Updated: Dec 20, 2022
A couple of weekends ago I headed out in the early hours into the center of Osaka to pick up Eamon - An Australian gentleman currently based in Tokyo doing work experience and whom had reached out to see if there was anything going on in the Honda scheme of things.
We do provide tours to customers visiting the city and I had the perfect event coming up of which he could tag along to experience - the final round of this years Honda One Make Champion Cup Race series over at Central Circuit.
We reached the track after a quick pit stop at the nearby Lawson Konbini store to top up on coffee (my second of the morning) and upon reaching the circuit we went straight for a walk around so I could introduce Eamon to Daisuke and Yosuke from ZeroFighter Auto Custom whom as always were running the event, and then scout the paddock and pits boxes to see whom was running in the final round of this years championship.
A number of usual suspects were on hand such as Takuya and his GET WILD EK. With 22 points scored so far this year he was hoping for a strong finish in the N1 Class.
Things were busy as the drivers looked to get things in place ahead of the drivers meeting after which they would be out onto the track for the days first practice session.
Topgun Racing - a name of which a lot of you will be familiar with if you've followed us from the more "Kanjo-esque" side of things.
Another of the "Get Wild" team and regulars in the series - Yamashita and his extremely awesome sounding EG6.
Ikegami was back at as well in his Wharp Racing JACCS liveried EF. He'd not had the best of luck with various issues plaguing his plans for a decent run at this years championship, and off the back of his engine blowing in the JACCS Del-Sol that you may have seen previous that he ran last year.
Some neat little editions this round with the Hattori and Kaneishi names added onto the fenders in tune with the original JACCS JTCC car from back in the nineties. We've a closer look at this coming up with some photos and video so look out for that soon,
Takahashi and his Magunamu Racing EF were up next in our recon of the pits as he would be hoping for a decent run in the N2 Class here at Central.
Ichiyama was up for a run in his EK4 which looked like it was in the early to mid stages of a potential new livery. I chose not to bother him and ask about his plans for it - rather choosing to wait until the next time I get to see it at the circuit and see if the transformation has taken any further steps.
One driver/car combination we can always expect to see at the One Make races is that of Joe-San from Car Make Across. We might as well go ahead and say it now, but yes he swept the N1 Class championship this year and had amassed a tally of 75 points including wins in three of the previous four rounds so the pressure was off going into this final round.
Mr. consistency to say the least.
Temple Racing EF boxing up in the pits after practice looking to make some adjustments ahead of the days qualifying session.
Streeter was back in action again with his EG6, With Joe-San having take the title as previously mentioned - second place was up for grabs.
The compact class can equally be as entertaining and Mabuchi-San was present on the day with his VIP Company GK5 Honda Fit.
I Still love seeing this STP livery on Masayuki's Homies Works EG6. You may recall the small spotlight video we did on the YouTube channel for this one.
Hideki was running with the EK9 from the ZeroFighter shop on the day and struggled to get a decent setup versus clear run on the circuit. 15th place overall with that being good enough for 8th in the N1 Class in the final race later in the afternoon.
Tanaka is normally seen running in his K-swapped EK9 at these events, but with a late spanner thrown into the works he had to switch out the EG6 to make his last charge at trying to secure the OPEN Class title for the year.
Ohara's FD2 leaving the pit lane..
It's not a case of putting your feet up between sessions. There's a lot to be getting on with.
Joe-San and his Car Make Across EG6 go out for qualifying.
Mabuchi-San also heads out to try and set his best time.
Yamada heads out in the EG6 looking to set a marker in qualifying for the SS Class.
Long term followers will know I've always liked this particular EG6 owned by Kikuta for Tuning Father K.K.R. 19th overall on the day and 12th in the N1 Class.
One car I was not familiar with was Noguchi's MKS Style x Jungle Racing EF8 CR-X which was running in the SS Class also. A strong showing by finishing in their respective race (which ran as a combined race of SS, S, and Compact Class cars) by finishing 7th overall and 5th place in class. If you re not up to speed as per the rules of each class, head over to the Roughsmoke YouTube channel and check out the rules video we posted a number of months back.
Nakatani in the Topgun Racing EG6 on the main straight.
This car had been tuned/helped along by Joe-San of Car Make Across and there must be something in the air over there at his small shop as his customer running this EK3 took 1st place overall and 1st in the SS Class on the day.
A sea of Civic's and other class machinery awaiting to do battle.
Tanaka-San enjoys some friendly banter ahead of the final race.
A always good to see sight and everybody barrels into the downward sloping tricky right hand hairpin that is the first turn at Central.
Not sure how Matsumoto-San was given the green light to race after a massive windshield break and bumper damage was sustained in qualifying. But these guys don't give up.
Epic racing ensued throughout the two main races with some battles literally coming down the wire.
With the final checkered flag of season waved and the engines switched off, we went back into the paddock to survey the aftermath.
Ikegami looked like he barely made the line after what looked like overheating issues and parked his EF in the gravel at turn one after the flag and had to get a pick up back to the pits.
Streeter had taken a big knock also on the EG6 but didn't look like anything too serious though. He actually passed us on the way home and was pushing a decent speed so it sort of confirmed it looked more cosmetic than anything.
And the GET Wild EK as you saw above surely was involved in some scuffles to say the least. I think these final few photos of the damage is a good way to end it here for this post as it really goes to show how hard these guys are pushing and that they are all in up to the final flag of the season.
To recap on the final standings for the season to confirm the champions and top three places for each class are:
(C) Compact Class:
Champion: Sakoippei-San / Raytec Auto Works GD3 FIT / 80pts
2nd: Otani-San / Run Through GK5 FIT / 64pts
3rd: kokoro-San / Beginner GK5 FIT / 32pts
Champion: Joe-San / Car Make Across EG6 / 87pts
2nd: Streeter / Streeter Corp EG6 / 41pts
3rd: Yuki-San / STEP UP ☆ Comprehensive Construction ☆ Zero Fighter EK9 / 33pts
Champion: Fukamoto-San / DC2 Integra / 46pts
2nd: Sumi-San / Hawk Auto Project x Temple Racing EF9 / 40pts
3rd: Oshiro-San / GetWild ☆ ZeroFighter ☆ ZERO Inc. EG6 / 20pts
Champion: Hirotaka-San / Missile Civic FD2 / 56pts
2nd: Osihi-San / HCM ☆ No. 62 with Bibi Limiter FD2 / 40pts
3rd: Fukumoto-San / Shinchi ★ Seishun Street ★ Mt. Shinoda ★ OGOTO AP1 / 20pts
Champion: Tanaka-San / Domination Petronas EK9 / 84pts
2nd: Ichikawa-San / Grace Nakao Sangyo Higashino style EG6 / 28pts
3rd: Yonezu-San / EK9 / 20pts
Thanks to everyone involved in this years series, it's been a pleasure to cover the events once more. And thank you to all the supporters and followers of Roughsmoke - your following keeps pushing us.
Last but not least a big shout out to sponsors this year - Honed Developments, Nentek Garage, Red Sun Racing, and Hybrid Racing - your support means the world to us.
We look forward to getting back at again next season! Shimuzu,
Circuits and Dreams.