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Victoria Falls World Challenge team visits top UK fanciers

Geoff Armand and Richard Hulley from Victoria Falls visited some of the top performers in the UK together with their UK shipping agent Pieter Oberholster. This was to introduce fanciers to the Victoria Falls World Challenge Pigeon Race which is an annual yearling race scheduled for August 14th this year.

They had the opportunity to see and handle pigeons that have performed well and won at National and International level from distances from 250 to 700 miles in the tough channel conditions.

(L-R) Pieter Oberholster, Geoff Armand & Mark Gilbert

During the trip we visit the lofts of Mark Gilbert the iconic English fancier who has added two more national victories to his numerous past National and International wins in 2019: Pau and St. Vincent. Mark's tried and trusted Southfield Supreme proved an excellent foundation and combined mainly with pigeons from Brockamp, Batenburg  and Jellema, appeared to have great potential. Such top class racing birds as Starlight (Meirlaen) and Golden Barcelona (2nd best int. Barcelona pigeon 2012-2014) were added to the mix over the years.

(L-R) Geoff Cooper, Geoff Armand, Catherine Cooper & Pieter Oberholster

Geoff and Catherine Cooper, based in Peasedown St John in the south western county of Somerset, have been considered as one of the very best National racing lofts in the UK and been one of the top International achievers on the European continent with 4 x 1st International wins. Their record of wins racing over the English Channel from France has been outstanding from distances ranging from 500km to 900km whilst still winning many first prizes at short and middle distances.

(L-R) Geoff Armand, Shaun McDonough & Pieter Oberholster

Shaun McDonough UK superstar with 71 x 1st club prizes 2018 inc. 16 x 1st Federations and 70 x 1st club prizes 2018 inc. 14 x 1st Federations 2019.

(L-R) Richard Hulley, Geoff Armand, John Crehan & Pieter Durkan

The next loft visited was that of Hooymans UK and John Crehan. Hooymans Team is already a strong contender with over 50 pigeons entered this year. Past performances at Victoria include 3rd place in the final with many other accolades. John Crehan is the winner of Golden Duif UK & Republic of Ireland 2018, 2019 and winner of over 30 x 1st  at club, Fed, Combine and National level 2019.

(L-R) James Murray, Geoff Armand, Pieter Oberholster, John Murray & Richard Hulley

John Murray owner of Racing Pigeons Supplies and Top Pigeons was also visited. John has raced pigeons since 1977 and has performed consistently well over the longer distances with some outstanding results in recent one loft races worldwide. John demonstrated the electronic timing system being marketed by him showing new and innovative features.

The well-known pigeon personality and auctioneer Les Green was also visited. Les will be coming to the final race week to interview fanciers, spectators and race personnel. The plan is to also comment on pigeons that will be shipped to Pipa for sale. There may also be some high performing pigeon on offer for sale that ware not selected by Pipa. Les will do this auction and all pigeons destined to be sold will be on view 2 days after the race day on the Sunday morning prior to the awards ceremony. Fanciers and prospective buyers will have the opportunity to handle pigeons on display.

The race week at Victoria Falls is full of interesting and fun filled activities and can be perused on the from Monday 10th August to Sunday 17th August.

The training of approximately 3700 pigeons is underway for the 10th race series culminating in the final from 600 km (373 miles) This is a yearling series staged in tough arid conditions with beautiful weather during the winter months which have no rain, is on flat terrain and has average maximum temperatures of approximately 25 deg. C. The prize pot spread over several competitions totals one million two hundred thousand US Dollars.

The competition has attracted fanciers from 30 different countries and is truly an international race.

Pigeons for the 2021 yearling race series from Europe will be delivered to the Dutch Quarantine and Veterinary Services facility in Holland on the following dates

9, 10, 11 June 2020

14, 15, 16 July 2020

21, 22, 23 August 2020

15, 16, 17 September 2020

24, 25, 26 November 2020 (weekend of Kassel Exhibition and Monday following)

Shipping routes remain open despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Any prospective UK & Ireland entrants can contact Pieter Oberholster at 07748722269 or 01234708281 email . Entrants from other countries can contact listed agents shown on the website