News

Race Report - 2019-07-24

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    The final for VFWCPR took place on Friday 19th July from Rurgwe 619 km from the loft in the South East of Zimbabwe. Pigeons were basketed on Wednesday under scrutiny of external auditors and competitors present. The birds were fed before basketing and water was available in the transporter whilst basketing took place.

    Pigeons left for the liberation point that night and were fed and watered in Bulawayo the next morning (400km from Victoria Falls). The transporter stopped at 2pm on Thursday for their last feed which was light and had water for 1 hour before the transporter continued to the final destination. On arrival the birds were given water only and slept over at the liberation point.

    The pigeons were liberated at 7.30 am after a final watering. Skies were clear for the entire route and the birds flew into a head wind which was sometimes from the side. Temperatures were up to 29 degrees Celcius.

    The route is arid but there is surface water in 2 major river courses which flow towards the Zambezi river. Although it is the dry season and the rivers are not flowing there are permanent water pools in places along both rivers. The terrain is fairly flat with no mountain ranges en-route but the altitude varies by 540 meters (1772 feet) over the 619 km route. 3 of the returned pigeons were injured by hawks during the race.

    The race proved extremely difficult and there were no birds timed on the day. The winning pigeon bred by Rolf Berger from Germany “Miss Marple” was the first to arrive home at 06.59 the next morning 12 minutes after sunrise and 54 minutes ahead of the second pigeon. There was a steady stream of pigeons arriving home on day 2 with 165 recorded by dark. The pigeons continued to clock throughout day 3 with an extra 133 being recorded by dark.  The clock was stopped on Monday evening with a further 32 pigeons being timed. The total number of pigeons home before the clock was stopped is 322.

    Generally, the arriving pigeons were in fair condition despite the time taken to return. Pigeons have recovered quickly.

    When analysing the results and conditions throughout the season it is our feeling that the very fast races in the initial stages did not build sufficient stamina in the pigeons to cope with 10 hours or more on the wing. We believe that the pigeons went down and stopped flying on the first day because of the head wind, high temperature and hawk attacks. The pigeons close to the loft came early the next day.

    The prevailing wind is a tailwind during most of the season and only starts to swing to a headwind in later July. Our training will be adjusted for this coming season to cope with these conditions if they should arise.

    It is heart-breaking to see so many pigeons lost after all the care and attention given to them, but we know that conditions can be extremely difficult at Victoria Falls and although many very good pigeons didn’t make it, all those that did certainly proved their worth.

    All activated pigeons recorded in the race are being put on auction. The first 200 prize money winning pigeons plus approximately 10 others will be sold by PIPA and the balance will be sold on auction by I Dream Pigeons in USA (Frank McLaughlin). Pigeons will have to be quarantined for 30 days before export and spend a further period of 30 days or longer in quarantine at the countries of destination. We will advise when the sales will commence once we have exact details.

    Herewith an article by PIPA who attended our race:  https://www.pipa.be/en/newsandarticles/reports/available-top-30-pedigrees-published-rolf-berger-germany-wins-225000-us

    Congratulations to the first 200 prize money places:  https://www.victoriafallswcpr.com/results.php?opt=3&raceid=178

    Best regards

    The Victoria Falls Team