Another day at Bihoku, this day was just a little bit different from the rest. In the past, I’ve been drifting at Bihoku on free days, it’s cheaper but not as fun. An event is about twice as much to enter, drift time is limited, but as a whole, I think it’s much more enjoyable.
As usual, I prepared my car the day before or in this case the night before from about 10 pm. Had the car all ready to go on my drift tyres and racing seat. Woke up at a ridiculous time of about 4 am, to get to the race track before the drifting commenced.
I usually drive through the mountains to get to Bihoku, it only takes 30 extra minutes, but it saves about 5000 yen in tolls there and back. Plus the view is much better driving on the touge.
This event was held earlier this year. In April. And although the snow had stopped falling in Tottori where I live, I wasn’t expecting it to still be around the mountain. With my drift tyres (definitely not good in snow), I had to drive a few kilometres high up in the mountains. That was not a fun experience with the car losing traction every time I accelerated.
The drift day was actually held on Bihoku’s Course A. I’ve never actually drifted on this course before, I’d usually go to Course B and tackle the monster entry there. Course A is a little similar to B, the entry is the same, just minimized, and then you have a right, left, and right.
The feel is what sets it apart. There are trees around the track, it feels like you’re driving on a mountain round, not a race track. After drifting for about an hour or so, you wouldn’t believe it, but it started to snow! I was literally drifting with the snow hitting my windscreen. It was fun but only lasted about half an hour.
This event was split up into 3 classes. Not so good, good, and very good. Last year, out of nervousness, and not wanting to hold people up, I put myself in the not so good category. I found, however, that other people were starting to hold me up, spinning way too often. So this year, I decided to move up to the middle bracket.
In this bracket, drivers start to tandem. I had people chasing me and getting pretty close to my door. I wasn’t able to chase though, I just couldn’t keep up. I think the main problem was that I was entering at the top of second gear with a handbrake switch. While most of the other people in my class were turning into the corner and then flicking it in third gear.
Last time I tried to do that on Course B, I ended up in a bunch of tyres. I turned in, but couldn’t turn back out, and then bam. The tyre wall stopped me. That little incident has put me off entering like that. I suppose to be able to chase, I’ll need to get over that fear and just do it.
Although it was only a small event, some of the better drivers from the Chugoku region (Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, and Hiroshima) came along to show their stuff. This Skyline was in my bracket and chased me for a few runs. The screaming wastegate gave me a fright every time!
As well as this being a drift event, it was also a Dress Up side to it. Something that seems to be commonplace in Japan. I’m sure the Dress Up drivers like the attention that they get when coming to an event with a sizeable crowd.
It’s not just parking up either. In the afternoon, all of the Dress Up cars were able to complete two laps with each other. No helmets were used, so I assume that meant they weren’t allowed to do anything crazy. That didn’t stop a few from dragging off at the front straight through.
While I went out into the middle of the track, the commentators (let me tell you, if you hold track days without a commentator, you’re missing out, they really bring the atmosphere up) started talking about me, the one foreigner living in the middle of nowhere that tries to drift with them. It was a little embarrassing, and funny at the same time.
The massive V.I.P. culture in Japan is something that always makes me wonder. Why do you do this? Taking a nice family sized car. And then literally putting it on the ground and taking away most functionality. I suppose nowadays, most of them are probably on airbags, that can easily be raised up when driving around. This isn’t me hating on V.I.P.s, it’s just an area that I don’t know much about. Maybe if I had my own one I’d understand why they do it.
Obviously, when you’re this low, you’ve got to be on airbags?! NO! Not this particular slamobile. Conveniently living only a few hundred metres from my house. I see this every day on the way to work. It’s super slammed and super crazy. The wheel wells are cut out, you could nearly be sitting on the tyre if you were in the backseat, crazy at its finest.
I didn’t get any action shots, as I just wanted to enjoy the day without having a camera around my neck. Something that I’ve been trying to work on, just enjoying an event. This was a very enjoyable event. I met some new people, drifted with another white S14 which was really nice, and ate that great konbini lunch.
De Boowww was a sort of pre-event. The people that organised this event, hold an even bigger event on Course B in June (June 10), featuring 50 drift cars (5 groups), and 150 Dress Up cars. Activities include hopping (where lowriders literally jump in the air), car wash, car limbo, Dress Up cars track drive, food stalls, shop stalls, and so on. If you’re around Osaka during this time, I’d highly recommend checking out this event (SSD Small Show Drive). I’ll be there drifting and taking photos!
Stay tuned for content coming soon from Golden Week, where I headed to 4 different events!
Photos: Shaun Constable | Words: Shaun Constable
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