Well once again The South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race is entering another new era in its 21 year history. After spending its first 16 years in Sun City, then moving to Linbro Park for the next few 4 years a decision had to be made to move the lofts because of the massive industrial units that were being built right up to the side of the lofts. This in itself made it very difficult to fly the pigeons around the lofts, so it was finally decided to look for a new long term venue.
So recently, I flew out to South Africa on South African Airways with Lee Fribbins (Editor of The Racing Pigeon & The Racing Pigeon Pictorial) and Carly Huggins (The Racing Pigeon) to view the new loft site and the new venue for The 21st South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race. My International Press Release on the new venue has already been published in our weekly "BHW" and "RP". So this report is now being published so that all pigeon fanciers around the world can see photographs and information on the superb newly completed loft.
You will see in this International Press Release the various stages of building which of course has taken numerous months to complete. For the Race Organisers, Air Sport Internationale it is a dream come true and one they can be extremely proud of. This new loft will accommodate top class pigeons from literally all over the world for many years to come. This superb loft was constructed at great cost to Air Sport Internationale (The Presenters Of This Race), which shows their continued support for many years to come. It is great to see that this great international pigeon race is moving in to the future. You really do have to visit this area to see for yourself what a beautiful setting it is for such a prestigious pigeon race.
All I can say is that my first impressions of it were AWESOME, STUNNING, SUPERB, SPECTACULAR, OUTSTANDING, MAGNIFICENT, FANTASTIC and WONDERFUL.
VIEW OF THE NEW LOFT, NEARING COMPLETION.Please take a look at photographs in this report of how the loft building progressed. Of course the signage on the lofts and the landscaping still have to be completed but hopefully this will give pigeon fanciers all over the world the opportunity to see how the loft is looking at the present time. Once it is finally completed, I will of course issue further photographs for all to see.
THE NEW LOFT, UNDER CONSTRUCTION.After many trips to look at new venues Sara Blackshaw (Director of Air Sport International)(The Presenters of this Prestigious Race) a decision was reached to take the bull by the horns and start building a brand new state of the art loft in the grounds of the outstanding Heron Banks Golf & River Estate, Sasolburg, Free State, South Africa (www.heronbanks.co.za) which is situated right on the side of the Vaal River and only about a one hour drive from Johannesburg. The surroundings are stunning to say the least and the loft is set in beautiful natural parklands and the area offers an exclusive safe haven for the pigeons from all over the world. Once the site for the lofts was selected and the contract was signed and building permission was finally granted, the massive task of building a brand new state of the art pigeon loft to house some of the best pigeons in the world could proceed. The loft design was chosen, with input from Corrie Naude, Willi van Beers and Andre van Wyk (Loft Managers/Trainers) who have now all been involved with this great international race for many years. Their experience in past loft designs and alterations have taken the SAMDPR to new heights. Michael Holt (Race Director) and Pieter Saayman (Systems Administrator) also advised as they are both involved with the administration, clocking system, technical and computer side of the race. It was now time for the builders to start this massive project and a company in Johannesburg were selected to build the loft. First of all the facilities had to be laid on and as the loft site is a long way from the road and other services, this was a task in itself. Plans were put in to place and permission was granted. The first major job was to clear the site and get ready for building work to start, trees were cut down, the land was levelled and the foundations for the concrete base for the new loft was put down. The loft was built in sections in the factory in Johannesburg and then it was delivered by lorries to the loft site. By this time the metal loft supports were set in to the concrete base, these would raise the metal grilled floor of the loft about 1.2 metres off the concrete base, thus making it far easier to clean the pigeons out and also make the sections much cleaner and more hygienic. The builders and the loft staff working tirelessly to get as much done every day, all working extremely long hours to get the task completed on time for the arrival of all the pigeons from the Quarantine Lofts. WELL DONE TO ALL CONCERNED. The new loft was designed to face North and is laid out so that the pigeons can see out of the front of the loft and more importantly see and find the large entrance/trapping area, which is situated right in the middle of the 44 separate sections. The traps are also specifically designed in such a way that will allow the trainers to observe the pigeons coming into the lofts and then walk to their compartments from there. The decision to construct the lofts with steel was a no brainer as steel is the easiest to keep clean and to disinfect, ensuring a healthy and hygienic environment for the pigeons. A combination of plastic and wood V perches were installed which are more durable than the plain old wooden perches that were used in the Linbro Park lofts. These V perches are of course much easier to disinfect and keep clean, thereby also cutting out the regular maintenance that was needed at the Linbro Park lofts, as these were prone to break when cleaned and disinfected.
INSIDE THE LOFT LOOKING DOWN THE CORRIDOR.
THE NEW DECKING AT THE BACK OF THE ADMINISTRATION CENTRE OFFICES WHERE THE PIGEONS WILL BE LOADED ONTO THE TRANSPORTER/ S.
INSIDE ONE OF THE NEW CONSTRUCTED 2m x 6m SECTIONS. The metal buildings on top directly behind the entrance/trapping area are the Administration Centre Offices where all the clocking information data will go direct onto the Deister Unikon Electronic Clocking System and all the computers that are needed to run such a massive event. The lower metal buildings will be used for storage of the food and medication products for the pigeons during the racing season. There are also rooms available for the staff. Another interesting feature of this new loft is a raised loading bay at the back of the Administration Centre Offices which allows the pigeon transporter/s to be driven right up to the back of the loft and all the baskets can then be loaded on without having to struggle with stepladders to put the basket into place. This once again will save a tremendous amount of time and energy and cause less stress to the pigeons during basketing and loading on to the transporter/s. The new location of the loft will improve the homing process of the pigeons significantly as the Linbro Park lofts became surrounded by big buildings, which distracts the pigeons who saw them as a resting place. The new loft will be easier for the pigeons to home to because there are no high rise buildings or warehouses for the pigeons to settle on. This in theory should make it easier for the loft staff to train the pigeons and the change of location has syphoned off most of the obstacles that we had at Linbro Park. It is not only a benefit for the pigeons but for the staff who love the natural beauty, surroundings and stillness of the new setting .
THE ADMINISTRATION CENTRE OFFICES ON TOP WITH FOOD STORE BELOW.Other metal buildings for accommodation of the loft staff and outside toilets/showers are also situated behind the new loft. The whole area is fenced off and has a state of the art electronic security system. The new loft including the entrance/trapping area is over 100 metres long by 6 metres wide and has wire front and back which allows a constant air flow through the sections and the loft. Running the complete length of both sides of the loft is a one metre corridor which allows the pigeons to go to their preferred sections and also the loft staff to access each section separately.
THE NEW ENTRANCE/TRAPPING AREA BEING COMPLETED RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE ADMINISTRATION CENTRE OFFICES.There are 44 equal sized sections with 22 on both sides of the entrance/trapping area with a full length corridor running the full length. Each section measures two metres wide by six metres deep. Each section has 18 sets of 6 V perches on both sides, so this makes a total of 216 per section and a grand total of 9,504 V perches in the whole loft.
SOME OF THE INTERNATIONAL PIGEONS INSIDE ONE OF THE NEW SECTIONS.With quarantine now lifted and all the preparations done, we have gallantly moved all the pigeons into their new home. They seem to enjoy the serene, more natural surroundings, without the big city buildings and noises affecting them on a daily basis. Here the pigeons will be flying over open fields, beautiful wetlands and of course the age old Vaal River meandering its way through the stunning South African countryside. All the pigeons are now in the new loft and have now all been fitted with their electronic identification ring and soon the pigeons will be flying around the new loft and trapping back into their new home. It has once again been a remarkable year for this great international race and once again we have over 6,000 entries entered from 34 different countries and these are as follows:- Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States Of America. Numerous fanciers from other countries are also involved in syndicates or partnerships, once again making this 21st SAMDPR a truly international pigeon race. Breaking the pigeons to the new loft has already begun and the short training tosses will start around October 2016. You will be able to follow all the training tosses by logging onto the state of the art SAMDPR Website www.samdpr.com Regular updates will be posted on the dedicated website, so that fanciers/entrants can follow the progress of their own pigeons or any other fanciers/entrants pigeons. A full loft list usually goes on to the SAMDPR Website prior to the 1st Official Training Toss, so fanciers/entrants can see what pigeons are left in the loft. Keep your eyes open for this update, it will appear under THE RACE information, Results and Listings section at the bottom of the Home Page. A Training Schedule will also be available to view in the same section. More information can be seen in the LATEST NEWS section on the Home Page.
HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL IN SUNNY SOUTH AFRICA IN FEBRUARY 2017.Numerous more International Press Releases will follow over the next six months. Once the landscaping and signage on the lofts has been finally completed, I will prepare another International Press Release, so that fanciers/entrants or in fact anybody that is interested in following the race will be able to see what is actually happening in South Africa. LIVESTREAM will be available for all the Training Races, Hot Spot Car Races and of course the Final Race, this means that you will be able to sit in the comfort of your home or office and watch the pigeons arrive. Exciting times are once again ahead of us and one thing is for sure that the Organising Committee will not sit back on their laurels they will strive to move forward just like they have done over the past 20 years. The SAMDPR has built up a reputation that is second to none, that is why is known as "the Biggest and Greatest One Loft Race In The World Today", "The One With A Proven Track Record" and "The Race That Everybody In The World Would Love To Win". If you wish to book accommodation for this great race, you can do so by logging on to the SAMDPR Website www.samdpr.com and go to the bottom of the Home Page and hit the Accommodation button. You will see both 3 and 4 night packages available at very reasonable prices and these include all official functions and an extra river cruise and barbeque. Please book early as space will be at a premium. If you wish to take a look at what is on offer at the Emerald Resort, Casino and Hotel just log onto www.emeraldcasino.co.za This fabulous resort is situated in Vanderbijlpark, Gautang, right on the opposite side of the Vaal River. A boat will be available to take people backwards and forwards to the new loft. Air Sport Internationale have taken all the hotel rooms and all bookings must be done through Deirdre Kallmeyer from African Olive Travel Concepts (www.africanolivetravelconcepts.co.za or www.aotc.co.za) or email her at deirdre africanoliveconcepts.co.za
THE NEW COMPLETED SAMDPR LOFT AT HERON BANKS GOLF & RIVER ESTATE WITH ALL THE PIGEONS INSIDE.This last photograph arrived just as I had finished my International Press Release, so I have added at the end of this report. Good luck to all fanciers/entrants during the 2016/17 race series. If you wish to know any more information on this international pigeon race please contact me:-Paul Smith, United Kingdom Race Team Co-ordinator/Shipper and International Race Co-ordinator for The 21st South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race, which is due to be held at Heron Banks Golf & River Estate and Emerald Resort, Hotel & Casino on Saturday 4th February 2017. Regency Lofts Limited, 2, Highmead, off Coltsfield, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex. CM24 8LJ. England. Tel/Fax:- 01279-812005. (Int. Code:- +44-1279-812005), Mobile:- 07860-568216. Email Address:- firstname.lastname@example.org Regency Lofts Website:- www.regencylofts.corn Skype Address:- talbot7944 Twitter Address:- PaulSmith@SmithReglofts The South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race Website:- www.samdpr.com ]]>