Meanwhile, there are 4 Hot Spot races behind us and after a very tough HS 3 and HS 4 there are still about 1900 pigeons in the running for eternal fame on July 30th.
Hot Spot 5 is scheduled for Saturday July 17th, a race of +-445 km. The final will be flown on Friday 30 July, from a distance between 550 and 600 km.
Since last year's edition, the VFWCPR has put more focus on the ace pigeons than on the final winners. The reasoning is that the organization believes that a pigeon that flies early on Hot spot 3,4 and 5 and the final, deserves more honor and reward than a pigeon that flies 1 X top on the final day.
A pigeon that flies early on the final day, and that already did so earlier, will automatically end up with the ace pigeons. That is why it was decided to divide the largest part of the prize money among the ace pigeons in the future, in the competition that has been named “Super Ace”.
The current ranking of the Super Ace competition top 10 after 2 of the 4 races (HS 3 and HS 4)
In the 2022 edition there will be even more money to be won in the Super Ace competition, see the breakdown of the prize money for 2022 below.
The way of thinking about rewarding the best pigeons in a One Loft Race shows that the VFWCPR wants to be innovative. Another example of this innovation is the fact that a group of anonymous pigeons has been trained to fly with the competition pigeons in every training and hot spots. These pigeons wear a ring with a GPS tracker, which are downloaded after each flight and from which analysis are then made.
For example, a pigeon that went to drink in Hot Spot 3 took exactly the same route to the same waterhole in Hot Spot 4.The path this tracker pigeon has traveled clearly proves that it races straight to the place where it previously found water. It suggests that pigeons that have this experience will potentially have a big advantage in a tough final because some pigeons remember where they found water along the way.
According to the VFWCPR, it is almost impossible to finish a heavy final without drinking. The first pigeons in Hot Spot 3 and 4 have usually not stopped to drink. The question arises if these pigeons will suffer from this, from the lack of experience to learn to drink on the way.
Hot Spot 4
The winning pigeon on HS 4 from Hans Paul Esser arrived after 4 hours and 17 minutes flying time, with 115 arrivals in the following 10 minutes and 417 pigeons in the first 20 minutes after the first pigeon. For Hot Spot 4 (374 km) 2918 pigeons were basketed and in the end 1807 pigeons came home before noon the next day. About 38% of the pigeons were not clocked in time (afternoon of the next day).
However, if we look at certain fanciers in more detail, it is noticeable that eg. a fancier like Jason Brown who had basketed 25 pigeons for HS 4, eventually had 23 pigeons back for the next training race, much more than the average. When we talk to Geoff Armand, race director of VFWCPR, about this achievement, he points out that Jason Brown mainly breeds with genetic material that has delivered top performances in previous editions of the VFWCPR.
The best pigeon ever in Victoria Falls, also belonged to Jason Brown, in the previous edition. His pigeon Pebbles then won 1st Super Ace and 1st Grand Average. Three of her four grandparents performed well in the first editions of VFWCPR. These numbers and anecdote show that the genetic material has a big impact on the performance in this One Loft Race.