August 12, 2009 12:21 am Published by

Good morning!

When people asked me where I was staying for the night, I told them “The Skyline Hotel”. Without fail, they’d stare at me for a couple of seconds and then break out in laughter.

The passenger’s seat in the R32 is still standard, so it was comfortable enough for at least a few hours sleep.

Time for a quick check of all the vitals to make sure nothing stupid like a low oil level would stop the Skyline from enduring yet another day’s thrashing. The eight-year-old son of one of the other drivers I was with (you can see him in yesterday’s post when we were in the sento bath house) came up and asked why I was pouring Coke in the engine.

At 10:00, after a few morning runs on Higashi and Kita, I headed over to the Driftland Course where the Summer Matsuri’s competition was being held. Each Matsuri, there is a competition of some sort on one of the tracks around Ebisu. In spring, it was held on the spectator corner of the touge course. Another time, it was on the “Let’s Go!” corner on Minami, a long sweeping corner at the top of the course. A couple of years ago, they even had a “standard tyre” competition, where all the cars competing were required to wear the same size tyre they came with from factory.

This time, it was the “Drift Twin No. 1” competition on the Driftland Course.

The idea was simple. Everyone was given half an hour, to go out in pairs and drive door-to-door in their best display of co-operative tandem. I already knew we could win this one…

Attending the same event was Luke Fink, which Aussie readers will know as last year’s second ranked driver in the Drift Australia competition, and Californian readers will know as a competitor in the Red Bull Drifting World Championship. He was driving a very beaten-up NA S14 Silvia at the event, along with a bunch of twelve other Australians who had come over to both drive and spectate. I told Luke about the event, and we headed over to the Driftland Course for a quick bit of practice.

After some discussion, we decided that I would lead and Luke would tandem close behind. After some practice runs, Luke told me what I needed to do to help him follow as close as possible, which was basically “Just go as fast as you can, slightly off-line”.

We drove out, and went at it. For a good twenty minutes, we drifted non-stop around the small circuit, since the wet conditions meant tyre wear and overheating wasn’t much of an issue. Drift Samurai, and Team Orange’s Nobushige Kumakubo and Naoto Suenaga were judging the event, and were apparently laughing every time we made a little bit of body contact.

At one point, I pulled into a side-section of the track to take a rest for a few seconds, and have a quick look around the track to see who was doing what. There was another pair of cars with Koguchi Power stickers on them that were doing very well, so I tried to get out behind them.

Within a couple of laps, I was following as closely behind them as Luke was following behind me. I can’t wait to see some video of it. Mez, are you reading this?

After the competition ended, Naoto Suenaga called out “The winners are, Team Mad Max!”

Not too shabby. As well as a couple of Oberon jumpers, we won a Do Luck FD3S swaybar kit. Anyone want to buy it?

Time for a beer? Since I still had five hours of drifting to go, I pulled an alcohol-free “Kirin FREE” beer out of the cooler.

This is not a food blog. This is not a food blog. This is not a food blog.

Nevertheless, the restaurant food at Ebisu is really good as far as circuit food goes, and deserves a pic. The slightly curly noodles in this miso ramen are a local specialty, called “Kitakata” (喜多方).

Like I said yesterday, it seemed like there were more foreigners at Ebisu than Japanese, and a large majority of them were Australians, like this bunch here.

Anyone remember that white S14 Silvia in Keiichi Tsuchiya’s Drift Bible?

The friends of this missile driver were egging him on to get close to the wall. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t notice the large puddle of water right in front of them.

On one lap, he obliged their requests, and they were drenched!

Maybe having a bit too much fun?

Grins abound.

You know you’re getting close to the edge of the track when branches are wedged under the spoiler.

If you ever travel to Japan and want to really impress people, learn about a few obscure cultural points they don’t expect foreigners to know about and bring it out when appropriate, such as “gozan no okuribi”, “maneki neko”, or what “oyakodon” really means.

The owner of this car was very impressed I knew what “tsundere” means.

By the way, all of these can be looked up on Wikipedia.

“Stop staring at me like that!”

3UP’s missiles got worse and worse thanks to the Minami walls.

Jesse had managed to patch his S13 together enough to drive it and his wife to a nearby hotel to stay overnight, but without a hood, front guard, headlight or front bumper.

He said some of the looks he got were priceless.

…and we’re done! Yet another Matsuri over and done with, and the car still in one piece, despite my many attempts to crash at Minami.

This was the best part. Thanks to the consistent light rainfall over the whole weekend, I drove to Ebisu with 60% tread on those Federal SS595s, and there was still a good 10% left, even after two full days of drifting.

Some cars, like these ones driven by Australians, suffered more panel damage than they did tyre wear.

That’s Luke’s car on the right.

Behold. A bogan in Japan.

Here’s all the Kansai guys loaded up, ready to go back home.

…and here’s the Saitama guys!

The trip back home on the expressway looked pretty much like this the whole way! Thankfully, there were plenty of rest stops to take a break at.

Can’t wait for the Autumn Matsuri!

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This post was written by Alexi