D1SL Tsukuba…

On the schedule was always a D1 or Street Legal event, after watching so many option videos and you tube clips over the years we had pretty high expectations.

We planned to stay reasonably close without being too far from Tokyo. Yatsuka ended up being our destination, we arrived late in the afternoon. At check in we were invited to use the free bicycles the hotel had on offer, the best way to have a look around and pick somewhere good for dinner. About two blocks down we found a car yard with a decent euro range, a couple of rally cars and a trio of Renault Clio V6s with carbon fibre widebody.

They also had about six Lotus Elise under covers and a few other random cars. From there we headed to what looked like a small strip of restaurants. My girl Em suggested a small second story yakiniku restaurant, we couldn’t see anything more then the sign. Our thoughts were that being in a non tourist area a fair way from the city centre it would be a way of seeing the real Japanese way of life, well at least a restaurant without too much western influence.

While waiting for our meals we noticed some kids eating with their families who were looking at us and whispering, we soon realised that they were excited to see gaijin and they waved to us giggling as if it was a rare sight to see a pair of pasty white and freckly people. This is the Japan experience we were seeking out. To cut a long story short we were chatting with the owner and chef in very broken and simple translation finding they were surprised we would choose their restaurant to eat then proceeded to give their email and phone numbers to us in case we needed any assistance or translations.

Here’s a Calsonic R33gtr kids pedal car which was on our way back home. Take note of the rivited body kit and dislodged front bar, drifters start young in Japan.

The next morning we rose early to begin our journey, using a combination of Google maps and local rail maps we figured we would take a few trains then a cab to complete the journey. An hour later we had breakfast at a change over station then boarded a single car, 30 seat diesel locomotive which run on a single rail for the final leg.

We got chatting to an American guy then shared a cab to the track. Gitty like school girls as we approached the circuit pointing out cars in excitement to be dropped a short walk from the gate. Walking down the path which was between workshops and the outer area of the track we saw a few cool little sights and some nice street cars in the parking area.

Just through the gate it was easy to compare how much further the Japanese had developed their cars, not just crappy copied BN kits and drift teks.

There was a lot of detail and custom work for example the vents of an FD RX7 and alos look at the bonnet on this AE86, at first its nothing special then you notice the vent built into the back section.

I can count the amount of times I’ve seen a stock Honda NSX in person one one hand but this is the first that I have seen with decent wheels and to my excitement with a full drift setup.

Pulling me away from the cars was the scream of cars generating speed down the main straight, I quickly ran up the stands and took a breath of the tyre smoke infused 9 dgeree air. We rushed around to the main judging corner to watch a few rounds of free practice.

The fence was reasonably full even at 8am so we decided to grab a spot next to a 30 something couple who had a mat out reserving their area, within seconds the invited us to share their space as we joined them in cheering for the D1 demo which was on soon after.

The idea was to run a top SL 32 based on qualifying. Then between the best 8 and finals the top 8 D1 drivers from the recently completed season put on a display competition. As the season was over and they drivers were just out for fun it was an awesome opportunity to see them relax a bit and push the boundaries without the worries of going off track or making contact. There were plenty of follow runs which were cut over the inside apron of about 1m. When I say cut rear wheels were dropping of the inside edge and the commentators were suitably in hysterics. Another worthwhile mention was Nomura ken making contact around the preparation corner which wasn’t even in the judging section, in the spirit of the day they reran with no penalty deducted.

There’s plenty of  websites and blogs that list battle by battle what happened so theres no point making another so I’ll finish with a bunch of pit lane pics .

These were actually work wheels, the owner just drew over the embossing with a paint pen.

The only laurel in the field, and one of the hottest cars present had issues in he rear end, causing it to constantly skip both rear wheels when the handbrake engaged or power was down.
The origin 180 held me up for quite a while, its whole body including the bodykit was carbon then the roof and some other details were covered in a leather like material, very impressive, not one stitch was out of place.
The S13 silvia will never be out of place at a drift event.

Rain pored down when the event finished leaving the crowd, drivers and presenters fighting for the limited dry ares while waiting for the presentation. All Silvia top 3.
One last parting shot of the gaigin crew we met up with waiting for a train that we werent sure was coming.


2 Responses to “D1SL Tsukuba…”

  1. 1 86life
    April 25, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Shit dude, this is going to be a RAD trip!

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