86 days are the best days

If you’ve spent a lot of time in Japan, you’ll enjoy a sunny spring day. This special spring day was made even better with a Hachiroku drift event at the Mobara circuit.

Join me as I rant about the chaos in store for the 86.

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For the uninitiated, Mobara Circuit is a multi-purpose motorsport complex nestled just across Tokyo Bay in Mobara Town, Chiba. Although most know Mobara for its various drift and time trial competitions, the venue also hosts motorcycle and karting days, most of which take place on the lesser-known short course track, just off the main circuit.

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Having attended quite a few events at the Mobara circuit and being quite familiar with the mid-range power of the AE86s, I was keen to see how these cars handled the “Gallery” corner – a big left turn on the straight. Typically, this is the main area judged in D1 and similar grassroots division competitions. For anyone who hasn’t visited Mobara in person, it’s difficult to convey on camera the magnitude of the elevation change at this point in the trail.

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As you walk around the stands you will see that there were more AE86s than you could shake a stick at. As expected, Team Mouse and Major Force were there in force, with some of the most beautiful and recognizable cars. You would be wrong if you thought they would miss an event like this.

A friend of mine, Marcello, was driving at the event for the last time at his Matsuyama-built Levin garage before returning home to Australia. While Marcello and the rest of the 4AGE Club were charging hard for most of the day, it was unfortunately interrupted for my Australian counterpart when the highly strained engine of his Levin came loose on its timing belt, causing contact between the piston and valve. Not good.

Yet that’s what’s funny about the drift. Despite the catastrophic failure, it was all smiles and laughter. I don’t think I would have been able to keep the same brave face if this had happened to me.

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If you’d like to experience more of the mayhem in video format, I’ve put together a short recap of the event that you can watch above.

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I think it’s safe to say that this 40+ year old chassis isn’t going anywhere anytime soon when it comes to motorsport – especially when it comes to drifting in Japan.

Alex Pender
Instagram: nonplansco