Fifth edition of the Derby Costa Del Sol One Loft Race (Malaga, Spain) is a major success

PIPA had been invited to the One Loft Race Derby Costa Del Sol in Malaga in Spain from Thursday 21st of September to Sunday 24th of September. Sunny weather, excellent visibility and a clear sky was all that was needed to turn this into a very successful one loft race.

This season has seen the fifth edition of this one loft race, which changed location this year. The location for the new accommodation was very well chosen, surrounded by wide open fields, looking out on the mountains. The loft had all the facilitites to prepare the pigeons for the final race in the best possible way: the lofts are very spacious, with high ceilings and plenty of ventilation. In other words, the organisers had done everything they could to make this a successful race.

The one loft race

The race was organised by Javier Peral and Sergio Delgado, two very kind and passionate men who work diligently to make this race is a complete success. They can rely on a well organised team that makes sure everything goes as planned. This year's race consisted of 11 training flights leading up to the big final, with the number of kilometres in each preparatory race increasing gradually: 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 90, 140, 170, 200 and 260 km. Sergio Delgado is the loft manager who passionately looks after all the pigeons, making sure they reach the final in the best possible fitness.

Basketing

Basketing took place on Thursday evening, two days before the final. The FCI, led by Frans Hermans, was inspecting the entire operation, paying attention to every single detail. There were still 1,500 pigeons in the race before the start of the semi-finals, but the high temperatures that day (37°C) caused many pigeons to struggle with orientation, preventing them from easily finding their way back home. As a result, just 748 pigeons made it to the final. The basketing went smoothly and was perfectly organised. Each single pigeon was checked before receiving a wing stamp. The number of pigeons per basket was limited to 14 to make sure there was ample space and oxygen. Once the baskets were full, they were sealed and loaded onto a truck for a 42km trip to Villajoyosa, with one of the organisers of the FCI joining along. Everywone who attented the basketing was invited to a delicious barbeque afterwards. You could just sense that the organisers had done their homewerk, doing everything they could to make this a successful one loft race.

The final

Saturday 23rd of September was the day of the big final, which all competing fanciers were eagerly looking forward to. It was a beautiful day with an easterly wind. The pigeons had two options: a route across the mountains or along the coast. Most fanciers agreed that the pigeons would opt for a flight line across the coast. The pigeons were released at 7:50am on Saturday morning, and over the course of the day an increasing number of people gathered in the big tent that offered an outlook on the pigeon lofts and its beautiful surroundings. There was a barbeque, a range of drinks and the race organisers saw to it that everyone was feeling at home. It was the start of an exciting but very enjoyable final.

The first pigeons were estimated to arrive home at about 2pm, and they were spot on: three pigeons arrived home simultaneously at 14:00:51. It was a tense moment, as everyone was looking for the first pigeon to walk past the clocking device. It was racing bird RO17-229915 of the Romanian combination of Christian Apachitei & Rida that claimed victory in the final of the Derby Costa Del Sol One Loft Race, winning 20,000€ worth of prize money. The second place went to Jos Thoné, with the Bulgarian Ivan & Dimo combination following in third place. The first two ace pigeons came from Belgium: Dirk Moens (first) and De Schryver-Vandepitte (second). The third place was won by Ernest Duch Oliver from Spain.

Fanciers stayed a while longer to discuss the exciting final. There was a great atmosphere, and fanciers began to exchange their experiences and their knowledge. A total of 138 pigeons arrived home that day, and the event ended with a closing ceremony to award the trophies. Frank P. Ruiz and Jose Parra of One Loft Racing World League had attented the race as well. They keep track of four one loft races: Sofia One Loft Race in Bulgaria, DErby Costa Del Sol in Spain, Talent Quatro in the Czech Republic and Algarve Great Derby in Portugal. Several prizes were awarded across different leagues.

Growth

To conclude, we would like to thank all organisers and their assistants for their hard work, which made this one loft race such a wonderful event. It was a very successful edition, and the organisers expect this event to develop even more in the coming years. Race organiser Javier Peral confirmed that the race will continue to grow in the next few years. The excellent organisation, the enthusiastic team behind it, the lovely climate and the wonderful surroundings make this a race that everyone should consider competing in. Click here to learn more about the Derby Costa Del Sol One Loft Race.

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