Martin Matsuri Exp. – pt. 3

Best Car Ever!

Note to Reader: I changed format a bit and placed pictures at the bottom since there were so many to share.

Saturday morning, I rise at 5 am and walk outside the drivers shack to find car after car after car lined down the street and packing the parking lot. 12 hours before the parking lot had 6 cars in it. Now it was bursting. Cars were driven and trailered in. Trailers ranged from 1 to 3 cars. Steven and I drive to pick up the car. While there and being the first day of Matsuri we can officially decorate the car with the Red Cross donators and other stickers I brought along. It turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. We went down to Kura Kura Land again since I needed to reacquaint my left hand with the shift knob. A few laps later and we were back up to Driftland doing our thing…at least until I got a little too gutsy. I sort of rounded a corner in a drift, held it a bit long, had a bit too much speed, and it snapped harder than I could catch and it shot me in the wall passenger front side (America driverside). I smashed up the front lower pipe going in the intercooler and tore the coupler. 3 hours and lunch later, we were back up and running after a little ghetto-fab. We drove the track until dusk thinking they were going to kick us off the track as that is what the schedule said, but that didn’t happen. Instead what occurred was the flick of a switch and flood lights. YESSSSS! It got darker and so we rolled over and got some free BBQ leg of animal, it was amazing. It was probably a cow but I like to think it was some poor animal from the park whose life opportunely ended. Food and a brief conversation later and we were back on Driftland sliding at night. The States needs to have events like this: multiple cars on the track at one time and at night. We leave later on to watch other tracks. We go to School Course and watch a guy knock a bottle out of a wall 5 times in a row with the rear bumper of his car. Then we hit Minami. Then I realize I have lost my wallet…crud. Crud was putting it mildly, I was stressing. With not much we can do about it this night we give a quick re-running of our tracks and decide to call it a night.

After spending a night in the Honda Life (our rental car), I wake instantly stressing about my wallet. I walk over to the riders shack and notice that Peter, a Aussie chap we met at the Friday night BBQ and who happens to be nearly fluent in Japanese, is up as well. He is just rising so I scoot on over and ask him if he would be willing to talk with the front gate personnel in hopes they have had a wallet turned in. Peter agrees without much urging as he is a general all around good guy. The gate tells us to go to the main office which is located inside by the fueling area. So in Peter’s 180sx, complete with a flat tire from the night before, we roll off. We decide to stop and change the tire since it is on the way to the main office. While changing the tire, a car pulls up and a 50 something woman pops out with a big smile and in her right hand my wallet! I am so relieved, and I profusely thank her and bow multiple times as I realize ALL of my money and cards are in the wallet untouched. Yay! Crisis adverted we head to the combini with Peter. I don’t drive much on Sunday, but I do watch Steve improve a ton. We go to Driftland where Steve and Peter decide to attempt tandem and it goes pretty good. We then head over to Touge Course where Peter and Steve trade turns making runs and then it is time to tandem again. I hop in the passenger seat and Touge Course is an absolute scary blast. Peter manages an off road adventure on the second lap which we caught on video thanks to Steve’s Go-Pro camera. We then head over to drive Nishi-short for the last hour of Matsuri. It is an absolutely intimidating oval. You go up a decent incline on the back corner only to go blind drifting over the crest then comes the roller-coaster feeling in your stomach. Madness I tell you! Thanks to Peter, we are able to commandeer a ride with he and Alexi, of NoriYaro fame and photographer for Drift Tengoku. I was dead tired but I got a 20 min nap in on the way back and woke up to all of them playing “you know you have been in Japan too long when…”. It was hilarious to hear what they notice having been there so long. Peter was kind enough to offer us his floor for the night since it was 12 am when we arrived at his house and finding a hostel was going to take us a little while. A big thank you to Peter!


Touge Course Wall Ride from Brickhouse Products on Vimeo.