Team Frapejo`s, Belgium
Crowned Derby Arona Champion 2022
It’s mid-March and following weeks and months of intense training the Derby Arona team are preparing to welcome many fanciers from around the world for the first time in three years due to covid pandemic to the island of Tenerife for this year’s final race.
With 196 gallant and brave pigeons that overcame a difficult semifinal race being prepared for their final adventure, fanciers started to gather on the island during the early part of the week in readiness for the first part of the proceedings which was to be the live basketing at the loft, an opportunity for most to handle their entry before going through the marker.
Gladys Ledesma ready to start basketing
Wing stamping and a visual view for those not at the loft via livestream
With a smaller gathering than normal at the loft, proceeding started just after 9.30am as one by one each pigeon and fancier concerned came forward to handle their pigeons. Following from such, each pigeon was then wing stamped with the unique stamp, shown to those unable to be present at the loft prior to going into the basket and following a steady flow and happy participants indicating they were happy with the condition of their entries, the final pigeon went in just after 2pm, it was then the team discovered that a number of pigeons that had overcome the training and racing were missing from the loft, after a drastic search of all the lofts it was disappointing for those whose pigeons were missing, on speaking to the Belgium party they informed me that on Sunday when the pigeons were loft exercised for the last time before the final, they went roaming the island for over an hour and the only explanation that the team can come to is they either got spooked by peregrines or got mixed up with other pigeons coming across the island and failed to return, a truly disappointing experience for those involved after overcoming so much to get to this point, including the team seeing fanciers there at the loft but no pigeons to see, those effected will receive as some sort of compensation a credit of 220 euro off next years activations.
Independent security overseeing proceeding through to the liberation
Team Hopefuls Syn, Wales Paul & Cristine Titcomb England
Team Roger Mertens Belgium Team Creemers & Son Belgium
Team Henricksen Denmark Team Team Mindelo Loft Caboverde
Team Luckyspil Belgium Team Holland and Stubbs England
Team Fev Flyers Team Diamond Ladies Belgium
With the basketing completed and sealed and water offered, the crates were now in the hands of an independent security company who would guard them denying any access by any fancier or any member of the Arona team until they were loaded and on their way to the north of Tenerife for the early evening ferry to Gran Canaria, on disembarking at Gran Canaria they made the journey by road from the west of the island to the east for the next leg of their journey which would take them over on a second ferry to Fuerteventura, and following a short drive once back on land they were soon on site in preparation for the liberation the following morning.
Rubber stamp cut and basketing list signed off
Basketing procedure completed
Basketing completed and water offered before their journey
Whilst all this was going on the Arona team on the island of Tenerife welcomed the participants and friends to the traditional welcome evening held at one of the islands top Canarian restaurants, with return coach travel arranged, everyone was met by the Ledesma family on arrival and were seated in preparation for a night of food and drink, as the night progressed Jose made the welcome speech to those present and thanked everyone for their support over the past few years including the worldwide coordinators who had to overcome several obstacles to get birds from their respected countries to participate, Jose also went onto indicate that whilst there was a few showers forecast for the following day the team were hopeful for an early lib prior to this happening.
A relaxed Jose at the formal welcome evening
A few of the worldwide Derby Arona coordinators in Tenerife
Race day and as such with good conditions reported and with the basket seals cut by the security guard who had accompanied the Arona convoyers to the site ensuring full transparency, Abel got them away for the final time this year at 07.30 into a light south east wind and at the time of liberation a temperature of 18 degrees which was expected to rise during the day to around 25 to 28 degrees at the home end, following a hearty breakfast in preparation for a long day at the loft whilst a bus to the loft was provided to transfer fanciers and friends to the loft, ourselves and other Team GB participants met at the taxi rank leaving in an convoy of taxis to the loft in the neighboring village of Guasa
On arrival at the loft the team welcomed everyone to this year’s final as they arrived with the marquee up to provide some shade from the increasing heat and with the complementary food and drink starting to flow the Spanish TV company started to provide a live feed of activities to those fanciers around the world watching the day’s proceedings.
As the hours went by we ran a “guess the time of the first arrival” for a fee of 5 euro per guess and at 10.30 with the book closed for entries a nice little 330 euro prize up for grabs by some lucky entrant as the wait began
As time ticked by and nerves could be clearly be seen as most were eyes peeled for the first sightings, with that Jose broke the silence with a blast of the whistle which made people jump to their feet, something he does annually, to settle a few nerves but still catches plenty out, any way the wait continued and finally at 11.30 a small batch was seen approaching and with a blow of the whistle and a moment of silence these brave warriors where clearly racing for home as some made a final swoop of the loft the winning pigeon made a direct line for the trap to record its arrival, taking the honor of 1st International Derby Arona and Derby Arona champion for 2022 with a winning time of 11.31.05.50 we see Team Frapejoe`s entry Pepe 4 taking the crown and 35,000 prize this is the first time of participating in the Derby Arona and what a way to start their involvement in the race, the winning pigeon is a small Chequer hen with a pedigree that contains the bloodlines of Ruben en Jelle Smits on the sires side down from Danny van Dyke and Eddie Janssen pigeons whilst paired to F&J Steajan pigeons cross Van Rooy on the dams and on the way she trapped indicated to all as a clear and worthy winner, over past weeks had maintained a steady mid table returns rate however in the past three races had slowly made progress with positions including 96th from 605 pigeons in endurance race 1, 68th place from 533 in hotspot 2 and 43rd in the recent semifinal prior to today performance.
Team Frapajo Belgium 1st international Derby Arona final and pigeon Pepe 4
With the winner safely timed in, it was closely followed by the remainder of the first arrivals as in 2nd we see Team Martyn Jacobs from the Netherlands taking the runner up award and 10.000 prize with his entry Svip on 220.127.116.11, this pigeon is bred from the Simon Kuipers bloodlines crossed with Van Schijndel & Son both based in the Netherlands again this team have made several appearances in the top flight during the campaign up to the final with 19th being its highest position prior, for 3rd International we go to Team Cuba and Team Yosvany Manuel & Yasmani as they witnessed the arrival of their pigeon Supa Jada taking the third place trophy and 5,000 prize on 18.104.22.168 the origin of this pigeon is based on the Jado and Fyla 900 lines originating from Jos Thone of Belgium, for 4th position we head east to Rumania with the arrival of pigeon Optimus Prime claiming 4,000 for Team Mugar Lucan with a time of 22.214.171.124, in 5th place and therefore 3,000 richer we go to Team Andersen and Gravesen from Denmark who seen their entry Sasaline 706 crossing the line with a time of 126.96.36.199, Team Reno Nevada from the USA timed in there pigeon Chucho el Roto for 6th international and 2000 euro prize with a time of 188.8.131.52, just ahead of the Team of GBR Janssen timing in a second pigeon for 7th international for the Netherlands with pigeon Canela on 184.108.40.206, in 8th we see the team of Jozsef Kavocs from Hungary with pigeon Joco 2 on 11.31.22.00, claiming 9th international we then have team Team PRC & Batenburg from Belgium timing in pigeon named Channel on 11.31.24.05, and taking the 10th position is yet another Dutch arrival as Team Sjaak Buwalda with the arrival of his entry Frysian Dulcet on 11.32.01.65, rounding off the leading batch in 11th and 12th we have two arrivals for the Slovakian nation as Team Simon Urban with pigeon Portos and Team Wiedermann with pigeon Aurora timed in on 11.32.03.05 and 220.127.116.11
Team Martyn Jacobs from the Netherlands and pigeon Svip 2nd international final race
With the leading group all timed in there was a slight break in arrivals as we wait for the next arrivals, and a few minutes later at 11.44 we witnessed another small group of arrivals as followed with team Netherlands with pigeon Bruja for Team Bas Weijers on 18.104.22.168 in 13th, local participant representing the Tenerife Island in Team Jose Martin Gonzalez with pigeon Chinen on 22.214.171.124 for 14th position, Martyn Jacobs from the Netherlands sees his second arrival in pigeon Arnesby in 15th with a time of 126.96.36.199, for 16th position we see Team Will Curtis from England who has had a good campaign once again this year as his entry Ruby recorded a time of 188.8.131.52, in 17th Team Pec and Batonberg timed in their second arrival with pigeon Big Pav came through on 184.108.40.206, team Netherlands recorded yet another two Dutch entries for 18th and 19th positions with Team G.Heijnen & Zoon entry La Gomera in the clock on 220.127.116.11 followed in by Team Carlos Dominicus and pigeon Jigsy in 19th on 18.104.22.168 and as such Team Matuma takes the 20th position with pigeon Dex 22.214.171.124
Team Cuba and Team Yosvany Manuel & Yasmani 3rd international final race
With a steady flow of arrivals coming throughout the afternoon by around 4pm most of the congregation had dispersed back to their hotels and resorts some happy to have timed in some a little disappointed.. but this is the ultimate challenge in one loft racing it’s a tough and testing final flying over two open spans of Atlantic ocean, as the day came to close on day one thirty seven pigeons had overcome the test of the Arona race, as for “guess the time of the first arrival” Team Rasbull Wales who not only timed in themselves in 22nd place but also walked away with the proceeds being just two minutes away from the official time but 330 euro the richer
Pigeon Optimus Prime 4th international for Team Mugar Lucan
Pigeon Sassaline 5th international from Team Andersen and Gravesen Denmark
Team Reno Nevada USA 5th International with pigeon Chucho el Roto
Returning finalists from Fuerteventura
Sunday 27th and its gala time, a night when all winners from 2022 would be congratulated on their achievements, once again the Mare Nostrum resort was the venue for such night, with those attending the evening everyone congregated outside prior to doors opening wherein on entry each guest was welcomed by the Ledesma family and Arona team with the women gifted a red rose, which always goes down well, once seated Jose welcomed everyone to the evening as a trailer played of the recent day’s events at the loft in the background on large screens, following the formal welcome everyone was offered a buffet style meal which catered for everyone’s taste
Crowned Arona Champion 2022 Team Frapajo`s Belgium
The presentation, it was then the time to present the awards to those successful participants for 2022, but prior to this the team recognized previous winners present with their trophies that they had won in 2020 and 2021 but due to covid they were unable to be in Tenerife at the time of the final races, first up was Team Welsh Hopefuls for the runner up averages in 2020, the syndicate was followed by Paul and Christine Titcomb England for winning 5th international in last year’s final and Team Hendriksen from Denmark and Team Men of Gwent from Wales completed the back awards for trophies won in the 2021 hotspot races
3rd International Derby Arona final Team Yosvany Manuel & Yasmani Cuba
With that the 2022 winners were in turn called forward to receive their awards first up were those who had timed in this year’s final outside the trophy awards each were presented with a diploma of merit, to mark their achievement, with a full detailed one to follow in due course, then it was the top position awards for 1st 2nd and 3rd hotspot races in hotspot 1 1st international representing team Netherlands were Team Walcheren in 2nd position were Team Pec and Baonberg from Belgium followed in 3rd by Team Creemers & Son also from Belgium, in hotspot 2 winning 1st international from Belgium we see team Team Sint and Carisband Friends from Belgium claiming the winner’s trophy, Team Will Curtis from England taking the runner up award and trophy and in 3rd Team Jack Army from Wales who also receive the third place award, in the semifinal it was a 1st place award for Team Highfield Lofts from England, runner up went to Team Germany and Team Weichtmann and finally 3rd being claimed by Team Troysa from Slovakia
Team Creemers & Son Belgium
Team Henriksen Denmark receiving their awards
As for the averages well there were two running, first of all the King of the Atlantic were Team Jozsef Kavocs from Hungary claimed the top spot with pigeon Joco 2, recording 58,770 pts in runner up it was Team GBR Janssen and pigeon Canela on 57.720 pts and in 3rd Team Zetti Reinhold with pigeon Basia on 57,410
In the King of Sprint averages based on races from one to the final, the winner of this was Team Zettie Reinhold and pigeon Basia claiming its second average award on 76,886, in runner up position we have Team Martin Jacobs from the Netherlands with pigeon Svip on 76,249, and finally in 3rd its Team Diamond Ladies from Belgium with pigeon Dex on 76.035
Also in the latter part of the series there’s the knockout, this was won with the arrival in the final race by Team Martin Jacobs from the Netherlands with pigeon Svip
Danial Nash USA coordinator on his first visit to the Arona receiving his and fellow USA awards to take back with him
With most of the trophies claimed and presented to those present it was the moment we had all been waiting for as the winning syndicates from the 2022 final race were duly called forward in reverse order in 3rd winning the second runner up trophy from Cuba were Team Yosvany Manuel & Yasmani with pigeon Super Jada, in 2nd place and runner up final race were Team Martin Jacobs claiming another award with his entry Svip and finally with the Belgium national anthem playing Team Frapajo`s made the long walk to the stage to be crowned the Derby Arona champion of 2022
Pigeon Basia for Team Zetti Reinhold, Germany 1st international King of Sprint averages
Pigeon Joco 2 1st international King of Atlantic averages for Team Jozsef Kovacs Hungary
With all awards presented it was time for the entertainment this was in traditional canarian style with a canarian carnival band kicking things off followed by a group giving a mixture of modern and old classic songs until the early hours and as such bringing the curtain down on yet another eventful Derby Arona series
In the days that followed sadly only a further two pigeons had made the crossing from Fuerteventura to the disappointment of all concerned, but this is the Derby Arona challenge it’s a hard course and only a small percentage succeed the final task, but it’s what make this race so unique, as with success there often comes disappointment, but this race is based on bravery courage and the will to win this is by both pigeons and fanciers who take on the challenge annually.
The verification of the winning pigeon
As we say good bye to the 2021/22 series, our thoughts are now on the coming years entries, and with a relaxation on transport restrictions around the world it will make country coordinators duties a little easier, we’re hopeful that we can bring the numbers back up to pre covid levels, because the race has suffered over the past two years where countries were unable to get birds out to Tenerife in 2019 we hit a high of over 3,000 pigeons but this obviously dropped drastically and of course with less entries this impacted on the level of prizemoney which is available and of course with less income the plans for the new loft took a hit, but with hard work and determination to succeed and with continued support from old and new participants, all this can be resolved in the future
Before I leave you with some of the memories of the 2022 final, on a personal note I would like to take the opportunity of thanking the Arona team for the opportunity of covering the Derby Arona racing and loft reports during 2021/22 and of course everyone I’ve had the pleasure of highlighting during the past months, it’s back to domestic racing and planning shipping dates for the next chapter in the Derby Arona Tenerife one loft race 202/23
"Undoubtably one of the hardest one loft races in the world"
More memories of the derby Rona final 2022
As we conclude this year’s events there’s the matter of the winning pigeons going to auction, this will get underway from April 28th on the well-known site of www.pipa.be.
1st international final race 2nd international final race 3rd international final race
Until then on behalf of the Derby Arona organization headed by Jose, Abel and Glady Ledesma we hope to see you all in 2022/2023 for another year in Arona