2020 the early part of the year we were all joking 20plenty and how true has that been, the year of 2020 will be remembered for many wrong reasons and even here at Carnival lofts after we eventually got the go ahead to race it has been a season of ups and downs. But mostly a season of really tough races and racing conditions!

The early part of the season saw clear skies, little to no wind and basically easy racing! The first time we actually spent the night out on the road with the pigeons was for the Ventersburg (208km) training way back on 17 July 2020.

The results that day was great returns and Marianne Kruger showed that she will be a force to be reckoned with this year, her team “Prada’s Pride” managed a first and second position that training flight. Winning velocity was a steady 1328mpm.

Race 1 the next week from Boschrand (272km) was another 1308mpm race, again Prada’s Pride won the race in 2nd, 3rd and 4th was the brothers Daniel & Hendrik Moller and in 5th Lamprecht Hokke!

Race 2 was from Verkeerdevlei (292km) a winning velocity of 1369mpm was achieved again by Prada’s Pride and this was her 3rd win in a row, Prada’s Pride was making waves by winning 3 in a row over 200km’s at an olr!! 2nd Pos went to Uncle Les Windle with his team La Toscana, 3rd Alroy Paulse, 4th Palm Ridge Odra oom Koot van der Walt and in 5th Jan & John VD Bos!

Race 3 Bloemfontein (360km) once a race point I loved became one of the toughest for this season and the day I think a lot of the young teams spirits were broken, a day when a very strong and cold north easterly would blow from liberation all the way back to the lofts, the winning velocity of 1073mpm I thought was a brilliant one as the conditions was not great at all that day! Well done to the little BB hen from Danie Scholtz Pigeons, she was also one of the last pigeons that was entered and only arrived here at the lofts in the middle of March. 2nd position Lamprecht Hokke also a great result for them, 3rd Quentin-Brett de Beer, 4th Petrus Harmzen, 5th GVR Hokke just some tongue in cheek humor directed at the two “brothers” Quentin and Petrus, you guys can clock in front on a short distance race as well!!!

This was also the end of the short distance races and the winner of the single bird as well as the all bird averages was Prada’s Pride (Marianne Kruger)! The ace pigeon short distances was the hen that won the Bloemfontein race from Danie Scholtz Pigeons!

Race 4 Tierpoort dam (406km), was flown on 17 August 2020 again we had a tough race with very strong cross winds and the winning pigeon of Lamprecht Hokke flew a velocity of 1185mpm, 2nd Pos was won by Wilcon, 3rd Pos Johnston Hokke, 4th and 5th Daniel & Hendrik Moller!!

Race 5 we stayed over at Trompsburg but due to heavy clouds we had to bring the pigeons back to Edenburg (422km), this was one day I still think we should have comeback another 60km’s but that is hindsight and now I cannot change history! The pigeons were liberated and about 3km’s after liberation on the horizon back there was a bank of clouds if you can call them clouds and the pigeons did not like it at all, turning back towards liberation a few times, the wind would also pick up to a strong north easterly en route back to the lofts, but horses for courses is the saying and the winning pigeon from Petrus Harmzen flew a winning velocity of 1051mpm, he actually cleaned up the podium by taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd from this race in 4th and 5th was Daniel & Hendrik Moller again!

Race 6 Springfontein (488km) and by now myself and most of the pigeons had enough of the bad weather and the winds blowing but it would not change and we were in for another tough day at the office, Rosa tried to make a video of the windmills on the way back to show how strong the cross winds was blowing but we could not capture it on video, and that was also the day I said I must become a windmill technician as more than half of the windmills are not in working conditions! The winning pigeon of Johnston Hokke flew a velocity of 1154mpm and had a clear break from the rest of the loft. 2nd Pos was won by GVR Hokke, 3rd Pos Pigeon Power (Arnold Kuys and partners) and in 4th and 5th Jagters with their pigeons bred by Rudolph Holtzhausen.

This was the end of the middle distance races and the winners of the single bird averages was brothers Hendrik & Daniel Moller, the winners of the all bird averages was uncle Andre and nephew James partnership who races as Johnston Hokke and the best bird on the middle distances was a young lady Chloe who races under Chloe’s Loft, well done Fabio on letting her pick this pigeon to enter.

Race 7 Noupoort (608km) when will have a clear day no wind and normal racing?? Not in 2020!! I and Alfred nearly froze that morning at Noupoort, driving down to Noupoort it was one of the hottest days and I bought an extra 30liters of water at Colesberg as the water we took with was finished by then! The pigeons drank a lot of water as it was close to 31 degrees driving down that day. That night the wind would start blowing from the south east and it would drop down to about 2degrees the next morning, this was going to be fast but definitely not easy as the cold cloudy weather was scattered all the way back to the loft. The winning 4pigeons that dropped together flew a velocity of 1561mpm, Pietersen Family Loft that has had a great run at the one lofts this season was the winners of Noupoort, they were followed in 2nd by Prada’s Pride and 3rd Johnston Hokke, 4th Pos was Jagters and 5th GVR Hokke.

Race 8 Colesberg (559km) another day that have I know what lies behind the mountain I would probably have driven back to Gariep dam or even closer but by now the team have learned all the overnight stops and would return later if not back in time for feeding the afternoon. The winning pigeon and definitely the fastest trap of the year was the little hen from GVR Hokke with a winning velocity of 1152mpm, 2nd Pos went to JJJ van der Linde, 3rd Quentin-Brett de Beer, 4th Dinokeng Lofts and in 5th Gilbert & Bruin.

That was the top performers on the 8 races so far this season, what will tomorrow hold?? Who knows the current leaders on the single bird averages is Prada’s Pride followed in 2nd Pos by Johnston Hokke and GVR Hokke 3rd, the all bird averages are being led by Johnston Hokke followed by Quentin-Brett de Beer and again in 3rd Pos is GVR Hokke. The long distance ace pigeons in the lead are 1st GVR Hokke, 2nd JJJ van der Linde and in 3rd Prada’s Pride. And the overall ace pigeons going into the final race are Prada’s Pride with a phenomenal pigeon that won race 1 and has been 2nd from Noupoort and 8th on Colesberg! The 2nd pigeon on the leader board is one from GVR Hokke and 3rd as well as 4th are from Johnston Hokke with Quentin-Brett de Beer in 5th good luck to everyone still in the running on the various averages and ace pigeons! It has been a very tough season and to every pigeon in the trailer today going down to Hanover I have done the best I could to have you in the best possible condition to race this final race tomorrow! The average winning velocity for the Ventersburg plus the 8 races so far has been 1240mpm, the averages velocity for all trainings plus races (20 liberations in total) has been 1115mpm. It will not be an easy race with the midday temperatures going into the low 30’s between Bloemfontein and the lofts. I am expecting a good 9 to 10hours on the wing for the first pigeons tomorrow.

To the team that is as tough as they can come in the baskets on their way to Hanover. I will be waiting for you tomorrow and as always day two as well, I am not there on the road to feed and water you but I know Alfred will take care of you and make sure you get fed and watered! Oom Nic has been entrusted to drive you down to Hanover a road he knows well as he has been doing this for a long time, driving not only for us here at Carnival Lofts but being the assistant on the TRPF truck for a few years, you are in good hands!  If I look at the weather the normal strong cross winds will be on your way home again, but fear not as this will be last cross winds you encounter for this season! I wish you all the best of luck and may you follow each other home and fight the odds as a team till the final stretch when the character and blood will rise to the fore and bring glory to his/her owner! To the fanciers who entered all the best for tomorrow’s final race! Let us all be proud of this team of pigeons that has fought off all the different weather conditions that has been thrown at them and still have the guts to compete once more!