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Over the weekend, attention turned to the 2015 IFMAR 1/10 EL Worlds venue; Yatabe Arena in Japan as it hosted the Asian Offroad Championship – Stars included Novak’s very own Charlie ‘Mr Chatty’ Suangka, making the trip to announce the race, unfortunately a date clash with an onroad race meant that a few pros were lacking.

Layout is technical, easy to make mistakes, as we will see during the Amains, packed with action! Traction remained pretty consistent all day long and the Panther Bobcat spec tyres showed nearly no wear throughout the entire day. Day started with 1hr free practice for those not able to make it on Friday, followed with 3 rounds of 5min Qualifying heats. No point system. Fastest round decides your position. Old school style. It didn’t really matter as Kyosho’s Kohta Akimoto hammered down fastest laps after fastest laps with his RB6. He is the only driver managing 17 laps over the entire day. Not only once, but in all 3 rounds! Young Yokomo driver Masatsugu Ido ended up 2nd while Hot Bodies Pro driver Shin Adachi was a close 3rd driving a Yokomo as HB as yet to release a 2wd buggy.

By midday, MotoGP legend Casey Stoner made a surprise stop at Yatabe and stayed all day watching racing. Casey has started r/c and is hooked.

Two motorsport legends under one roof; Masami Hirosaka & Casey Stoner

Two motorsport legends under one roof; Masami Hirosaka & Casey Stoner

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In A1, Ido pushed Akimoto for a lap before crashing. Akimoto never looked back and won fair and square. Ido won A2, so A3 would decide the winner. At the tone, Ido pressured Akimoto who crashed over the table top facing the driver stand giving the lead to Ido. At the end of the first lap, Adachi made a clean pass on Ido only to get caught in a pipe two corners later. In the pack, race was brutal, with countless of crashes, which gave Ido a huge lead and the win. With A2 and A3, Yokomo’s Masatsugu Ido took the win over Kyosho’s Kohta Akimoto and Yokomo’s Kai Kikuchi taking 3rd.

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4WD Quali

Kyosho driver Kohta Akimoto was again TQ driving the Kyosho ZX6 prototype seen at the Worlds in Chico USA last month. Again, no photo allowed, but we could see the Shorty Lipo config was dropped for Saddle on this particular track. Another important change was the carbon top plate has been replaced by 2 very simple long turnbuckles, one of each side of center bulkhead, connected to the top of front and rear bulkhead. The two Yokomo’s of Ido Masatsugu and Kai Kikuchi taking 2nd and 3rd respectively on the grid.

TRACK

A1

The top three stayed together for a couple of laps. Akimoto and Masatugu stretching away from Kai in 3rd. Both drivers stayed pretty close until Masatsugu hit a pipe landing the table top facing the driver stand half way into the Main. That gave 2nd place to Kai and a huge lead to Akimoto who went into cruise control mode to win A1 with 3s over Kai Kikuchi.

A2

1-2-3 started clean, only for Ido to crash on the first double jump and drop back in mid pack. Adachi briefly battled with Kai, passed him and was quickly catching up on Akimoto, may be too fast, as the HB driver hit a pipe after the table top. Kai inherited 2nd spot and benefited from Akimoto struggling to pass backmakers to close the gap and make a clean move at 1:45. Yokomo’s Kai Kikuchi drove superbly to keep Akimoto behind, but that lasted only 5 laps until the orange yokomo driver went sightly too wide at a 180 corner. Akimoto passed him and never looked back to take A2 and the overal 4WD win.

A3

Kyosho’s Akimoto didn’t seat out and run A3 as well. Clean start. After a pretty bad first lap Yokomo’s Ido Masatsugu managed to get back into 2nd position after 1:00 and started to catch up on Akimoto. The two drivers stayed together the entire race, until 3 corners to the end when Akimoto made a wide landing at the table top. Ido dived into the corner to take the lead with 2 corners to go! Akimoto did a “Hara Reedy Race ’13” attempt by motoring out on the last jump, clearly not trying to make the last corner but rather over jump the track and try to pass Masatsugu over the finish line. Well, it almost worked. Almost! Ido Masatusgu got the win and Akimoto’s ZX6 crashing into the wall, bouncing back over the finish line,breaking its front hub carrier in the process!

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