Following a two week break to oversea,owners activation of their reserve pigeons and third party activations which allows interested parties an opportunity of entering the race by purchasing one of the twenty three pigeons that became availableand will now go forward under new ownershipwith 2066 pigeons basketed and on route northwards through the center of the island to a distance 25 klm,we were informed that following a period of time to settle on site, Abel released the convoy at 12.15 into clear blue skies and a gentle southerly breeze coming in off the Altantic.
At the loft with livestream once again up and running we sat and waited for the first sightings and with this being the first time in the basket for a while there was a slight uncertainty as to whether the pigeons would follow on with their gained knowledge or take their time to orientate following the liberationwith thirty five minutes flying time behind them a dark shadow appeared over the loft as the first arrivals were seen to have returned.
Taking Top Honours of 1st International training race 6 we head to Belgium and Team MonickNys& Kris Govers with pigeon “Camposa” timing in on 22.214.171.124,taking the runners up position with a time of 126.96.36.199 we got to The Netherlands with Lorenzo van Russel with pigeon “Aaron”, Team PawelOrlowski from Poland saw their entry “Nasdaq” take 3rd on 188.8.131.52,resulting in a second arrival for team Belgium claiming 4th Spot with pigeon “De LaatKomer” for Team EPWBelgium on 12.52.20.00, Mark Gilbert representing team England takes 5th International with pigeon “Southfield De Gea” timed itself in on 184.108.40.206 Team SovicBarbara &Miha from Slovakia takes 6th place as their entry “UrskaS” comes in at 220.127.116.11 for 7th position we go to Colombia with Team Club Cafe de Colombia and pigeon “Oscar” recording its return on 18.104.22.168,whilst a third arrivals for team Belgium takes 8th with pigeon “Lindsay” timing in for Team JefGoris on 22.214.171.124, the top positions seem well spread as we got to the Ukraine for 9th International with pigeon “Aron” for Team Valera Hurskiy timing in on 126.96.36.199 with Team Milly’s loft entry “Baby Milly” timing in for team England on 12.52.20 71 for 10th International that concludes the leading pigeons.
On looking at the result its clear to see it’s a blanket finish and all down to the good trapping we’ve witnessed so far this year as over 2000 pigeons timed in in less than a minute of the winner a true testament to the loft management team on the handling of the pigeons within their care.
As the minutes ticked by the clock took its time as it struggled to load the arrivals in order as a further 1800+ pigeons were recorded in the next few minutes that followed.
As the clocked continued to produce a result it was pleasing to see more and more pigeons made their way in during the afternoon and as the sun set on the island 2,041 pigeons were recorded,one thing that’s being noticed and commented on so far this year is the trapping on return faultless is the word being used as we witness the arrivals hitting the board and fighting to get in, a credit to the loft management team on the feeding and preparation they’re giving the inmates.
With the dawn of a new day the trend continued as more pigeons which were adrift from day one started to come in and as such, come lunch time on day two 2,055 pigeons from the 2,066 released were home giving a returns ratio of 99.46% and 11 unaccounted fortraining race 7 and were now proceeding on our journey north through the heart of the island to a liberation site which hosts some of the most rugged terrain the island has to offer, with the 2055 pigeons basketed from the previous outing on route,it was clearly visible via various video links showing clear blue skies and a light northerly breeze, shortly after arrival Abel was happy to release the pigeons at 12 noon.
With the pigeons now getting back into their stride following the break, at the lofts our expectations of a good training flight were knocked,as the loft reported that shortly after the liberation whilst orientating the batch were struck by the resident colony of peregrines, which not only reprovingly divided the pigeons into small groups but halted their progress in clearing the area.
With no further news on the pigeons we sat and waited patiently to see if the pigeons had recovered the attack and what effect it would have on returns so you could imagine the relief when the first wave of pigeons could be seen approaching.
Taking Top Honors of 1st International Derby AronaTr. 7 we go to Team IFJ FergeMiklosJr. from Hungary with pigeon “Golden Boy” taking the glory with an arrival time of 12.36.07.35, Team Welsh Hopefuls experienced a good trainer today, representing Wales and the UK with a double delight by taking the runner up position and 4th International with two of their team entries, the first being pigeon “BrookhillButty” on 12.36.09.50 closely followed by pigeon “RaceyLacey” on 12.36.09.80 dividing the two Welsh entries we go to The Netherlands with pigeon “Layla” for Team P & AWiersema taking 3rd place on a time of 12.36.09.55, todays training flight also provided more double clocking as team Slovakia in the form of SadlakVendelin& Andrej also timed two of their entries with pigeon “Arona 33” timing in on 12.36.09.81 for 5th followed by “Arona 90” on 12.36.10.00 in 6th,we go back to The Netherlands for the next couple of positions with one of Team Lorenzo Van Russel’s entries taking 7th International on 188.8.131.52,closely followed by yet another double clocking by last year’s final race winners Team Soepboer taking 8th and 9th on 184.108.40.206 with pigeon “Bunsky” and “Princess” on 220.127.116.11 rounding up today Top Ten we go to The LanarkshireLads syndicate from Scotland with pigeon “Charlene” on 18.104.22.168
Following the initial strike it didn’t seem to interfere with the leading pigeons as they seemed to come on the time expected although by midafternoon there still seemed a large number adriftand whilst some continued to come through during the afternoon,the clock indicated a considerable number of entries were still affected by what happened earlier in the day,not knowing if the pigeons had taken cover in the mountain regions or if they had been chased out to sea,something,we realize we won’t get to know but hopefully more will correct themselves and make it through by nightfall.
Day 2 and with 1929 pigeons recorded on the previous day we all hoped for more arrivals today and thankfully shortly after 08.30 pigeons started to appear on the clock at regular intervals during the morning,this pattern continued during the afternoon and by early evening with an additional 40 pigeons recorded the returning numbers looked a little better,with an additional six pigeons experiencing two nights out and coming through the final number of returns calculated to 1976 (96.15%) with 56 pigeons unaccounted for.
When we consider Tenerife as one of seven islands that makes up the Canary Islands positioned in the Altantic Ocean just off the African coast,the weather conditions can change so quickly and added to this the peregrine attacks results on times with the pigeons being forced off line or having to take cover over night, thankfully the majority come through in the days that come,but this is the Derby Arona one of the hardest One Loft Races in the world because of the routes of land an seas they need to overcome.
With seven training flights overcome and the thought of taking on the GüimarValley a line consisting of volcanic mountains and valleys which stretch nearly the length of the island in training flight 8 its time to take a look at the King of Sprint Averages.
Holding Top Spot is the Dirk Martens team from Belgium with pigeon “Mad Jowan” on 12871 pts,currently in 2nd place is the Hungarian entry “Joco 3” for Team JozefKovacs on 12855 and in 3rd we stay with Hungary with Team Fenyvesi,Balazs& Norbert and pigeon “189” on 12652.
With the island training making good progress we will shortly be at the furthest island training distance of 60 klm prior to heading out to sea for the mid sea liberations,these will require the pigeons to come across the Atlantic from various pionts mid seas on the ferries route to the neighboring island of Gran Canaria for the first Hotspot Race (Survival race)
The island of Gran Canaria will host two Hotspot Races from the west coast of the island and the Semifinal from the east,plus additional training flights prior to us going the step further to Fuertaventura for the ultimate challenge of the Final Race incorporating a double island flight challenge.