The number of pigeons at the start line increases every season, which adds to to the event's reputation. There is of course a strong team of organisers behind this one loft race, a group of people that is committed to turning every edition of this race into a great success. Looking at the weather maps for Saturday, we noticed one thing in peculiar: hot temperatures but mostly cloudy and a headwind. It was promising to be a hard final indeed. Some fanciers were in doubt as to whether the final could take place on Saturday, given the conditions, and they suggested to postpone the race to Sunday.
Pigeons were basketed on Friday evening, which attracted a large audience. It was the perfect opportunity to spot the pigeons one more time before they were transferred to the release site by truck. We clearly saw that the pigeons that were basketed for this final were all in excellent form. This is mainly thanks to the caretakers that passionately look after every single pigeon of the lot, day after day. A total of 670 pigeons were basketed for this final, which is significantly less than the 1,754 pigeons that were initially sent in for this race. This was mainly because the pigeons had to cross the Siërra Nevada in the training flights, as well as during the final. This alone makes the Derby Costa Del Sol one of the hardest one loft races worldwide. Adriano Cadriche was in charge of basketing, and he is the chairman of the national delegation of Spain. He kept an eye on the basketing process, to make sure everything went smoothly. The 670 pigeons were basketed in no time, and the baskets were sealed off, ready to be transported to the release site the following day. We enjoyed a barbecue afterwards with the other fanciers, who were discussing next day's final, which was promising to be an exciting an demanding race.
The final. This is the big moment in every one loft race, which both the organisers and the fanciers that sent in their pigeons are eagerly looking forward to. Although we had to wait in anticipation to see if the pigeons would actually be released that day. The team eventually gave the green light, and the final of this 7th edition went ahead. This was the first final that was being broadcast on the Spanish national television channel La Liga. In addition, the race organisers and the winner of this year's race were being interviewed on television as well.
Who was about to claim victory in this year's demanding edition? That's what was on everybody's mind that day, as they were awaiting the arrival of the first pigeon or pigeons. The entire audience fell silent at 3:01pm, as Sergio Delgado (the pigeons' main caretaker) blew a whistle. Everybody rushed to the big screen that was about to show the ring number of the winning bird. And that was none other than ESP19-060011 of Spanish fancier Julian Dinu, which reached a velocity of 949 m/min. This pigeon also finished in 4th place in the semi-finals, which made her the well-deserved 1st ace pigeon this year!
The sire of the winning pigeon, BE10-5054530, stems from Rik Custers (Meeuwen, BE), and he is a crossing of the bloodlines of Pros Roosen and Jan Grondelaers, among others. This is a pigeon with ancestors from Limburg!
The dam is BE14-4068115, a hen from the loft of Marc De Cock (Temse, BE), bred from a son of Claudio and Daughter Superbreeder 801 Aelbrecht.
Julian Dinu, the Spanish winner of the 2019 edition.
The second pigeon was clocked at 3:11pm, and this bird belongs to Jos Thoné (BE19-5095607), which was also the 3rd ace pigeon! The third place went to Team Norwegian Turbo B from Norway, with racing bird NOR19-026-1899. This bird was clocked at 3:42pm. The second ace pigeon title this year was won by Spanish fancier Miguel Soto Rodriguez and his bird ESP19-140309. The long waiting times in between the different arrivals clearly shows that this was a gruelling final, which is caused mainly by the Sierra Nevada. 57 pigeons were clocked on the day of the final, with a total of 250 pigeons eventually reaching home base.
Race winner Julian Dinu receives his award.
Monique Nys receives Jos Thoné's second place trophy.
Team Norwegian Turbo B finishes in third place.
Winter OLR 2019
This One Loft Race will have its first winter edition this year as well, with the final scheduled to take place on 11th of January. It starts off with 10 races, and the pigeons can start to earn prize money from the 5th race onwards. The final is a 360km race from Cabo De Palos all the way to Malaga. The race organisers have planned out a route along the coastline, which should help the pigeons find their way back home.
To conclude, we would like to thank everyone involved in the organisation of this one loft race, and we congratulate them on another successful edition. We would also like to put a few people in the spotlight that help turn this one loft race into a great success every season. We start with Javier Peral, the man who made this one loft race possible. There is also Sergio Delgado, who is the head loft caretaker, who puts his heart and soul into looking after these pigeons day in day out. He sees to it that every bird is in great shape for each training flight and for the final. And let's not forget Monique Nys and her husband, who are always ready to help, and who are involved in collecting the pigeons from Belgium every year. And there is in fact an entire team of race organisers who work hard every year to make this One Loft Race a major success season after season.
We wish them all the best for their winter event, as well as for the 8th edition of their summer OLR.