TBP – Lowbrain – Frees – Sports Land Yamanashi
It’s always exciting going somewhere new.
I gravitate towards new experiences for writing topics because they are, new of course! And in my opinion also easier to write about. With that said I tip my hat to those who can write interesting content on repetitive events. A fresh view, smells, roads, people; all the new things get stuck to your brain like fruit roll up and explode with sensory overload. (Sorry I’m hungry). Putting all the scenery aside the one thing that’s for sure is this welling up of nervous energy, a feeling I only get when I’m bouncing along the road on my way to a circuit or place to drive; (illegal activities, haha). Leaving like a normal person in the morning to go to the beach with surfboards strapped to the roof racks, no–our normal is on the crest of midnight when only the weird Yankis head to Donkiho-te. Luckily for me (or unluckily), Kentaro and I were heading to Donkiho-te in the decked out Kei-van for some quick pre-event purchases.
(Japanese foreigners will understand//A really big, cheap dollar store with a variety of people and strange items. You can look it up on Google for more info. Link)
We couldn’t find exactly what we needed at the first place so we continued on in our search for a blow up doll to use as a cone marker on track. Before you come to any conclusions it is kind of a customary thing I guess you could say; last time the guys held and event at Fuji Drift Park we had a few (to many probably). We found one on the way to Yamanashi and then hopped onto the expressway.
Feelings continues to intensify as you draw nearer; the music in the car gets louder, the sleepiness sets in with a empty stomach and all you can think of is a good meal and a bed. To which life replies with a conbini and we make do with what’s available, stuff our mouths and get back into the car and try to sink into the deepest kei-car induced sleep that once can possibly fall into. Kentaro and I slept in the closest 7/11 parking lot before waking and driving a few kilometers up into the mountains to SLY.
Being the first to the track offers a different atmosphere, one of peace and tranquility before all the revving of engines and squealing of tires begins. Without all the sparkly paint and shiny wheels it was easy to appreciate the misty morning mountain view in early Autumn that felt like it was straight out of some Lord of the Rings movie.
Slowly but surely cars started to flow in. Low rumbles reverberating through the surrounding forest continued until the pits were packed full, and cars had started to park in places never parked before. The 4AG club rolled in soon after with their loader trucks, about 10 of them all came in at once and lined up at the bottom spectator parking lot and in an orderly fashion unloaded all their AE86’s and ke70’s. I stayed at the bottom of the hill to direct people in the right direction into the circuit. Kentaro and staff that slowly trickled in set up the event until we were ready to start at 9am.
While I was waving people in a small silver Toyota rolled in and I asked the driver where he what he was doing to which he responded with in a very proud and slightly disgusted manner, “I am the owner of this place!”, I mean I couldn’t have known who the owner was if I had never been there but I still felt bad. The owner is apparently a ‘car meister’ but didn’t seem in the least fond of drifting as we were soon to experience first hand.
The day started without a hitch but drifters will be drifters. What I’m implying is rules break and things get smashed and not that it was exactly the case people who drift tend to have a different mentality when it comes to driving cars. There was one occasion where the owner stopped the heat mid run and had everyone line up on the grid. He ordered every driver to stick their hand out the window to check if they were listening and then proceeded to lecture the entire track like little kids about track safety and rules. I understand where he is coming from, no accidents = everybody happy, but it felt like he went way overboard and I’m pretty sure the majority of the Japanese attendees felt the same way. This sort of ‘control freak’ mentality killed the mood here and there throughout the day but but everyone managed to keep it from getting to them and we continued on drifting.
The day finished on a good note with only a few rubs, one small fender bender and Den-chan’s oil mess but no major crashes so everyone was able to get home. A lot of people also got to drive or drift on a new course for the first time so that in its self is a big success.