The last few months have been hectic to say the least, all sorts of things have been going on and my wallet has been on life support for a while now.
To start with, a drifting trip to Japan!
This was a lifetime dream and something I enjoyed immensely, made even better by the friends I met up with over there and the friendships made during the trip.
To start off with, a 2 week general tour of Japan, from Narita, to Tokyo, to Mt Fuji, to Nagoya, then Kyoto, then Osaka, then to Tokyo again for the Shinkansen trip to Nihonmatsu and the drifting at the Ebisu Autum Matsuri.
Japan is crazy, everything is a short walk and a short train ride away.
Plenty of people prepped me for the trip but nothing could prepare me for the awesomeness.
The food, the people, the night life, the scenery etc. I could go on but I will let a few pictures do the talking.
Onto the drifting!
We managed to get to Ebisu pretty easily, its a bit tricky in that the GPS navigation system in the rental car isnt in english, and you we could only put in an area code or phone number, neither of which was easy to get without internet access. But Nicole and I figured it out and met up with some friends at the track to see our cars for the first time. We all bar one bought our cars through power vehicles and it all generally went quite smoothly.
The car drove really nice save for a completely trashed rear right lower bushing which gave the wheel almost 30mm of play which you could of course feel over the jump and Minami!
I managed to keep the car semi straight. I had a wee incident at Minami in the rain, it was like sheet ice in the cold rain on some lines and once it let go there wasn’t a great deal you could do to pull it back!
The second crash happened after a 10 year old boy in a skyline pulled some dirt right onto the apex of the wall corner at School Course, which led to me understeering and catching the car again about 1m offline, I was only just missing the wall so 1m offline put me into the wall!
Not the end of the world but lost a bit of track time with some repairs.
Otherwise all I can say is the tracks are great, they dont give a lot of room for error but when you are on line they feel amazing to drive and definitely, along side the new style of car for me to drive, encouraged me to use techniques and lines and speeds etc that I was not in the habit of using.
All seven tracks have their ups and downs but my personal favourite was North Course, Its a big long sweeping entry where you can get some decent speed up, and have a pretty hairy initiation, especially in patchy conditions!
My friends and I spent a good deal of time here trying to get close and get some good runs. Ignoring the big entry there is a really satisfying little tight section straight after with a lot of weight transfer that feels amazing when you get a good run through with some decent momentum.
G1GP was held at Higashi, another amazing circuit and suited my flat footed driving and the JZX90 fairly well, I didn’t place in the top 16 but had a good time otherwise and beat my friend so thats all that matters. I got to meet some pretty big heros of mine from Team Orange which was another bonus.
The car was pretty well setup, had good power and torque and fairly decent arms and shocks, but I definitely missed my little corolla the whole time I was over there.
Anyhoo, I threw a video together, and got a few pictures so I will let them do the talking.
After Japan it was straight back into things in Australia, At Queensland Raceway there was the Xmas Bash, only way to describe it is, lots of track time, and the heath of a 1000 suns. It took me about an hour to get my act together after I arrived just due to the traffic on the way there and the shear heat that was bouncing off the tarmac.
For sure the highlight of my day and maybe even all my time at Queensland raceway was being able to get a serious run up to turn 3. I had some decent speeds that were somewhere between 160 and 170kph depending on how accurate my speedo is. Literally stood the hairs up on the back of my neck.
Heres a quick bit of footage from a run of the 3-6 layout.
Everything else that went down was usually QR cruisy and awesome.
Here are some pics to show the day and some of the characters present.
Even the Tercel got a new heart, trading out the 3a that turned out to have a cracked piston skirt, which I ended up finding in the sump, for a minty fresh 4a that came out of a ae86 that had a genuine 25 thousand k’s on the clock. It started first throw and drove almost 400kms two days later so suffice to say my little wagon is going strong for years to come.
Whats going on in the future?
We will be heading to Raleighs raceway for the Half Way Hangs event held by Street Karnage,
Looking to be some good drivers and cars attending.
Here is a video from their last event, which was off the scale, 11/10, would drift again.