It’s race day 8 for the Derby Arona Tenerife One Loft Race and whilst the weather in northern Europe have been averaging just above freezing and grey overcast skies, on the sunset island of Tenerife it’s once again a moderate 22 degrees and broken blue skies, as 2,558 + pigeons were once again basketed for their latest adventure from a distance of 35 klm to the loft location in Guaza with the livestream once again attracting more visitors on each training race as more and more fanciers are becoming interested in such a challenging race series, we once again sat and awaited news and confirmation on the liberation time which was being relayed via the Arona Team at the loft, it was shortly after 10.40 news came through informing us that the strings were cut and the pigeons were airborne at 10.30 into a light north easterly breeze and broken cloud accompanied by a moderate temperature of around 23 degrees which was rising steadily as we awaited the sighting of pigeons around the lofts.
It was just prior to 11am and after taking advantage of the tail wind that a large batch was seen circling above the loft and once they had landed they swiftly entered the trap to register their return, the result took a short while to configure the trapping order after which the top honour was announced as the Romanian entry “Emy” for Team Liviu & Ana Covasa taking pole position at 10.59.58.75, the winner is a slightly pencilled blue hen which over the previous training races had up until now maintained mid table positions however on this occasion timed in to clearly win race eight for 2nd and 3rd we have to Dutch entries. The first of the two taking in 2nd place being pigeon “Skipes” for Team John Rimmelzwaan at 11.00.01.10, holding off fellow countryman and regular competitor Hok M. Reijnen’s entry “Sarka Montana” 11.00.01.65, into 3rd
John Rimmelswaan & Hok M. Reijnen 2nd and 3rd International for Team Netherlands.
Team Poland takes the 4th position with pigeon “Royal Duchess” entered by Tomasz Wiczling timing in at 11.00.02.75, in 5th place it’s the local Gran Canarian partnership of Daniel and Papi with pigeon “Harry 555” on 11.00.06.40 whilst 6th position went to the first UK and Ireland fancier David Hinkel who yet again times in amongst the leading birds with pigeon named “Batman” on 11.00.06.55
Narrowly in front of Team Poland with their second arrival this time it was Team Robert Majchrzak and pigeon “Andys Baby” on the clock and taking 7th at 11.00.07.60, for 8th place it was Team Romania once again with Team Mihai Adrian & Ana recording their pigeon “Soldatu” on 11.00.07.70, in 9th position it’s Team Tenerife and Carlos Guanche Campos pigeon “Balto” at 11.00.08.38 and finally in 10th position it’s the father and son partnership of Jacky and Jelle Creemers from Belgium as pigeon named “Black & White” makes it arrival on 11.00.08.45 as it’s clear to see by both the livestream video of the race and the times on the clock the leading pigeons made light work of the flight home and in just a minute of the first pigeon recorded on the clock there was a further 180 also recorded, with the vast majority of the pigeons home within no time there were a few adrift however as the day went on these were arriving at steady pace and by nightfall 2441 of the initial entry of 2,558 entered were home and rested, with 140 pigeon unaccounted by dark it was an early morning the Arona Team as they kept a visual on the loft in anticipation of early morning returns and from 07.38 when the first arrival named “Reno” for Team Ladicky I + J was witnessed entering the loft and more pleasingly by 3pm the returns were up to 2488 and a percentage rate of 97.26% race 8 with the next race planned for Friday 20th from a distance of 40klm the Arona Team had planned to postpone the liberation for 24 hours to allow the race to screened live at the Blackpool show in the UK, but unfortunately on checking the weekend forecast there was a slight uncertainty on the weather conditions for the said weekend resulting in the Arona Team making the decision to keep the advertised date as the safely and welfare of the pigeons at the lofts was once again the main priority over any publicity plans for the future of the Derby Arona so it’s Friday morning and as we headed north on a four hour journey to Blackpool for the show, Gaynor was monitoring the livestream on route and awaiting news of the liberation from the north of the Güimar Valley which to date im told would be the most testing and demanding training race the pigeons have had to overcome as they would need to make their way through the Valley which runs from north to south of Tenerife and a distance of 40 klm.
With a liberation at 10.30am, into a light 19klm north easterly wind with broken sunshine, it wasn’t until 11.20 that the first pigeons were seen arriving and upon trapping, after fifty or so minutes on the wing the winner was eventually announced which produced a remarkable double performance as once again the pigeon named “Wise Lady” for the Italian Syndicate of Giuseppe Patti our race 7 winner had timed in and registered it’s second major win against such large bird age with a time of 188.8.131.52, in 2nd position it’s Team Germany and entrant Thomas Wegner pigeon “Mottimo” timed in at 11.22.02.45, in 3rd it’s Rumania and Syndicate Paul Popovici pigeon “Hunter” at 184.108.40.206
We head back to Germany for fourth position as Team Edgar Peters entry “Tahiel” timed in at 11.24.48.05, with 5th going to team Scotland and William Donachie recording the first UK/Ireland pigeon with “Fran-Dabi-Dozi” on 11.25.08.20, the Czech Republic takes the 6th spot as “Bovo” for Team Klemens made it’s arrival at 220.127.116.11 as 7th position goes to another German Syndicate with the German champions Germany pigeon “Atlantic 1031” on 18.104.22.168 for 8th it’s a first arrival for Team Netherlands as team Twin Brothers Gelderland pigeon 22.214.171.124, for 9th we go to eastern Europe and Team Stanislaw Para representing Poland with pigeon “Linux” at 126.96.36.199 and to round today’s race off in 10th position it’s Team Victory Lofts Malta with “Victory Andre” on a time of 188.8.131.52
So once again the fitness of the pigeons over the past weeks of training has paid dividend as without such a lot of the birds would of struggled to overcome such a terrain of the Güimar Valley and mountains and the threats that it holds, that the pigeons faced on their journey south, at the close of race there were 2,299 pigeons home and a returns percentage of 2,486 sent, so with a returns rate of 92.47% there were obviously a fair few away unfortunately by nightfall, however all this vigorous training is essential to prepare the pigeons for the future training races as we take on bigger challenges over the next few weeks on the water and cross island flights, so distances have to be increased on each race to ensure the pigeons take in as much island knowledge and fitness as possible which will benefit them in the long term.
As for the Blackpool show it was pleasing that no sooner that the doors opened and on being in such an ideal position we were visited by many new and familiar faces over the weekend at the stand and with many fanciers taking an interest and enquiring about the race in general and costings there is a prospect of not only this year entrants once again supporting the race, but many new participants pledging to come on board also this year, which should… if all goes well boost the UK/Ireland team considerably, so thank you to everyone who took time out of their weekend to drop in and chat.
With just two island training races remaining from distance of 50 and 60 klm, the water races will soon be upon us and this is where with the inclusion of the hot spot races the pigeons with a brave heart and courage that take on the challenge of crossing from one island to another may well be one of the three lucky winners that will walk away with a new car for their owners, you may think that this is a little premature, however it may also be time for fanciers to consider this year final race on the 24th march weather permitting, at present some hotels in the Playa de Las Americas area are already showing signs of being full to capacity so if you are intending on joining us for the final race our advise would be to act now… and come along and experience the Arona Dream.