Firstly, race 8 has to completed which is decisive for the Green Jacket; the ace pigeon competition across races up to 300km...where after the pigeons will be raced weekly starting with race 9 across 330km up to the Final across 600km on 14th October. Its everybody's game; spectacular races are a guarantee!
After last year's premiere, all eyes are on the International One Loft Race Afrika Pro in 2023. The foundation of last year is kept intact, and every fancier in 2023 can send a maximum of 20 pigeons to this African dream location. They can thereafter participate in the following competitions:
- Black Jacket - a competition where fanciers can select a maximum of 10 pigeons from their Team to participate. The time of the first two clocked pigeons counts for the Black Jacket and the fancier with the highest speed across all races wins the Black Jacket;
- Blue Jacket - Ace Pigeon across all races;
- Race winner - the pigeon clocked first on a race;
- Fancier of the Race - the participant with the highest average speed across his first two pigeons in their Team of max. 10 selected pigeons.
New this year is the Green Jacket, an ace pigeon competition flown across the first 8 races (100-300km). A true sprint competition! The final result of the Green Jacket is the start of the Blue Jacket competition; flown across the 8 sprint races and the 6 last races including the 600km Final.
The Green Jacket competition reaches its climax…
With 7 races completed between 115 and 240km, the Afrika Pro Series is well on its way. Participants have known very few losses and race winners are from both the African and American continent. Moreover, fanciers from all over the world are in the game for the Green and Black Jacket competitions and the tension is rising. First off, a quick recap of the race winners from the 2023 edition so far:
- Winner Race 1 (112 km) 1,698 p.; KDK Racing (USA) – 1510 m/min
- Winner Race 2 (112 km) 1,635 p.: Colesberg (South Africa) – 1592 m/min
- Winner Race 3 (131 km) 1,646 p.: Marius Wild (South Africa) – 1425 m/min
- Winner Race 4 (148 km) 1,608 p.: Montain Lofts & Murray & Mills (South Africa) – 1410 m/min
- Winner Race 5 (186 km) 1,587 p.: Roby Family Loft/Millian Pigeon (South Africa) – 1282 m/min
- Winner Race 6 (201 km) 1,454 p.: Kader & Nadia Ahmed, Yazeed, Frans (South Africa) – 1373 m/min
- Winner Race 7 (240 km) 1,424 p.: Johan King (South Africa) – 1612 m/min
In the Ace Pigeon competition - the Blue Jacket - there are several pigeons which have showed their racing potential and have been at the top of the charts for some time. Amongst them is Super Champ from the Canadian fancier Jesse Seguna, who entered the Top 10 on Race 4 and has now moved up to 2nd place. Jesse was the winner of the 1st official race in 2022 at the Afrika Pro and is now a serious candidate for the Green Jacket. Between Race 4 and 6 it was PIPA Breeding who took the lead in the Blue Jacket competition with their Victory Best Kittel 853, a pigeon who flew 3x Top 100 bred from the super pair Victory Best Kittel (1st Super Ace VFWCPR) x Golden Grizzle (4th Super Ace VFWCPR).
Alwyn Bester on Pole Position
However, after Race 7 with the end of the Green Jacket competition in sight, it is the South African Alwyn Bester with his Five Star who are in the lead. A beautiful red pigeon with a great series, winning 64th, 27th, 53rd, 81st, 45th, 147th and 7th prize so far. Five Star is bred from Kittel Bolt, a 100% Van Den Bulck and father of many winners in a/o Dinokeng OLR and PWDU Verkeerdevalei. Mother is from Alwyn's own top bloodlines x Marcel Aelbrecht. A full sister of Five Star became 1st Grand Average winner and 2nd Ace Pigeon in the renowned Dinokeng OLR 2021. Four other siblings of Five Star won a/o 1st PWDU Union race, winner 100,000 Rand in the Breeder-Racer competition, winner best Classic pigeon GPU Union and 7th GPU Best Young bird...a great winning bloodline!
With only one race to go the Green Jacket competition ranking looks as follows:
- 1st Alwyn Bester (South Africa) with Five Star – 1425 m/min average speed
- 2nd Jesse Seguna (Canada) with Super Champ – 1415 m/min average speed
- 3rd Umm Birka Loft (Qatar) with The 820 – 1412 m/min average speed
- 4th Karl-Heinz & Timo Wagner (Germany) with Daddy’s Girl – 1408 m/min average speed
- 5th Nils Gerdemann (Germany) with Lola – 1407 m/min average speed
Alwyn is a highly renowned name in the strong Pretoria Union, where he wins regularly. At one loft races, Alwyn made name for himself around the world in 2017 by breeding both 1st Ace Pigeon Victoria Falls OLR and 6th Grand Average winner Derby Arona. Alwyn's reputation grew even further in 2021, the year in which Turbo Kittel became the best ever pigeon in South Africa with 6x SANPO golden medals (similar to National Ace Pigeon title)....both parents were bred by Alwyn Bester. Many successes in the past years are thanks to his own old stock crossed with descendants of a/o Best Kittel, via Marcel Sangers and PIPA.
Black Jacket preliminary ranking
At the Afrika Pro the Fancier of the Race and Black Jacket competition are highly regarded. Again; before every race a team of max. 10 pigeons can be appointed and the fastest 2 pigeons from this team count. Every race the best team is crowned Fancier of the Race, won by a/o the following fanciers:
- Race 1: Karl-Heinz & Timo Wagner (Duitsland)
- Race 2: Du Prees & Deetlefs (Z-Afrika)
- Race 3: Jan Hooymans (NL)
- Race 4: Team Olive Lofts & Kubacek (Z-Afrika)
- Race 5: Jan Hooymans (NL)
- Race 6: PIPA Breeding (BE)
- Race 7: H. & E-J Eijerkamp (NL)
Having become Fancier of the Race twice already this edition, the Dutchman Jan Hooymans has a very strong start to the Afrika Pro Series. "I have sent pigeons from my best breeders, which also race well in the Netherlands and Belgium", says the Dutch legend. "I see the Afrika Pro as the upcoming star in the world of one loft races, with a beautiful concept. There is always a bit of luck involved in becoming Fancier of the Race, but quality is always decisive. The youngsters I sent to Afrika Pro, despite their good results, are still relatively young. I hope they continue to do well and can shine in the Final."
The Team of PIPA Breeding is also found at the top of the charts on a regular basis. Especially their title of Fancier of the Race was memorable, during which their 1st and 4th clocked pigeons counted as their 2nd and 3rd pigeon were not amongst their 10 selected pigeons. Thomas: "The team of pigeons we sent are doing great. We sent pigeons from bloodlines that have performed in Africa, and maybe therefore these pigeon do so well now. Although we are still early on in the series and anything is possible."
Die Painters takes the lead in the Black Jacket competition
The first 10 fanciers in the Black Jacket competition are within 10 minutes of each other, and it is still anyone's game. The podium is now made up from Hans-Paul Esser & Charles Kerekes (Germany) on 3...PIPA Breeding (Belgium) on 2...and Die Painters (South Africa) on 1.
Father Stear Painter and his sons Richard and Henrico are slightly surprised about their leading position in the Black Jacket competition. "The tough races are still to come, and that is where we are at our best. But of course we are very happy with how things are going." Insiders know the name Painter; in 2001 they won the Million Dollar race, are regulars at the National Ace Pigeon SANPO Merit Awards and absolute stars in South Africa. Stear: "When my father Gert passed away in 2021, he called winning the Million Dollar race a highlight...we then made one loft racing a new goal of ours."
The Painter family is known for their exceptional pigeons which can excel 18 weeks straight from 200 up to 1000km...week in, week out. The foundation to this success are the old Putterie bloodlines, strengthened with a/p Diamond Pair (Van De Wouwer x 1st and 2nd Ace Pigeon Union with 17x 1st) and the Potshot Pair (Michel Debecker x Slovakian SAMDPR hen). "We call these pigeons the Recipy line; our new generation of top racers. Through tough selection and breeding from our best pigeons they become better and better." In 2022, these men did not participate in the Afrika Pro Series, but bred stars for other lofts. This year, they participate themselves and bred pigeons for other teams as well. "Our pigeons are doing great so far. We are only halfway, but we have faith in our pigeons going into the next races. It will be a survival of the fittest, but we hope to defend our lead in the weeks to come!"