Usually, I get up at 4.45 am to make the 2-hour journey to Bihoku Circuit in Okayama Prefecture. This day, however, that wasn’t the case. Have you ever asked yourself the question “Hmm, I wonder what happens to ski field’s car parks when it’s not winter?” Well, scroll down, because you’re about to learn!
Mizuho Highland is a ski field 3 hours from where I live. I wasn’t going to drive 3 hours in the morning, so I contacted my friend (Aaron) from NZ who only lives an hour away to see if I could crash at his the night before. Thankfully it was okay! Aaron came to Japan with me just over 3 years ago, then imported his JDM Galant VR4 back into Japan! What a madman.
It’s funny, if you look at this area from Google Maps, you can see that they have been drifting here for a while. I went to an event here back in 2016/17. Little did I know they had been having low key drift days ever since. 5000 yen (46usd) entry fee which included an awesome all you can eat BBQ for lunch too. As well as the BBQ, track time was UNLIMITED!
I rocked up just before 9 am, well-rested after an appropriate amount of sleep. Found myself a park right next to these two little hachirokus. The owners were already set and waiting for 9 am to roll around so they could head out and burn some tyres.
The panda 86 had the normal 16v engine, and the gold one was rocking an updated 20v engine. Both n/a, both driving just as fast as my sr20det Silvia! I went out for a ride in the panda one, and it was nasty. Such a different driving experience than in a newer car with a bit more power.
A few ‘itasha’ inspired cars were also present. I’ve seen these a few times at Bihoku as well, they must live close by to frequent both places. I can never decide if I like it or not, maybe if I knew the characters it might pique my interest more. Even if they did have anime all over their cars, they could still drift much better than I could!
With about 15 – 20 cars in attendance, the track was occupied for most of the day. If you ever wanted some seat time, this is the kind of event you need to practice at. You could stay on the track from 9 am to 4 pm, that’s a lot of practice. However, your car would most likely break. Everyone was very good, no beginners were anywhere to be seen. I was even trying my luck at chasing people, but I soon learnt that if I wanted to get on people’s doors, I would need to enter on their doors.
After our nice BBQ at lunch with lots of meat, vegetables, and rice balls, there was still a few more hours of drifting to go. Most people finished up around 4 pm and started to pack up. Funny thing when you realize 90% of the cars drove to the event and would be driving home. Once the drifting stopped, we all went out on the track to pick up tyre debris and anything else that shouldn’t be left there.
As we were about to leave, I couldn’t help but ask if I could take some photos of the 2 86s. Such high-quality cars, which have been owned by the drivers for over 10+ years looking at some of the stickers in the car. I’m not much of an 86s buff, I couldn’t tell you much about what each one has, but I know they are 100% photo-worthy. I had to add my car in for one of the shots too of course.
What are a few more cars? I asked the remaining guys and gals to join in the photoshoot and they happily obliged. 8 cars is not a bad amount! I do though, remember shooting a bigger group of 180sx in Australia a few years back. Were they all drift cars though? I don’t think so. My favourite would have to be the black S15. It was in legit showroom condition, he came just in the afternoon and killed it out in the car park/track. He did hit a cone though, and made some marks and cracked his side skirt, oh no!
This little event will happen again next year, so hopefully, I can get along to it again because it was so chill! Now it was time for my 3-hour drive home through the mountains in central Japan. Until next time.
Photos: Shaun Constable | Words: Shaun Constable
Ambition Works 2012 – 2019