The Derby Costa Del Sol one loft race continues to expand season after season, especially when it comes to the number of competing teams. The number of teams for this year's race was in fact 12% higher compared to last year's event, with 1,200 pigeons in 2018. The number of competing pigeons was slightly lower but 70% managed to make it through to the final, thanks to excellent preparation, caretaking and numerous training flights. That is a remarkable number indeed: 827 pigeons were still in contention for a coveted victory in the OLR final. You could tell that the race organisers and their team did everything possible to make this 6th edition even better and bigger than last year's event.
There were considerably more training flights compared to last year. In fact, the organizers wanted to show that no effort was spared to get the pigeons to the final in the best possible health and fitness. Several training flights were done twice, just to increase their mileage. This was a clever move by the organisers, given the high percentage of pigeons that made it through to the final.
The birds were basketed one day later compared to the 2017 race. As a result, they spent less time in the basket than in 2017. It was Martha Van Geel of the FCI who was responsible for the basketing process, which was carried out by a large team of assistants. Every pigeon was thoroughly checked beforehand, and every pigeon got an FCI stamp on the wing. Each basket carried a maximum of 25 birds, and every basket got an FCI seal as well. Given the warm weather, the organisers provided plenty of water. Basketing went very smoothly, and the 827 pigeons were loaded onto a truck in no time. They were then taken to Villajoyosa, to be released for the final race the next morning.
Every fancier that competed in this OLR was looking forward to 22nd of September 2018. The temperature had reached 23 degrees by the time the pigeons would be released, with hardly any wind and good visibility. It was in these conditions that the pigeons took off at 7:40 in the morning. They had a difficult choice to make at the very start, having to pick one of two flying routes: they could travel along the coast, which is the route that they had taken in previous training flights and races, or they could opt to cross the mountains. This was the shortest route but also the most difficult one. The wind had started to pick up and was changing direction, which influenced their decision. The wind was pushing the main pack towards the mountains, which made this a hard and demanding race; the estimated time of arrival was set to 2pm. However, the weather conditions changed the outcome.
The first pigeons eventually arrived home at 2:23pm; fanciers got really excited when they heard the first pigeon being announced. Six pigeons arrived home almost simultaneously, and spectactors were eager to see which of them would be clocked first. They hurried to the screen to find out which team the race winner belonged to, and it was Daniel Krajcik who turned out to be the winner of this exciting final race; his winning pigeon with ring number SK18-01106-907 was clocked at 14:22'16", with a speed of 1,111.98 m/min. Racing bird NL18-1816778 of Hok Reijnen Bolton finished in second 10 seconds later, followed by ESP18-133521 of the Gutierrez Lison combination, which came in 21 seconds later. A total of 35 pigeons were clocked on the day of the release. A selection of birds of Winkie were sold in auction after the race, and then came the award ceremony.
The winning pigeon SK18-01106-907 of Daniel Krajcik
Winner of the OLR Derby Costa Del Sol 2018 Daniel Krajcik and his wife Andrea
7th edition of Derby Costa Del Sol
The 6th edition of this OLR has only just come to a close but the team is already in full preparation for number 7. Each year the team tries to step up their game, to try and reach new standards. As of next year, every team will consist of 7 pigeons (4 active birds and 3 substitutes), as opposed to 2018, when each team had 3 active birds and 1 substitute. The idea was to give every competing team a higher chance of success. The organiser of the race, Javier Peral, also decided to reduce the distance for the final race to 360km.
First of all, we would like to congratulate Javier Peral and the rest of the organising team on an outstanding and very successful 6th edition. They have done everything possible to make this a wonderful event. We would also like to thank Javier Peral, Laura Garcia, Joey and everyone involved in this one loft race for their invitation and their hospitability. They are working hard to make sure that the pigeons, as well as the fanciers themselves, are having a great time here.
We wish the organisers and everyone involved good luck with their preparations for the 7th edition of the Derby Costa Del Sol!