Frequently Asked Questions
Through the year we get asked many questions both via the internet and in person. Below is a Frequently Asked Questions section of the most common questions we get asked.
Why did the race move from Sun City?
Our lease expired and was not renewed by Sun International.
Why was one loft closed during a training flight?
This was to prevent overcrowding of the lofts when the pigeons return.
In 2015 it was decided to modify the lofts and join the two lofts in the middle and to move the trap banks to this new middle section. Effectively this means that the loft occupancy can be now control from inside once the pigeons have been clocked.
How many pigeons can the lofts hold?
The two lofts have sufficient perches to quarantine just over 12000 pigeons, however we prefer to not have more than 8000 pigeons in the lofts. This gives the pigeons enough space and a selection of which perch they prefer.
Are the electronic rings checked during the race season?
Through the years we noticed that electronic rings do fail from time to time. Internationally the accepted norm is that 1 in 1000 rings will fail. To counter this we do four ring checks during the season.
- Before the rings are allocated to the pigeons
- In the first week of October before road training starts
- Before the first Hot Spot Car Race
- At basketing of the pigeons for the main race
In the 2016 season we will be adding an addition check into the schedule between the third and fourth Hot Spot Car Race.
Is it possible for a pigeon to not be read by the traps?
No. We use a dual clocking system to time in the pigeons. This means that every pigeon has to walk over two sets of traps before entering the lofts.
Training and results
Are the published training flights the only flights the pigeons have?
Training takes place every day of the week with the exception of Sundays and after longer training flights.
Why are some race results not up dated the next day?
Our standard policy is that if less than 95% of the pigeons are safely home the result is continued the next day.
Are hours of darkness used?
As we are a one loft race it is not needed to use hours of darkness. In many instances we have pigeons returning after sun set and these pigeons are placed according to the time they arrive.
Why are there no training flights during the middle of the day?
One of the restrictions placed on us is that pigeons may not be liberated if the temperature exceeds 26’C or is expected to exceed 26’C within an hour of liberation.
What security is in place to ensure no favouritism from the loft staff?
After quarantine all the pigeon’s identification rings are sealed preventing those working with the pigeons knowing which pigeon is which. Likewise those that deal with the administration have no access to the pigeons.
Obviously the loft staff and trainers do recognise certain pigeons from their colouration but only find out who the pigeon belongs to at basketing of the pigeons for the main race.
Why is Live Stream delayed on some computers?
Live Stream is an amazing innovation which is based in the United States.† This technology allows us to broadcast training flights and the main race however because it is internet based, depending on the viewer’s internet connection there is a delay. In some countries it can be as little as 5 seconds going up to about a minute delay.
Why does it take a few minutes to update the results on short training flights?
The timing system we use is one of the most secure in the world in that it stores all the arrival times and then transmits this information to the Loft PC. This system is both secure and reliable but has a slight speed issue transferring the information to the Loft PC.
If there are only a few pigeons the transfer goes fast, but when more than 400 arrive at in a short time span, it can take up to four minutes for the Loft PC to download the information.
For security reasons the Loft PC is a totally stand-alone system and only transfers the arrival times to the Administration PC via a secure internet data transfer. Once this is done the race file is up loaded to the secure server and then verified and processed to produce the result. Unfortunately this all takes a bit of time and can delay the result by a few minutes.
How are the averages calculated?
We researched many ways to calculate averages when the race was step up initially, from coefficient methods to position methods traditionally used in club racing. All of these methods did not represent a fair result as a pigeon could be 25 seconds behind the first pigeon and be placed in position 3000.
To counter this we use a time based rather than position based system as all pigeons are returning to the same loft. All the averages calculated in the MDPR are based on the time the pigeon takes to complete the flight and ignores the distance of the flight.
Are late returns from training flights treated differently or are they simply put back in training?
All late returning pigeons are kept in a separate compartment after each training flight ñ the loft staff then inspect each pigeon to see if the reason for the late return is a loss of condition or just a mistake made on the day.
If it is due to a loss of condition the pigeon is treated as needed and removed from training for a few days. Once it is back in condition it is returned to the training of the other pigeons.
Are hens and cocks separated and trained differently?
All the pigeons are trained together and housed together.
If we find a pair trying to nest, the pigeons are separated into different compartments.
How is the order determined when arrival times are identical?
In cases like these, we work on the order in which the pigeons were captured on the OLS timing system. The OLS system has enough resolution to capture winners up to the nearest 5 milliseconds, but sometimes it still happens that an identical time is captured. In the internal workings of the system, there is still microsecond delay in between capturing the result and a fractional difference.
Why are some pigeons removed at basketing?
During the basketing our Vets assess any pigeons that the handlers and fanciers helping at basketing feel need to be checked. If the Vets agree the pigeon is not in a condition to complete the main race the pigeon is withdrawn from the main race and treated as a missing pigeon for the entrant.
Is the Race Director qualified as he is not an active pigeon fancier?
The title of Race Director not only covers the overseeing of the training of the pigeons through the loft manager and trainers but every other aspect of the race as well, from arranging quarantine, imports, auctions, statutory requirements, staff issues and a great many other functions around the race
Michael might not be a pigeon fancier, but has been involved with the race since it started and knows more about the ins and outs of this race than anyone else. He has not raced pigeons himself but has been involved with the administration of pigeon racing since the age of 18. He relies on the weekly meetings he has with the Vets and Loft Manager and trainers to make the decisions he needs to on the race. He has also built up a team of advisors globally and locally which he can call on if needed.
How can winners of the Hot Spot Car Races afford to buy such luxury cars?
Most of our entrants already have a car so the winnings are generally used to purchase a better one than they have.
Do any entrants get a discount for sending more pigeons?
No, all entrants pay the same entry fee per team regardless of the number of pigeons that are sent.
How is the breeder share of auction proceeds calculated?
The deduction for auction costs for the last three years has been 12%. This figure is taken off the total auction price and the balance is then split between the breeder and the race ñ so effectively 44% to each.
This 12% cost is made up of costs of auction venue hire for the main race, commissions given to auctioneers, cost of attending the auctions and the cost to ship the pigeons internally to the various venues.