The Derby ARONA Tenerife One Loft Race
“The ultimate pigeon race over the Atlantic”
“Jose Ledesma the founder of the Derby ARONA Tenerife one loft race is successful in many different fields of human endeavour. Beautiful music, beautiful design and beautiful racing pigeons what more could you wish to achieve? Well it would seem that Jose, is always looking for a challenge”
Most men would never have considered attempting to organize a one loft race let alone bring it to International attention and of all places on an Island in the middle of the Atlantic.
If anyone had ever run such a scheme by me I would certainly have accused the originator of such an incredible idea of being “a few notes short of a symphony! “Yet this is exactly what Jose Ledesma did! He successfully created the “Ultimate Challenge” he brought the “Ultimate One Loft Race” into existence regardless of all of the negative pontifications the “nay sayers”. There is no one loft race in the world that can lay claim to being the “Ultimate Challenge” that is not up until Ledesma created “DERBY ARONA”.
“Derby ARONA” has within a brief 14 years established itself as a “World Class” sporting event.
The marriage of an ancient activity (the racing of pigeons) with the 21st Century technology of the internet allows fanciers from all over the world and all walks of life to showcase to the entire world their prowess as breeders of the ultimate animal athletes. Reputations can be made overnight if you have both the courage to participate and the horsepower or more appropriately the “pigeon power” to establish a world class performance. I can assure my readers that this race is not for the faint of heart, your pigeons must be exceptional in every way or you will indeed be wasting your time.
This race is for the realist, the brutally honest fancier who believes in the superiority of his stock and is willing to challenge the “Atlantic Ocean” and all that, that entails. This race is not for whiners or believers in affirmative action, this race is for the professional seeking to pit his breeding prowess against the fury of the seas.
You will be racing against the very best endurance pigeons in the world for the highest prize money in Europe.
I think, it would be an understatement if I were to say that racing pigeons instinctively do not like to fly over large bodies of open water. In Taiwan as well as many other Island Nations like The Canary Islands many fanciers value a racingpigeon solely on itsability to fly over the ocean.
Therefore, they seek out and greatly value racing pigeons that can fly over an unforgiving open ocean! Let’s be very clear here, not all racing pigeons have the requisite qualities to be able to do so.
These flights are dangerous.
Risking flights over the open ocean requires the ultimate in terms of a pigeon’s ability to orient, its physical performance, its endurance, its courage and its iron will to return to its home. So what is my sudden fascination with water, when most friends of mine know that I cannot swim a stroke? I am fascinated because it never fails to amaze me that the birds that we keep can have so much courage, so much raw power, so much strength, so much endurance, so much determination and such a love for home that nothing, not even a deadly ocean would stop them from trying to get to their homes.
Yet it seems that the Canary Islands (officially a part of Spain) has a large, extremely dedicated racing pigeon fanciers community as well as racing pigeons that face these incredible challenges every race day. Just imagine the oceans, totally unpredictable, deadly calm one minute and gigantic 10 storey waves and winds the next. Water, fog gale force winds, peregrine falcons and add to all of this a distance of near to 300 kilometres and you certainly have a recipe for the “most extreme one loft race in the world”. The “Ultimate Challenge” This then is the background for the Derby ARONA which (and I believe rightly) bills itself as “The Most Extreme One Loft Race in The World”
Till this happens we can only sit on the side-lines and watch as the Europeans and others take up the challenge.
There are a number of long established highly successful and fully subscribed “One Loft Races” in the world today. The two that have the longest and most successful track records and pay out the largest prize money are “Sun City Million” in South Africa and “Derby ARONA” in Tenerife, Canary Islands. Only the very best racing pigeons bred should be sent to Derby ARONA. The entire training takes place via huge ocean going ferries very similar to the one represented in the photo below. The releases are videoed so as to have a permanent record of not only the release but the conditions at the time of the release.
The birds are well trained and given every opportunity to perform at the very best of their abilities. The flights are not easy but the youngsters must come to know and understand the conditions that will confront them. Below you can see the giant wake left behind the ocean ferry. There is no room for error here. The derbyarona attracts participants from +30 countries a virtual “who’s who” of the racing pigeon world worldwide.
A United Nations of racing pigeon fanciers descended upon Tenerife to enjoy the hospitality of this tropical paradise and hopefully also emerge victorious in the ultimate challenge that is Derby ARONA. With the emergence of the One Loft Races worldwide the sport of racing pigeons rose to a new level. Racing pigeons in exotic destinations for large prize money what a great excuse for a family holiday! Tenerife is an incredible holiday destination for the entire family. A favourite destination for visitors from all over Europe and clearly you can see why! – Europeans have an ongoing opportunity to support a world class event, that is professionally operated at the very highest level with complete transparency built into every facet and where the birds receive incredible care and attention to detail is paramount.
Jose Ledesma the virtuoso composer has created his greatest “Opus” for racing pigeon fanciers of the world and it is called “Derby ARONA!” I leave you with one image and this image is what our sport is ultimately all about. The face of victory. We all love our pigeons and we all love to win and this shot tells it all.
Ladies & gentlemen and fanciers around the world , what you have just read is a statement from someone with no financial gain or involvement in the Derby ARONA organisation ,but someone who realised the thoughts and enthusiasm of not just José ledesma but the family in whole, as some 14 years later other family members ,also play an important role it taking the Arona one loft race to the next level for the benefit of participants and welfare of the pigeons, never has the family used the words its the greatest race in the world because the race speaks for itself, however they are prepared to say its recognised as the hardest, due to the vigorous training programme and the many obstacles and fears put before the pigeons up to and including the final race flying over land and sea.
Its because of this, the race attracts such large numbers from many countries around the world, “so to claim to be the best you have to offer the best for the fancier, and as a fancier to be the best in the world you have to compete and beat the best in the world which the Arona race offers”.
Back in 2005 when the Arona race was launched , I’m sure the family whilst they hoped their project would be a success, they never in the wildest dreams would of thought that in today`s one loft race market, they would stand above the rest and be recognised worldwide as offering the biggest prize in Europe to the winner of thefinal race and without doubt one of the leading and respected one loft races in the world.
As for 2018 the doors have been open for entry since early April and with the help of the many co-Ordinator’s from around the world working hard on behalf of the organisers the Arona lofts are now receiving pigeons on weekly basis resulting in numbers for this years event are rising considerably.
For 2018/19 we have the added bonus of welcoming team usa/Canada and Africa as their entries are currently safe within the lofts ,after the disappointment of 2017/18 when shipments were cancelled due to avian flu and deport issues from their respected countries so welcome to the race and all that are competing in yet another Atlantic challenge.
(Original author: Silvio Mattchione)
Training starts early December with the final race on march 29th 2019 weather permitting to enter contact your local co-Ordinator via the website at www.derbyatlantic.com