The pigeons enjoyed a week of short training flights running up to the Hot Spot Care Race with distances of 25-78km training flights. We have been experiencing the usual afternoon thunder storms Gauteng is known for so the pigeons have been trained earlier in the mornings.
With the pigeon’s best interest in mind, the decision was made to shorten the Hot Spot Car Race which was planned for Klerksdorp (approximately 175km) to Stillfontein some 19 km shorter at a distance of 156km.
The decision on whether or not to liberate the pigeons is never taken lightly. Various weather sites and the local weather bureau are consulted a few days before each training flight and adjustments to liberation time and distance are made as needed.
Wednesday came with perfect pigeon racing weather, clear skies, a few clouds on the horizon and a gentle breeze. On arriving at the liberation point, the pigeons were given water and at 05:40 were liberated. Dave, who was with the transporter, reported that the pigeons left the truck then circled a few times and the majority headed straight for home. However a group of about 500 pigeons decided to take in the view and circled for another few minutes before following the leaders.
The wait then started with estimations of arrival times varying from 07:34 to 08:14. Corrie and Andre estimated the pigeons to be home just after 08:00 and at 07:59 the first pack of pigeons appeared on the horizon, circled the lofts twice and landed.
First pigeons arriving
First pigeon in and winner of the motor vehicle was RMC Lofts’ Zaruman raced by Richard Banzon from the United States beating second pigeon Earley raced by Team Hooymans from the Netherlands by a mere 5.89 seconds. The rest of the top 20 proved to be an orange day with the Netherlands taking seven of the Hot Spot Car Race prizes, Hooymans taking four of them in his various teams! An excellent achievement!
Another achievement not to be overlooked is the performance of Japan and China, who not being able to send pigeons to the race had pigeons bred in Netherlands and South Africa. Apple2 racing for Xiang Green has now flown two top 10 positions but unfortunately being an un-entered reserve pigeon does not qualify for any prizes or the Hot Spot Car Race Averages.
The pigeons are now in for an easy week of short distance training flights before the next Hot Spot Car Race on 7 December.