The 408 pigeons were basketed two days ahead, to be released on the island of Fuertefentura. Released on Friday 23rd of March at 9am, the racing birds had to cover 275km back to their home base. A northeasterly wind was not much of an obstacle at the start of the race but that changed over the course of the day, with some strong gusts especially at sea. The pigeons had to fly into the wind to reach their home.
Basketing the pigeons
We were informed that 3 groups of pigeons were heading to Tenerife, and that all birds had been off to a good start. Pigeon fanciers from different countries gathered around the lofts to follow the action in the final race, which took place in a clear sky and temperatures of around 30°C.
The audience got caught up in the excitement, and the free food and drinks were a welcome distraction. As in previous editions, the pigeons were able to cross the two islands and the two sections of 100km across the sea in about three hours' time. The expected time of arrival was 12 noon, and tension was visibly rising among the spectactors. Surprisingly enough the first 19 pigeons were spotted above the loft at 11:58am, where they circled around for a while before smoothly entering the loft. The pigeons had travelled the distance with a velocity of 1500 m/min.
Some tense moments for the spectators
The audience was keeping an eye on the digital screen, where "Team P.K. Lofts" from Wales was announced the winner of the 2018 race, with racing bird Harry 285. They took home a cheque worth of €120,000. Four Belgian teams were able to finish in the top 10, just eight seconds behind the first pigeon.
- 4th place: Team Buyl & Howells with “Blue Lagoon”
- 5th place: Filip De Smet with “Favorit 2015”
- 9th place: Diamond Ladies with “Princess”
- 10th place: Breese Pigeons Friends with “Lise”
Team P.K. Lofts: the winners of the 2018 race with racing bird "Harry385"
The second place was won by Team Garcia & Nagelhofer with their bird "Pluto 2274"
Team IFJ Ferge Miklos Jr. claims the third prize with "Zsanci"
Delivery dates for 2019: 28/04, 07/07, 11/08, 15/09 and 27/10.