Beniamin Neag (Austria) wins Derby Arona One Loft Race 2016!

The final of the 2016 Derby Arona race was flown on Friday 18 March. In sunny weather, 490 birds were released for a race distance of 275 km. After having flown nearly three hours, Lee Ray arrived as first of the flock and won the gold medal for Austrian fancier Beniamin Neag. UK fanciers Team Well Wag and Mark Gilbert won silver and bronze.

Beniamin Neag and the Derby Arona 2016 winner Lee Ray

Austria beats the UK

Over 2,600 birds were sent to the loft on the Canary Island of Tenerife for this year's Derby Arona one loft race. About four months after the first qualification training, the final race was held on Friday 18 March. 490 birds were liberated in sunny weather at 8.50 in the morning for a 275 km race back home. Austrian fancier Beniamin Neag's Lee Ray was the first bird to arrive at 11:45:36.20, beating his pursuers by only 1.20 (Team Well Wag, UK) and 1.80 secs (Mark Gilbert, UK). A very close call which yielded 50,000 euros for Mr. Neag, who even had another bird in the top 10 (finishing 6th) and a third bird in the top 100 (72nd). Browse through the full result of the 2016 final race here.

When closely examining the winning bird's pedigree, you can conclude that the victory is not that much a surprise. From his sire's side, blue cock Lee Ray has the blood of several Gaby Vandenabeele birds running through his veins. His grandfather won several top prizes and is a great-grandson of Vandenabeele's iconic Wittenbuik bird. His grandmother unites two of Vandenabeelde best birds as well: (again) Wittenbuik and Bliksem. She is the daugher of a son Wittenbuik x daughter Kolonel (half-sister Bliksem). From his dam's side, we can the roaring name of Gaston Van de Wouwer, the breeder of the world-class Kaasboer. Check out Lee Ray's pedigree here.

Remarkable overall performances

This year's final of the Derby Arona was characterised by many fanciers achieving several good results. It seems the strains of some of these fanciers are made for the toughest races. We will briefly summarise the top 25 fanciers who scored multiple top prizes:

  • Beniamin Neag (Austria): Three prizes in the final race, all of them top 100 (1st, 6th and 72nd). A splendid result!
  • Mark Gilbert (UK): Five prizes, two times top 100 (3rd and 55th).
  • Team Florea Sorin (Romania): Six final race prizes of which no less less than four times top 100 (5th, 33rd, 88th, 92nd). They have the most top 100 prizes in this year's final of the Derby Arona.
  • Team Ladys Germany (Germany): Two prizes, two times top 100 (7th and 86th).
  • Karel Clemens (Czech Republic): Four prizes in the final, two times top 100 (9th and 35th).
  • Team Dionisio & Pandiella (Spain): Two final race prizes, viz. 10th and 62nd.
  • Team Soepboer (Netherlands): 11th, 46th and 89th with just three prizes in the final.
  • Team Garcia & Nagelhofer (Austria): 14th, 21st and 34th with just three final race prizes. Another splendid achievement by an Austrian racing team!
  • Team Casey & Rainbow (UK): 15th and 60th with only two prizes in the final.
  • Team Klaas & Sohn (Germany): 23rd, 49th and another prize outside the top 100. Three prizes in the final in total.

Just like previous years this year's final drew a big crowd