86 Days Are The Best Days

If you have spent an extended time in Japan, you will appreciate a sunny spring day. This particular spring day was made even better with a Hachiroku drift event at Mobara Circuit.

Join me as I nerd out on 86-only mayhem.

Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-3-2
Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-2-2

For the uninitiated, Mobara Circuit is a multi-purpose motorsports complex nestled just across Tokyo Bay in Mobara City, Chiba. While most know Mobara for its various drift and time attack competitions, the venue also hosts motorcycle and go-kart track days, most of which take place on the lesser-known short course track just off the side of the main circuit.

Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-17-2

Having attended my fair share of events at Mobara Circuit and being quite familiar with average AE86 power output, I was eager to see how these cars handled the ‘Gallery’ corner – a big sweeping left-hander onto the straight. Typically, this is the main judged zone in D1 Divisional and similar grassroots competitions. For anyone who hasn’t visited Mobara in person, it is difficult to convey on camera how much elevation change there is at this point on the track.

Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-11-2
Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-24

Taking a stroll through the pits, there were more AE86s than you could poke a stick at. As expected, Team Mouse and Major Force were out in numbers, with some of the nicest-built and most recognisable cars. You would be kidding yourselves if you thought they would miss an event like this.

A friend of mine, Marcello, was driving at the event in his Garage Matsuyama-built Levin for the last time before returning home to Australia. While Marcello and the rest of Club 4AGE were charging hard for most of the day, it was sadly cut short for my Aussie counterpart when his Levin’s highly-strung engine threw off its timing belt, causing some piston-to-valve contact. Not good.

That’s the funny part about drifting, though. Despite the catastrophic failure, it was all smiles and laughs. I don’t think I would have been able to hold the same brave face if it had happened to me.

Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-5-2

If you’d like to check out more of the chaos in video format, I put together a short event recap which you can watch above.

Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-20-2
Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-9-2
Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-19

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

Alec Pender
Instagram: noplansco

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