch of pigeons were disappearing into the horizon heading home and on departing no other pigeons were visible within the vicinity which was pleasing to hear from a participants perspective .
At the Guaza lofts in south Tenerife the Arona Team welcomed a few fanciers who were holidays and early arrivals for the Final Race participants from around the world to join them in the wait for the pigeons as they returned, whilst on the internet things were getting really busy as over three hundred fanciers on the lofts livestream and social media outlets were also sat looking in anticipation of see the first birds coming into focus and see who would be the Third Hotspot/Car Race winner of 2018. With estimated times in and around 2 hours 45 min plus being the favoured time by most
As the estimated time slowly came and past everything went a little quiet as participants nervously kept a watchful eye on their screen knowing that anytime soon pigeons were to appear and they weren’t to be disappointed as just over the three hour mark a batch of approx 30 + pigeons appeared over the loft roof racing for home.
Taking 1st International and prestigious winner of Car Race 3 was team Turkey with entrant Ahmet Cavdar and pigeon named “KILIC” beat the rest over the line on a time of 188.8.131.52 after 3 hours 5 min flying time and therefore winning the major prize in today race, for 2nd and the 1,000 euro prize we stay in eastern Europe as team Poland and pigeon “Nofretete” for Team Lukasz Sprycha trapped on 184.108.40.206, in 3rd position and winning 500 euro and a lion’s share of the 4,000 euro nominations was team UK & Ireland as pigeon named ”Just the Job” for Team Murray and Mills representing England entered the trap on 11.19.42 20, for 4th we head to Austria as Team Garcia and Nagelhofer`s pigeon “Pluto 2274”, came in on 220.127.116.11, Team Greg from Slovakia takes the 5th spot with one of his entries “Greg 343” on a time of 18.104.22.168 just ahead of the second arrival for team Poland and Team Tomasz Wiczling with pigeon “Last Chance”, on 22.214.171.124 in 6th team Germany take the 7th position with Team Aa. Perle entry “Wardend Mags” 126.96.36.199, hot on his eels were fellow countrymen Team Volmer & Wilpers also representing Germany take 8th position with pigeon “Gagarin” on a time of 188.8.131.52, team Czech Republic take 9th with Team Rottovi Wendy & Frantisek and pigeon “Jednicka” with 11.19.49.05 and again in amongst the leaders are Team Alp Race from Switzerland rounding off the leader board as their pigeon “Cosmo 61”, 184.108.40.206.
With the majority of the first batch safely within the confines of the loft, over the next fifteen minutes or so there was 100 plus pigeons home and timed in, as they continued to come in small batches which was pleasing as they have now secured there place in the forthcoming final.
During the afternoon more and more pigeons came through and as night fell in the canarian skies on day one 369 game and brave pigeons had overcome the biggest obstacle to date, twice flying over the Atlantic.
As day two opened and the prospect of even more pigeons making the crossing from 8:30 more pigeons worked in during the morning and afternoon, but what was more pleasing to see was most fanciers timing in at least one arrival from their team to keep them in the race and on course for the ultimate goal in the final…
With a final figure of 401 pigeons home by the close of day 2 giving a 62% returns rate as we sit and type this report we see on day 3 more pigeons arriving and registering on the clock which only goes to show, whilst the difficulty in the race is a paramount factor it’s clear to see the fitness and health of these gallant pigeons is again pushing them on, to return to the lofts.
The averages… and with one race to go in the King of Spring competition which cover all races from day one to the present, there seems to be a clear leader as team Team Evin Peter & Noemi and pigeon “Rachel 409” whom seem to have dominated over the past weeks remains in pole position with 55556 pts, in 2nd with 53467 pts we have team Austria and Garcia and Nagelhofer with pigeon “Venus 2271” and in 3rd is team Netherlands, Team Goedee and pigeon “Boss Ego” has climbed into the top flight with 52607 pts.
In the second average campaign where averages are accumulated within the Hotspot Races, Team Garcia and Nagelhofer from Austria are leading with pigeon “Venus 2271” currently the King of Atlantic after 4 races with 28745 pts just ahead of team Netherlands and Team Van den Berg and “General Smurf” with 28585 and in 3rd it’s Team Volmer & Wilpers from Germany with pigeon “Gagarin” and 28235 so with one race left it cannot get any closer to see who will be crowned next week as “King of the Atlantic”
With twice as many pigeons now in this year final compared to last year it goes to show the additional training programme implemented by the team this year has surely paid off and with that we must congratulate those fanciers and pigeons that have overcome the past 25 races to get to final stage of the race… no one ever said this was easy, but to get to the Final is an achievement to compete and complete the final race is an honour in its own but to be one of the 400+ pigeons after 25 races completing 1500 klm over land and sea completed is unmistakingly “The Hardest Race in the World”
So that’s it as we all prepare to head off to warmer climates the Arona Team welcomes fanciers from all around the world for the Final Race and an atmosphere matched by no other as fanciers and organiser reflect on the past months of training and racing, live basketing will take place on Wednesday 21st March when you the fancier will be given the opportunity to be reunited with your pigeon/s prior to marking a procedure which takes many hours to complete after such the pigeons will depart under the guard of an independent security firm who will accompany the pigeons throughout the transport to the liberation site in Fuerteventura and carry out the cutting of the basket seals prior to release this ensures the 100% transparency and trust and protects the reputation of the race from the start to finish.
The gala evening packed with local entertainment from there we have the welcome evening hosted by the Ledesma family at a top canarian restaurant serving traditional canarian menus at a cost of 30 euro per person including return transport to and from the Zentral Hotel, of course following this we wake up to finals day and hopefully the weather will be kind and we can get the birds away early, again free transport is organised for your convenience to the loft from the Zentral Hotel in time to settle in and await the first arrivals and congratulate the winners, all this year proceedings will come to a close on the Saturday night as we join together to congratulate the winners from the Hotspot Races and the Final Race at the Gala evening at the Marenostrum Resort in Playa de Las Américas when we will be accompanied with the traditional menu buffet to suit all tastes and nationalities and of course the entertainment which will take us into the early hours
The 2018/19 season will be underway shortly after the final race when the doors open for entries early April through to October so to be part of the hardest One Loft Races in the world… with an 100 % track record for honesty and information contact your local country coordinator for costing and shipping dates.
This of course will be my final report for the current year apart from the final weeks events so a big thank you to everyone for your support during the past weeks and the continuous support and trust of Team Arona for giving me the opportunity to highlight the highs and lows of each race as it happened.
So all that remains for myself and Gaynor now accompanied by many local fanciers is to head off to Tenerife for the Final Race, also once again it appears by popular demand the local Hotspot for fanciers in the build up to the race during the evenings, will again be the popular chieftain (Irish) bar in Playa de Las Américas… so to all travelling… as they say SEE YOU THERE!!