Matsukura / Iwabuchi Demio Takes Class 3rd in All Japan Rally Rd 3
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 series was reduced from 10 rounds to 4 rounds, and Rally Hokkaido was also held with no spectators and strict measures taken to prevent virus infection. The total SS distance was reduced by about 40% compared to last year, and the scale of the rally was reduced by the elimination of the rally show for fan interaction and the ceremonial start of each car passing through the start gate. The “RIKUBETSU Long” with its water splash, and the “NUPRIPAKE” and “PAWSE KAMUY” SS were still incorporated this year. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the organizers and everyone involved in organizing this rally and giving the 15MB Demio a chance to play an active role.
Saturday, September 12, Day 1 started at 6am. Rain was forecast for the entire rally week, and while parts of the service park and liaison (transfer section) were rained out as forecast for Day 1, the SS section was cloudy and conditions were mostly dry.
This was my first time to participate in a rally since the Shinshiro Rally 2020. I couldn’t adapt to the speed range of Hokkaido and I was outpaced by my rivals from the beginning. It was a tough race, but we managed to improve our times as the SS went on, and we finished Day 1 with his best time so far.
Sunday the 13th Day 2 schedule started even earlier than the day before, at 5am. The temperature gauge in the car was 12 degrees Celsius. The first SS9 OTOFUKE reverse was rained out, but the rest of the day was cloudy.
In SS10 PAWSE KAMUY, I hit a rock on the inside and damaged a wheel, but the tube-infused rally tire prevented it from bursting, and I managed to change to a spare tire to continue with the rally.
The team’s priority was to finish the race and to enjoy the rally, but we set personal best times just like Day 1, and finished this year’s Rally Hokkaido. Despite the tough dirt SS, the 15MB Demio was able to finish the rally without any problems. The final result was 6th in the JN5 class out of 12 cars.
We will be participating in the next and final round of the All Japan Rally Championships, the Tour de Kyushu in Karatsu in November. Unlike the previous round, this one will be a one-day rally held only on Saturday, but we will start setting up the 15MB Demio for pavement in order to win this sprint rally.
Mazda vehicle performance JN-5 Class 3rd: Takuro Matsukura and Akiko Iwabuchi, Demio JN-5 Class 6th: Koichi Okada and Ishida Kazuki’s Demio JN-5 Class 7th: Hisashi Matsubara and Yoshiaki Wada, Demio JN-5 Class 8th: Masao Nakanishi and Marika Takeo’s RX-8 JN-5 class 9th: Shunichi Washio and Sota Inoue Demio OPEN Class 2nd: Yuichi Arai andMazayuki Koizumi, Demio
Text by K. Okada Photos by I. Hiromoto & K. Okada&T. Matukura