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Derby Arona Semi Final 20-03-18




400+ brave and courageous pigeons over  25 races with  a combined       

distance of 1500 klm over land and sea compete for this year european record winners prize of  120,000euro


 so here we are at the penultimate race of the year and the semi final from the island of fuerteventura ,since early december twice a week the entries have overcome various stages of training including short island flights mid atlantic and island to island racing over the open atlantic ocean  to reach the lofts in the south of tenerife 

but now were at the ultimate test for the entries in the form  of a double island flight from fuerteventura to tenerife taking in ,the liberation on the western coastline of the island flying out in the direction of gran canaria and after crossing over the short land span they again head over the second leg of their water crossing to tenerife 


The birds at santa cruz waiting for boarding 


with 630 birds safely basketed they made the drive north on monday afternoon to the port of porto santa cruz where they boarded the crossing to the neighbouring island of gran canaria,after disembarking they then made the island crossing from west to east to meet up with the second atlantic sailing to fuerteventura and the steady drive south to morro jaba the liberation site for the semi final 

with the pigeons nicely settled on site around midday tuesday they were watered and fed and left ,overnight looking out overseas  in preparation for the planned liberation on wednesday morning  

day break on the island of fuerteventura, soon came and with it with the rising of the warm canarina sun which soon burnt off any lingering early morning mist ..abel ledesma and his trusted travelling companion  jose Gregorio have done a stirling job in the loft management and convoying duties throughout the campaign on our behalf and the arona race  once again 





at the planned time of 08.15 in a light north westerly breeze and clear blue skies  the strings were cut and the pigeons were airbourne and circling above in a number of batches orienting their direction for home 

after a few minutes and whilst everything was packed away in preparation for the long drive home the team reported  the largest  batch of pigeons were  disappearing  into the horizon heading home and on departing no other pigeons were visible within the visicinty which was pleasing to hear from a participants perspective.


team Ahmet cavadar (Turkey) 1st international semi final race 



1st international and car race 3 semi final winning pigeon kilic 


at the guaza lofts in south tenerife the arona team welcomed a few fanciers  who were holidays and early arrivals for the final race participants  from around the world to join them in the wait for the  pigeons as they returned, whilst on the internet things were  getting really busy as over three hundred fanciers on the lofts livestream and social media outlets were also sat looking in anticipation of see the first birds coming into focus and see who would be the third hotspot /car race winner of 2018.with  estimated times in and around 2 hours 45 min plus  being the favoured time by most


THE SEMI FINAL a testing route to cover 


as the estimated time slowly came and past everything went a little quiet as participants nervously kept a watchful eye on their screen knowing that anytime soon pigeons were  to appear and they weren't to be disappointed as just over the three hour mark a batch of approx 30 + pigeons appeared  over the loft roof racing for home  



2nd international car race 3 semi final Polska   Lukasz Sprycha (Nofretete)

taking 1st international and prestigious winner of car race 3 was team turkey with entrant Ahmet cavdar and  pigeon named  KILIC beat the rest over the line on a time of after 3 hours 5 min flying time and therefore winning the major prize in todays race  ,for 2nd and the 1,000 euro prize we stay in eastern europe as team poland and pigeon "nofretete" for team Lukasz Sprycha trapped on,in 3rd position and winning 500 euro and a lions share of the 4,000 euro nominations was team uk & ireland as pigeon named just the job for team murray and mills representing england entered the trap on 11.19.42 20,for 4th we head to austria as team garcia and nagelhofer`s pigeon pluto 2274, came in on, team gregg from slovakia takes the 5th spot with one of his entries greg 343 on a time of just ahead of the second arrival for team poland  and team tomasz wiczling with pigeon last chance,on in 6th  team Germany  take the 7th position with Team Aa. Perle entry wardend mags,hot on his eels were  fellow countrymen  team Volmer & Wilpers also representing germany take 8th position  with pigeon gargin on a time of,team czech republic take 9th with Team Rottovi Wendy & Frantisek and pigeon jednicka with and again in amongst the leaders are team alp from switzerland rounding off the leader board as their pigeon cozmo 


just the job 3rd international semi final race for team murray and mills 


john murray (murray and mills syndicate )


with the majority of the first batch safely within the confines of the loft ,over the next fifteen minutes or so there was 100 plus pigeons home and timed in ,as they continued to come in small batches which was pleasing as they have now secured there place in the forthcoming final,


current king of sprint leaders Team Evin Peter & Noemi

  During the  afternoon  more and more pigeons came through and as night fell in the canarian skies on day one  369 game and brave pigeons had overcome the biggest obstacle to date ,twice flying over the atlantic 

   As day two opened and the prospect of even more pigeons making the crossing  from 8.30 more pigeons worked in during the morning and afternoon ,but what was more pleasing to see was most  fanciers timing in at least  one arrival from their team to keep them in the race and on course for the ultimate goal in the final .. 

with a final figure of 401 pigeons home by the close of day 2 giving a 62% returns rate as we sit and type this report we see on day 3 more pigeons arriving and  registering on the clock  which only goes to show ,whilst the difficulty in the race is a paramount factor its  clear to see  the fitness and health of these galant pigeons is  again pushing them on, to return to the lofts 


current king of the atlantic leaders Team Garcia & Nagelhofer

The averages ..and with one race to go in the king of spring competition which cover all races from day one to the present ,there seems to be a clear leader as team  Team Evin Peter & Noemi and pigeon rachel 409 whom seem to have dominated over the past weeks remains in pole position with 55556 pts, in 2nd with 5,3467 pts we have team austria  and garcia and nagelhofer with pigeon venus 2271,and in 3rd is team netherlands  team goedee and pigeon boss ego has climbed into the top flight with 5,2607 pts

in the second average campaign where averages are accumulated within the hotspot races, team garcia and nagelhofer from austria are leading  with pigeon venus 2271 currently  the king of atlantic after 4 races with 28745pts just ahead of team netherlands and team vanden berg and general smurf with 28585 and in 3rd its  Team Volmer & Wilpers from germany with pigeon gargin and 28235 so with one race left it cannot get any closer to see who will be crowned next week as "king of the atlantic"


welcome evening in the company of the ledesma family 


with twice as many pigeons now in this years final compared to last year it goes to show the additional training programme implemented by the team this year has surely payed off and with that we must congratulate those fanciers and pigeons that have overcome the past 25 races to get to final stage of the race one ever said this was easy , but to get to the final is an achievement to compete and complete the final race is an honour in its own but to be one of the 400+ pigeons after  25 races completing  1500 klm over land and sea completed  is unmistakingly " the hardest race in the world "

The Arona Team preparing to welcome fanciers from around the world to the island of Tenerife 


so that's it as we all prepare to head off to warmer climates the arona team welcomes fanciers from all around the world for the final race and an atmosphere matched by no other as fanciers and organiser reflect on the past months of training and racing ,live basketing will take place on tuesday 21st march when you the fancier will be given the opportunity to be reunited with your pigeon/s prior to marking a procedure which takes many hours to complete after such the pigeons will depart under the guard of an independent  security firm who will accompany the pigeons throughout the transport to the liberation site in fuerteventura and carry out the cutting of the basket seals prior to release this ensures the 100% transparency and trust and protects the reputation of the race from the start to finish 



               The gala evening packed with local entertainment 

from there we have the welcome evening hosted by the ledesma family at a top canarian restaurant serving traditional canarian menus at a cost of 30 euro per person including return transport to and from the zentral hotel , of course following this we wake up to finals day and hopefully the weather will be kind and we can get the birds away early , again free transport is organised for your convenience to the loft from the zentral hotel in time to settle in and await the first arrivals and congratulate the winners,

all this years proceedings will come to a close on the saturday night as we join together to congratulate the winners from the hotspot races and the final race at the gala evening at the mare nostrum resort in playa las americas when we will be accompanied with the traditional menu buffet to suit all tastes and nationalities and of course the entertainment which will take us into the early hours  

the 2018/19 season will be underway shortly after the final race when the doors open for entries early april through to october so to be part of the hardest one loft races in the world ..with an 100 % track record for honesty and information contact your local country coordinator for costings and shipping dates 


this of course  will be my final report for the current year apart from the final weeks events so a big thank you to everyone for your support during the past weeks and the continuous support and trust of  team arona for giving me the opportunity to highlight the highs and lows of each race as it happened 

so all that remains  for myself self and gaynor now accompanied by many local fanciers is to head off   to tenerife  for the final race , also once again  it appears by popular demand the local hotspot for fanciers  in the build up to the race during the evenings , will again be the popular chieftain (irish )bar in playa las americas .. so to all travelling ..

as they say SEE YOU THERE !!

Tom Harris