I found myself back in Mobara circuit yesterday, on a bitterly cold autumn morning, ready to get another drifting fix at the final round of this year's MSC Challenge. All the regulars we saw at Honjo in August were back, ready to score some final points in a last attempt to climb the point standings. There were also tons of other cool rides participating in the various classes, including a grip event, making it an even a more action packed day out than usual!
Despite the chilling wind, the weather was superb throughout the day, highlighting the crazy paint jobs some cars were sporting like this Sign 141 S15.
Ever time the grip sessions began Manabu Orido would run from the judge's area to the paddock to pick up his JZA80. The Supra was proving a bit of a handful to keep straight through the exit of the corners and he ended up more sideways than straight. For the second session and the 10-minute race, he swapped out his Neovas for some sticky A048s, which seemed to cure the problem. He finished in second position behind D1 drifter Yukio Matsui driving the Celica-faced Guild One Supra.
The main corner at Mobara is a tough one to master, the judges are always looking for very specific clipping points, not to mention the sort of showmanship that has come to be expected from drifters.
The paddock was teeming with a colorful selection of some of the best cars the JDM grassroots scene has to offer, like this pink hachiroku…
…which judging from the livery is probably prepped by Shino Kouba.
I always love seeing big heavy Toyota sedans going sideways, they look so natural, like they're in their element just like the bright blue Trendy JZX100…
…not to mention this Crown Royal Saloon, the preferred choice of Japanese police and retired farmers!
Mobara is always great as you can get real close to the cars, right at the apex as they fly by you with massive clouds of tire smoke chasing them.
Here is one style that will never go out of fashion in the drift scene, the beater look, cars stuck in an eternal "work-in-process" state, rocked perfectly here by this RSP13.
Remember the clipping points the judges are looking for? Well this is one of them right here on the exit, hit perfectly by Saito-san in his Tokanatsu Factory 180SX.
However clipping that exit point perfectly during the triple-drift competition required a lot more skill from all three drivers and the guys from Sign 141 really nailed it during this run.
The Team Magician crew wasn't on top form on their triple runs, but as usual team leader Takamiya-san was doing great in his JZX110 MarkII smoke machine at the back of the pack.
This FC3S was my favorite car of the day, built by Sexy Knights and T-get, sporting a cool matte black finish highlighted by orange stripes and Work Meister S1's. Very Porsche GT3 RS!
Suzuki-san seemed to be struggling with the car but it looked so unique out on track. Gets my thumbs up!
After lunch it was time for the drivers that had qualified in the top 16 of the Super Class to put on a good show.
They were allowed two runs each to give it their best. Here they are lining up waiting for their turns.
After inhaling way too much smoke in the morning I made my way up onto the roof of the control tower to get some nice "aerial" shots of the cars in action. If you recall we saw this JZZ30 back in May at the D1 Divisional round that was held in Mobara. See what I mean about the smoke?!
As ever it always looks like the cars are going right for the sponge barrier on the pit-lane entrance as they make their way along the uphill straight, although I haven't seen anyone actually hit it in ages.
Here is Tomo coming in a bit too hot during the morning practice. He said he was struggling to find any grip, probably due to the low track temperatures making it hard for the tires on the light AE86 to warm up properly.
Check out this 4-door R32…
…and R33 representing the Skyline name! No matter what model or body shape I will always love these cars!
Here is Nakatani-san (who usually drives a pink RB25 powered S14) making do with his back-up S15 for the day after a water-pump failure on his main car. He did great despite being in the underpowered S15 and made it to the Best-8 tandem runs at the end of the day. Check that angle out!
Lots of power means tons of tire smoke…
…and Takamiya beat everyone in that department! His MarkII is a true tire-shredder! I wonder how many tires he goes through each round!
His clouds took a good few minutes to clear as they dispersed onto the Chiba-prefecture countryside.
Takamiya grabbed first position in the Super Class with Yamashita and Mitsui following in second and third position respectively.
On top of the champagne he got completely drenched from his crew, who had prepared a few buckets of water on the stairs right above the podium. With temperatures well below 10ºC that must have been one cold shower! Stay tuned for more drifting action from Mobara!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare