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Derby Arona - Gran Canaria Hotspot race 1 05-03-21

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Gran Canaria Hotspot race 1

(survival race )

Following a very difficult experience from sea training 1, and the expectations of a heavy calima storm heading towards the Canary Islands from the Sahara Desert and African coast in the coming days, the Team made a decision based on a few concerns of participants requests to go directly to Gran Canaria for the survival race, rather than the option of going back for another sea liberation, incorporating yet another late liberation due to ferry availability.  With this in mind the Team decided to fit in one more training flight from 30klm, the only distance with suitable weather due to the thinning calima the further north you go, still lingering over north Tenerife, whilst continuing with daily loft exercising the pigeons  to try and maintain their fitness for the testing challenges that laid ahead.

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Pigeon Zumba - Team Jürgen Stefaniszyn 1st international tr12

With 1,121 birds basketed and away for the short journey, we had confirmation that the pigeons were liberated at 11.20 into a light south westerly breeze with cloudy skies, by now with eleven previous flights everyone anticipated that this would be an easy outing for the entries.

With the clock moving towards forty minutes flying time the first arrivals recorded their presence at the loft, Team Germany take 1st international tr 12 with pigeon Zumba entered by Team Jürgen Stefaniszyn on the clock at, nation neighbors Belgium claim the runner up position with Team de Moor Gunther & Pierre entry Plastronneke 2 on, Team Essex Rockets representing Team England claim 1st uk and 3rd international position with their entry There Goes Butch on, narrowly ahead of Team Slovakia in 4th with pigeon Sifka for Team Kolm on, Team Netherlands take both 5th and 6th positions as pigeon Enno for Casper Lurvink edging in front with a time of, of fellow Dutch Team Brutus, Bennie & the pigeons Syn entry Arona Jos on, for 7th international we return to Team Germany with the Sandras Family Teams entry Mara clocking in on, and as a result holding Team Belgium in Segers & Coppens entry Murphy in 9th with a time of, second arrival for Team Casper Lurvink Nubinus from the Netherlands takes 9th with pigeon Nubiinus on and to finish off today’s top ten positions we head to England as new participants Team Harding brothers make a top flight position in 10th on a time of with pigeon Sky Spirit.

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Team de Moor Gunther & Pierre entry Plastronneke 2 2nd international tr12

As expected after a number of training flight behind them now, some more testing than what we would expect at this stage, the remainder of the pigeons came in numerous batch without problems to report except for a few late arrivals and a small number missing on the day totaling 1,111 home from the 1211 liberated, with the ten absentees making it back the following day everything seem good as the all birds  had now overcome the sea training and made light work of this short spin and were now being prepared to go ahead to the first hotspot flight from Gran Canaria.

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Essex Rockets Team England 1st UK and 3rd international with their entry There Goes Butch

In the days that followed the team monitored the forecast as the calima made its way eastwards in  preparation of the first money race with hotspot race 1 (survival race ) from Gran Canaria a distance of approx. 100 klm of water.

With the 1,211 birds ready and the basketing list produced the convoy made its journey north to the Porto Sant Cruz for the late afternoon Fred Olsen crossing to Gran Canaria, after disembarking shortly after 4pm they made a steady drive to the liberation site with just enough time to rest the pigeons after their journey and offer them water as the sun went down.

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Birds on site early evening and left to rest overnight.

For those who have entered this one loft race for the first time, this is a liberation that holds many factors of bravery for the pigeons, due to the fact that it’s the first time that they will see the mass of the Atlantic Ocean before them, of which they’re expected to face following the liberation.  It’s where they have to build up the courage to break from land below and head out in the direction of the home lands of Tenerife some 95 klm of continuous water, a race that over many years has resulted in many entries being more than reluctant to face at the first or many attempts, each year we we’ve watched video footage of batches going out to sea to a certain distance only to be seen returning to land, this they do at various times until they have the courage to continue in their plight to cross over and as a result contributes to the unique losses that we contribute to what the name says "the survival race" and therefore as a result, some pigeons will face the challenge others are more content to stay in Gran Canaria for hours or even days until such time they decide face their fears. 

The survival race from the official race point used by local federations in the small village of Punta Sardina is a major event in the race plan, as we move closer to the final, its where pedigrees and origin of many winners’ accounts for very little in today’s race as it’s the will power, bravery and determination of the birds which are now in the baskets that are tested to the extreme to achieve the goal set before them, ironically once completed they seem to face the following liberations with less hesitation than the first time of asking .

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Sunrise liberation day.  

With the sun rising shortly after 7am and with broken blue skies behind them, and a clear line ahead the convoy were liberated in the cool of the morning at 08.30 into a light north easterly wind with temperatures forecast to increase to a high of 30 as the day went on.

Following the liberation the birds broke into a number of smaller batches, of which some could be seen hugging the Gran Canaria coastline, whilst others opted to gain height and on doing so edging their way forward in their adventure to advance towards Tenerife… still a little nervous… but heading the right direction, looking out to sea on the release video it’s clear to see that one or two bunches had made their line and were soon out over the horizon out of sight, whilst other continued to circle around the liberation site, clearly not prepared to move forward, this continued for nearly 30 min until such time that the final group flew behind one of the mountain ridges, as the transporter left on its return journey.

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Meanwhile whilst all the activity was going on at the lib site, at the loft, the livestream was up and running as always covering the final stages with the usual predictions and reports on previous years’ time of first arrivals of 1hr 15min being used as a guideline to expect todays first pigeons.

With the clock showing 1 hour 23 min the first and bravest pigeons, as in not hanging about following liberation, were seen on approach heading to the loft near enough on the times.

Survival race winners Team Soepboer from the Netherlands with their entry Salt 2

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Taking top honors of 1st international Derby Arona hotspot race 1 and therefore claiming the 6,000 euro prize and winner’s trophy we go to last year’s final race winners Team Soepboer from the Netherlands with their entry Salt 2 timing in at (flying time 1hr 23min) taking 2nd International 1st UK  and 1,000 euro prize, we see the Welsh Syndicate of Team Men of Gwent Syndicate with pigeon Somerset Girl timing in on, Team England take 3rd international with Mark Gilbert welcoming home his entry Southfield Hartis on and also collecting a 750 euro payout for its endeavors, with the prizes going down 20th positions 4th to 10th each will receive an equal share of 220 each as Team Tinks Treasures takes the 4th spot presenting England with pigeon Arona Anouk timing in on,Team Belgium take the 5th and 6th positions with Team Creemers & Zoon claiming the 5th spot with pigeon Colin on followed by Marc De Cock with pigeon Charles 390 in 6th on, Team Lesley Craven claims 7th international with Team England’s third arrival with her entry Shergar on the clock on whilst the winning nation of the Netherlands record their second arrival for 8th in the form of Team Hein van Dam and pigeon Anneke, Team Mohamede-Rida-Karim from Granada takes 9th with pigeon Lyphard, on, leaving the 10th spot for Team de Moor Gunther & Pierre in yet another top ten position as pigeon Zorro came through for them on

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Team Men of Gwent Wales 1st uk 2nd international survival race with Somerset Girl

With the top ten congratulated there’s additional prizes to be awarded to the pigeons that came in positions from 11th to 20th each of which will receive 100 euro into their accounts these were in 11th Team Maria & Hubert Bramkamp from Germany with pigeon Spork6, Team Warzone from Gran Canaria in 12th with pigeon Berlin, Team Top Wing England and pigeon Corleone in 13th, Team Veenstra pigeons from the Netherlands with pigeon Kazan in 14th followed by a second pigeon for Marc Decock in 15th with Charles 402, Team Ifj Ferge Miklos jnr from Hungary with pigeon BML 16 takes 16th, Team Kingsway Lofts Scotland in 17th with pigeon The Runt, whilst 18th goes to Team Slovakia with pigeon Arona 15 for Team Sadlak, Vendelin & Andrej Team Austria takes 19th with Team Kutesa with pigeon Eastern Promise... holding Tinks Treasures England in 20th with pigeon Chloe.

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Mark Gilbert, England 2nd UK, 3rd international survival race with his entry Southfield Hartis

With the first pigeons recorded and with numerous smaller numbers continuing to arrive we no doubt thought that the outcome from this year’s first Gran Canaria race was to be a unique event in relation to returns, however once again as the day wore on the numbers were only rising by the individual pigeon coming through after midday and through the afternoon with a disappointing 388 at in the loft at nightfall.

Day 2 and with first light and the livestream continuing to monitor the trap we were expecting an early flurry of pigeons once they made their decision to come across the water as the first arrival made its appearance at 08:30 and then allowing time for birds to fly from Gran Canaria, once again once they started to appear there seemed to be some clear gaps between arrivals as a further 40 or so pigeons made their way across during day 2, these numbers were raised slightly on day 3 and four with an additional four pigeons showing up on day 5 bringing the numbers and percentage up to 448 and 39.8%

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Team Sadlak Vendelin & Andrej pigeon Arona 04 current king of sprint average leaders.

In addition to the race result there`s also two averages running, the first being the King of Sprint which covers positions from the first race through to the final, the top spot in this is currently being held by Team Sadlak Vendelin & Andrej with pigeon Arona 04 on 29119 pts also accompanied by another of their entries in 3rd Arona 15 on 28184, divided by Team Armarno soto racing pigeon loft from Mexico with his entry Iona on 28235 in 2nd.

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Marc de cock of Belgium with pigeon Charles 390 current King of Atlantic averages leader.

Also now showing movement is the King of the Atlantic this runs for every race staged on or over the Atlantic currently in pole position following two events is Marc de Cock of Belgium with pigeon Charles 390. on 11560, 2nd is held by Team Kutlesa with pigeon Eastern Promise from Austria on 11532 and in 3rd its again pigeon Iona for Team Armano soto racing pigeon loft Mexico 11478pts.

Prize money for the final.

As were all aware during 2020 the world came to a near standstill due to the covid 19 pandemic and with such this proved to give worldwide Co-Ordinator’s severe problems with getting birds shipped  into the lofts in Tenerife due to cancelled or no flights available as a result of Spanish government imposed restrictions, this also played its part in that the lofts were over to become over 1000 pigeons less than the previous years activated and as such has impacted the final race prize, this now due to the clear fall in income has been set as per the rules at 50,000 euro for 1st etc. a full list of prizes are available at

Looking forward to 2021/22 the Team are also considering at making some major alterations to next year’s training plan and alternative entry options to try and overcome several issues which has hampered this year’s series, some of which have been raised by some of this year’s entrants...