One Loft Racing by Team Ulrich Lemmens

In 2018/2019 Ulrich got infected by the One Loft Race blood. He barely heard from it before, but because of his USA friends he got catched. First they formed Dream Team USA (Carter-Don-Larry-Tim), which is a fantastic way for friends around the globe to share pigeonsport. They would choose a race, participate and than travel together to see the final. Amazing times Ulrich said! Later on he formed a partnership with Tim Macken (USA) and than he stands on his own in this big One Loft Race community.

With Dream Team USA immediately the first succes came along. They decided to participate in the Pattaya OLR 2018 and had a fantastic result in the final with 30, 75, 148, 210, 333 and 5/5  back! 100% score! As they where traveling they send to the TGPR in Bangkok as well with a super result in Semi-Final winning 3° and 12° Place in that extreme hard race. On top of this Ulrich won 6° Ace Pigeon Golden Algarve 2018 as well.

In 2019 these marvelous results where backed up with an incredible performance together with Timothy Macken.
3°, 19°, 29°, 55°, 61°, 92°, 96° Final Race MOLEDO OLR 504km
1° Ace Pigeon Points MOLEDO OLR Portugal
1° Ace Pigeon Grand Avarages MOLEDO OLR Portugal with
1, 16, 19, 59, 79, … SEMI-FINAL 304KM Atlantic Coast OLR Portugal

The first super bird of the OLR Gust Dynasty was born.
6083550-2019 “Moledo Master”
6° RACE II 200KM !
Moledo Master is considered one of the best one loft race birds ever in Portugal. He was bought afterwards by SG Steffl (Germany) and his now a top breeder in their OLR Loft.

Ulrich what does atrack you so much in One Loft Racing?
Well in theory it’s the best thing that could happen to pigeonsport. It gives me the chance to compete not only with Belgians but with top fanciers all over the world. People send there best to “win the money”. It’s nice to travel to a final race, the atmosphere is always dynamic. The biggest benefit of One Loft Racing is offcourse that all birds get same treatment, so no skills atached. The best bird wins, it’s that simple. On top of that you have races with a 50 EUR entrance fee or a 1500 EUR entrance fee, so everybody will find something in his budget or likes.

How do you personal look at these One Loft Races?
For me it’s 100% fun, I get excited for a training or a final race. I love to travel there to see the race, the birds, see the inverement. It’s a really nice gig for the family. As much as possible we switch on the television and watch arrivals on the Benzing page together with friends and cofee/cake. It’s hard to crack the code for OLR, luck stays the biggest factor in a race. I lost count how many times we missed on a big win just by trapping, part of the game (same in club racing). I love also the admin around it, every race, I don’t care 5km or a final I keep track of the results. I add it to my statistics and to the pedigrees. Every performance in the top 10% is noted down, 100% transparant: Training/Hot Spot/(Semi-)Final are listed like that. I just get a trill out of clocking a top bird on a short race with 100s trapping together. For me it’s like a roulette in Vegas. It’s all about having fun, excitement and sharing it with your best friends.

Do you have a special way to prepare for OLR?
Not really, the best way to attend a OLR is to outnumber your competitors, it’s like a lottery, the more tickets you buy, the more chances you’ll have. But it’s still not a guarantee. I try to send my youngsters as soon as possible, so most go already on 30-35 days of age, cause I don’t like to keep them to long.  I just breed a round and send, no selection in hand or anything. I have done that in the past, my “TEAM A” would be my 5 favorites … But when you look how many times Team A did well … you know how much I know about pigeons…. It’s also most of the times I send o test pairs, cause the proven once I need for racing in Belgium or for business. All birds are vacinated ROTA + PMV when weened. They do stay untill shipment with the parents. So they are not split before. No pills or pulled feathers or anythung when sending …

2020 The First real TOP YEAR
1° FINAL RACE Moledo OLR 435km Portugal (First drop)
1° Champion Overal Derby Algarve Winter 2020 !!
2°, 3°, 6°, 18° Ace Pigeon Overal Derby Algarve Winter 2020
1° Champion Sprint Winter Derby Algarve 2020
2°, 3°, 6°, 19°, 37° Ace Pigeon Sprint Derby Algarve 2020

Amazing results, on top of that you ended the year as 10° Worldchampion FCI.
Thank you, it was indeed a good year. Sometimes you’re dissapointed and sometimes out of the moon happy. Winning Moledo was one with mixed feelings, cause few birds trapped together and the win was split. I would have loved to be just all olone on the drop. But hey, winning is winning, I’ll take it any day. The FCI championship I really don’t care about. First of all, the more FCI races you send to, the more chances you have and we just send to a very limited number of races, so no chance to win it all. On top of that I really don’t like that “FCI” organisation. The idea behind the FCI is fantastic, a group to control the integrity and honesty of a race. They earn big money by signing OLRs to there franchise. But in reality, it’s not more than a small group of elite people traveling and partying on the expense of normal pigeon fanciers. One Loft Racing urgently need a organisation that has a rulebook and the right people to check those races. Honesty and transparancy are key to one loft racing and those people should follow these races. When money is involved it can’t be strict enough !!!

Year 2021
1° Ace Pigeon Overall Derby Algarve Winter (Pt)
1° Prize Final Race Europastar Spain
7° Final Race Derby Istanbul Turkey + 11° Ace Pigeon !
10° Final Race As Golden Greece
16, 48, 75, 80, 82, 88, 124, 157, … Final Race Derby Algarve Winter (Pt)
24° Final Race Derby Sofia Bulgaria + 20° Ace Pigeon !
27° + 40 + 96 + 141 Final Race Costa Del Son Spain + 13° Ace Pigeon !
37° Final + 44° Super Final Derby Zagreb Croatia  + 5° Super Ace !

Another year another win !
The race in Spain was not the biggest one, but oh so though! The winner only arrived the NEXT day ! I visited the race afterwards and the mountains and course for this pigeons makes it extremely hard on them. But for me the most important win was the 1° Ace Pigeon in Winter Algarve. The year before we won the championship and a bunch of top aces (with two nestmates in top 10 it was fantastic) so it was a great feeling to put the cherry on the pie. Also in the other OLRs we send too we had top birds in the final race and top aces, so really satisfied about that.

BE6176338-2021 “DERBY ACE GUST”
1° Ace Pigeon Overall ( Started 2060 Pigeons)
1° Ace Pigeon Sprint
7° Ace Pigeon Middle Distance
82° Final Race 486km
85° Semi-Final Race 382km
36° Quarter-Final Race 310km
5 – 1667 Training 150km
10 – 1512 Hot Spot
14 – 1731 Training 120km
16 – 1553 Hot Spot
27 – 1425 Hot Spot
@D. Algarve Olr (Pt)

After “Moledo Master” another incredible pigeon for Team Lemmens !

1° Final Costa Del Sol Winter !!
1° + 4° + 6° Ace Pigeon Derby Algarve Winter Portugal
2° Ace Pigeon Grand Avarages As Greece Winter
3° + 21° Ace Pigeon Overall Costa Del Sol (Es)
3° Final Race As Greece Winter
7° Ace Pigeon Overall Costa De La Luz (Es)
15° Ace Pigeon Derby Algarve Summer (Pt)
2° Final Race 420km Derby Sofia (Bg) 2022 !
14, 16, 99, 119, 138, 168, … Final Race Derby Algarve Summer Race
16, 19, 64, 83, 89, 108, 140, 148, … Final Race Derby Algarve Winter Race
24, 28, 76, 95, 123, 153, 188, … Final Race Costa Del Sol (Es) 2022
27, 60, … Final Race Costa De La Luz (Es) 2022
11° Ace Pigeon Sprint As Greece (GR)
2° + 10° Semi-Final As Greece Winter !
3° Ace Long Distance As Greece Winter
4° + 14° Super Ace As Greece Winter

BE6221402-2022 “GREEK GOD GUST”
3° Place Final Race 480km
2° Place Semi-Final Race 325km
2° Ace Pigeon Grand Avarages
3° Ace Pigeon Long Distance
4° Super Ace Pigeon
22° Place Quarter Final
(Nestmate “401” won 2° + 9° Place in Hot Spot 1 & 4 !)

BE6221474-2022 “1° Ace”
1° Ace Pigeon Algarve Derby Winter Race !!
19° Final Race 486km 1116m/min
15° Semi-Final Race 1326m/min
39° Quater Final Race 1600m/min
23° + 28° + 99° in Hot Spot Races

Ulrich, this is what we call a GRAND CRU year. Amazing performances.
Thank you, we’re very pleased with all of this. It’s fantastic so see that in all races we participated have a top score this year, really didn’t expect that. But there is a big but, the one race I really had my hopes up, honestly I felt like the best birds I bred all year I had send to Golden Algarve Portugal and that was a total flop. With only 3 money birds (we send 50 !!) it was a big big dissapointment. I really can’t explain what went wrong, but a total failure of our team. The references in Golden softened the pain (1° + 3° Ace Pigeon Golden Algarve where “Gust-Line”.) Corabia the result was also terrible, but that I don’t really care about. The bad result at the Golden kept me awake at night. But hey … enough to be happy about, so chin up and we go take revenge next year.

1st Ace Pigeon Golden Algarve for SG Steffl has the royal blood of the Gust Dynasty in it.

Speacking about references ! WHAT A LIST !
Now that is something I am really proud of, not specific on the one loft races, but in general, if you see how many champions world wide are coming down from our “Gust-Blood”, that makes me extremely proud. We don’t have big numbers around the globe, it’s limited group that goes out each year. So that makes it extra special for me. This references it’s the biggest trill of pigeonsport for me, other people winning with my bloodlines and bragging how good they are. For example the Golden Algarve, I told you we did a bad job ourselfs, but 1st and 3rd ace pigeon of the best and biggest race in Europe have Gust-Blood in their veins. That makes me extremely proud! It’s getting impossible to keep track of all the references, I’ll just name a few here.

References of Lemmens-blood on one loft races !
1° Ace Pigeon PIONEER Club 2019 – Lu Jing
1° Place Final Race MIRA One Loft Race Portugal 2017 FCI – Pereira C & A
1° Place Final Race Grand Prix Sofia FCI 2017 – SG Steffl
1° Place Final Race Moledo Atlantic Coast Portugal 2020 – Lemmens Ulrich
1° Place Final Race Hoosier Classic 2015 – Don Riedel
1° Place Final Race Danish Pigeon Race FCI 2016 – Bjarte Alvaer
1° Place Final Race Hoosier Classic 2014 – Don Riedel
1° Place Final Race Costa Del Sol 2016 – Karl-Heinz Wichert
1° Place Final Race Grainbelt USA 2020 – Carter Mayotte
1° Place Final Race Giewont FCI Olr – Averesch Pigeons
1° Ace Pigeon Golden Algarve OLR 2022 – SG Steffl
1° Place Equal Final Race Hoosier Classic 2018 – Taranto Loft (USA)
1° Place Final Race Ukraine Masters 2020 – Michiel Averesch
1° Avarage Speed Ace Pigeon Sooner Challenge OLR USA 2019 – Joe Zarachowicz
1° Ace Pigeon Emirates OLR 2021 – Sharis Mousa
1° Place Grain Belt Classic 2016 – Jim Swierczek
1° Place French Young Bird Derby 2016 – Joe Elcoate
1° Ace Pigeon Danish Pigeon One Loft Race – Familie Joekel
1° Prize River Valley Roundup 2016 – Charlie Kuehl
1° Ace Pigeon Costa Del Sol 2016 – KH Wichert (DE)
1° Prize Equal Final Race Royal Cup California 2021 – Crazy AL (USA)
Car Winner Million Dollar Race – Engelbrecht Family

GUST – GUST – GUST … it’s unbelievable what this pigeon bred. Is he now also the key to your OLR Succes ?
Many years ago my friend Ian (Pipa) started a joke “Everybody needs a Gust” cause I talk so much about the Gust. But I feel he is right. I really think he was on point with that statement. The references speack from themselfs, I’ll run them against anybody. Plus Gust was never a commercial pigeon, never pushed by brookers, he just became the Gust because of results and people winnig with them, not more not less. Statisticly his breedingresults are just phenomenal. We never sold big quantities, so %-wise it’s even better than you think. Plus again, he was never commercialised, imagen if brookers would have “pushed him” or that top fanciers came for joint-breeding with there best hens. And still he became a “dynasty” … For me it’s the proudest thing in my life. The best and biggest tribute I ever could give to my grandfather “Gust Lemmens”.

Than to answer your question, Gust-blood is just extremely all round. Give them mountains, water, sprint, marathon it just doesn’t matter. When crossed they just make it happen. Gust is like the cream to your coffee. I won 70° National Barcelona with Gust blood, but the same birds won a sprint race 2 weeks prior to Barcelona. Impossible people say … no truth, proven and no, it was not a lucky shot as the year before she won 200° National Narbonne as a yearling. So as an example of all round skills this can count I think. The biggest strenght is that Gust just crosses so well … Look at my pedigrees, always Gust-line but always a different cross and most often with unknown top sprint birds. People like pedigrees, names and need them to show off, I only care about good birds and honest fanciers.

75, 96, 111, 113, 114, 147, 167, 172, … Final Race Algarve Derby Summer
190, 287, 611, … Final Race Golden Algarve Summer

Euhm only 2 races ??!!
Yes only 2 races and no winter races coming either. We had some big chances in our family life so we decided only to send to these two races with the idea, if everything settles it’s a nice holiday. And we sure had a hell of a time in Algarve passed october.

So what does the future bring?!
Like any other year the winter races suits us best, cause we need our first 3 rounds ourself to compete in Belgium. So to send top quality for us is more easy for the winter races. But the Golden Algarve is still big on my list (need to take revenge!!). So maybe we send a few to this race (also to have the excuse to travel there in october). So for 2024 I think it will be the same two summer races. And maybe if we have the birds we will send some more to winter races.

How should a perfect OLR look ?
Now that’s a good question! Like said above a OLR in is in “theory” the perfect way to compare birds all over the world with the same conditions, the best bird should win. But in reality it’s different. Most OLR don’t train the birds enough, they make some small races and hot spots and than make a jump to the final race, if the weather is tough you get disasters. The winners will claim it was for the best birds and the loozers complain about the training shedule.

Many trainings of 100-200km should be done.
Than 4 big races: 350 – 400 – 450 – 500km.
In between those races there can be a 150km training toss.  

The biggest prize money for me should go to the Ace Pigeons of these 4 races. The benefit also of a shedule like this is that if the weather isn’t good, you can change the dates. If they are trained well enough 2 days rest can be enough before the next big race. Than some nice prize money for 1st prize of each of the 4 winners.

For entertainment reasons I would also make a sprint ace pigeon where all 100-250km races are combined. Each race that comes on Benzing, the winner should get a picture of his winner so he can braig on social media and has a nice reminder of his winning bird. I don’t care the distance for this. It’s just fun!  

After the series, the top 10% can be sold, together with the 1st prize winners of each race and the top 10 sprint aces. All the other birds can be offered back to the owners. If the races are a real test of the quality of a pigeon, I don’t see the need to sell 1000th place of a race. If the owner wants to sell it, he can do it on it’s own. But this way we can stop flushing the marked with to many (bad) pigeons.

I would split the big prize money between the best pigeons and the most important winners. Nobody buys a lotery ticket to win 200 EUR. For these amounts businesswise it’s also more clever to give a away free entrances for the next season instead of low sums of money.

And most important like said above, we need an organisation that controls each race. The FCI should do that, but they only care about collecting money and traveling. Races that aren’t able to pay out a month after the race, should get a penalty, basketing, transport, release should be checked and monitored 24/7. We urgently need a real “quality label” for one loft races. OLR rise like mushrooms from the ground, because it’s an easy way to make a lot of money in a short period of time. To bad this often goes together with either a lack of knowledge about pigeons or a lack of knowledge about business and administration.

Thank you Ulrich for these open talk !
More than welcome!