Most South Australian pigeon flyers go a lifetime without winning an SAHPA race …

But Xuezhi (Rambo) Yang and Hongrui (Dennis) Gao did it in just five seasons in the sport.

They had placed 4th (twice) 7 th 8 th in the SAHPA before , but winning the SAHPA has always been their dream.

The North Suburban duo realised that goal when they won the Maree Open on Saturday August 1 (2020) – remarkably – with both men working away from home and with the winning bird timing itself.

Dennis arrived att he Loft around 1:30pm to find their bird in the clock and in the loft.

Their hen clocked at 1.27pm and 24 seconds, winning by 19 seconds from clubmate John-Paul Nicoli, with Stuart Hodgson (Glenelg) third.

The Nicoli pigeon clocked earlier than the winner, but the Yang and Gao bird had to travel almost an extra five kilometres, with entrants experiencing 20 to 25 mph NNW along their journey.

Dennis Gao is a part-time veterinary nurse and will graduate later this year with a degree in Animal Behaviour from Flinders University.

Rambo Yang, who is a handyman and removalist, has two sons, Geoffrey and Lucas, who race as SAHPA juniors (Yang Brothers).

Dennis met Rambo at the Pigeon Expo at the Adelaide Showgrounds in 2016, when Dennis was working as a volunteer interpreter, and they went on to form a great friendship and now extremely successful racing partnership

In 2016 Dennis flew his first season out of a small loft at the property where he was a homestay student, but the following year he shifted to new lofts Rambo built on his property, and they started buying birds at auction or getting them from other leading flyers.

Birds came from Tony Perkins, the Andrew Muirhead sale, Tim Fawcewtt’s site, and Bronte Andrewartha, Peter Burke, Leo Duits and others.

The key blood is Gaby – ex Muirhead/Vanderlinden, and Goodger/Janssen.

Saturday’s winner carries that blood.

The hen has been a consistent race hen, having been clocked 28th Association from Coober Pedy last year, 28th from Carrieton this year, and her half-sister finished fourth in the Association from Marla.

Both men have had busy years at work and their training schedule was cut back dramatically, with the birds locked in sometimes unable to loft fly, trips on the training truck were also fewer that last year.

Dennis did take the birds on some individual tosses but again on fewer occasions than in 2019.

He looks after the roadwork and the breeding, while Rambo feeds and waters the birds, and cleans the lofts.

Dennis is very appreciative of the work done by his flying partner.

He heard some times from other flyers on Saturday before driving to the Association hall and arriving at 7.20pm.

Dennis checked the online result and was amazed to see their bird leading.

He walked inside and told Rambo” We have a chance of winning” … Rambo said “Yes – the Club” …and Dennis said, “No, the Association.

Its been a whirlwind since then, with congratulations coming from throughout the Association and from interstate with the duo thanking everyone for recognizing their win.