JRC Rd.3 Karatsu Takuya Kawamoto/Naohiro Nagabuchi (MAZDA2) Finish 6th in JN-5 Class
This year’s All Japan Rally Championship, which started in the snow-covered village of Tsumagoi in Gunma Prefecture, was followed by the second round held in March on tarmac forest roads in Shinshiro City, Aichi Prefecture, and the series has already entered its third round.
The “Tour de Kyushu,” which takes place in the cities of Karatsu and Imari in Saga Prefecture, is a rally with a long history, having been held since 1997, when the All Japan Rally was divided into two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive divisions. The tarmac forest roads around Sanpouyama, located in the southeastern part of Karatsu City, have been set as the SS since the first rally, and are one of the most representative tarmac stages of this rally. This year’s rally, which has 12 SSs for the two days of the rally, will feature two SSs on Mikata-san on the first day and two SSs on the second day that run in the opposite direction from the first day’s Mikata-san, for a total of four stages. The first day of rain was wet.
The first day of rain was wet. The second day was blessed with fine weather from the morning, but in the morning, the road surface that remained from the previous day’s rain did not dry out, but in the afternoon, the road surface became dry, and the tire strategy for this condition will also affect the winners. The afternoon stage was dry, and the tyre strategy to suit these conditions was one of the major factors influencing the outcome of the race.
Including the Open Class, 56 cars competed in the event, with the MAZDA2s of Takuya Kawamoto and Naoo Nagabuchi competing in the JN-5 Class.
Kawamoto, who was in contention for the win in the second round in Shinshiro but suffered suspension damage when he went off course and ended up retiring from the rally, carefully attacked the stages on the first day, which were covered with rain and fog, and turned in 6th in class.
On the second day of the rally, when the weather recovered, Kawamoto and Nagabuchi improved their pace, setting the 4th fastest time in class in SS8, but were unable to improve their position. They finished the rally holding their positions from the first day of the rally well into the second day. Kawamoto, who was making his first All-Japan appearance as a driver in Round 2, completed his first All-Japan rally and finished 6th in his class, earning him his first 6 series points.
JN-5 Class 6th / Takuya Kawamoto Comment On the first loop of the second day, the road surface was still a little wet and there were some dangerous scenes, but after that the road dried up and I was able to use some of my driving skills to my advantage. I will do my best to catch up with the front runners as much as possible.”
Takuya Kawamoto, who turns 27 this year, spent his college years in Kyushu, where he was a member of the Automobile Club, which is what got him started in motorsports. After graduation, he worked for Mazda, and this year, his fourth year in the workforce, he is a salaried driver in the Powertrain Development Department.
As a driver, he won the series championship in the Kyushu Challenge Series in 2018 and the Kyushu Rally Championship RH-5 class in 2007, while from 2009 to 2010, he was co-driver for veteran Kyushu driver Koichi Okada, who used to compete in the All Japan Rally in a Demio 15MB. In 2009 and 2010, he also competed in the All Japan Rally as a co-driver for Koichi Okada, a veteran driver from Kyushu who used to compete in the All Japan Rally with his Demio 15MB.
He said, “Okada-san taught me more than I can say, not only the knowledge I needed as a co-driver, but also everything related to driving, from the preparation beforehand to what to do after the rally. It was a valuable experience,” says Kawamoto. He says that his experience as Okada’s co-driver in the All-Japan series made him realize that he would like to compete in the All-Japan series as a driver.
Kawamoto made his debut as a driver in the second round of this year’s All-Japan Rally. The rally was in rough shape with many accidents such as retirements in the early stages, and Kawamoto was in 2nd position, 3.1 seconds behind the leader, after SS8. The road condition was wet. The top driver had only dry tires left, and Kawamoto, who had saved his wet tires, had a golden opportunity to take the lead. However, Kawamoto went off the course at the first corner right after the start of SS9. He damaged his front suspension and regretfully retired from the race.
I was actually running without much concern for the standings, so I didn’t think I was that overawed emotionally, but looking back now, I think I lost concentration somewhere along the way and lost sight of my driving,” said Kawamoto. Reflecting on this, he finished Round 3 with flying colors, saying, “My main goal was to finish the race anyway. Looking ahead to the next round, Kawamoto said, “I now know where I was when I ran with the goal of finishing the race, and I will do my best to catch up with the top finishers as much as possible from here. I think I got another chance in Round 2 because I was right under the top competitors. I participate in rallies as a private rally participant, and my colleagues and seniors at work are now asking me, “How did you do? I will do my best to give them a good report.”
Many young drivers are participating in the JN-5 class this year, and Kawamoto says that his goal is “to become the number one driver in his 20s, of course! Kawamoto says, “Of course, I want to be number one in my 20s! We have high expectations for his performance this season.
Round 4 of the All Japan Rally Championships, “Kuma Kogen Rally,” will be held from May 5 (Fri.) to 7 (Sun.) in the Kuma Kogen area of Ehime Prefecture.
Text & Photo by CINQ LLC
JGC Rd.2 Yu Wins in a Daring Comeback in the 2nd Heat!
JRC Rd.3 Karatsu Takuya Kawamoto/Naohiro Nagabuchi (MAZDA2) Finish 6th in JN-5 Class
Newly-formed Car #88 Roadster Grabs Pole-to-Win in Opening Round of S-Tai Series!
MAZDA SPIRIT RACING Finishes S-Tai Race at Suzuka!
Super Taikyu First Official Test of 2023 Held at Fuji Speedway
#72 takes its long-awaited first win with a lights-to-flag in S-Tai opening round
Mazda Announces 2022 Super Taikyu Series Entry
JEGT Rd.3 “EVANGELION e-RACING with Hiroshima Mazda” takes victory
#456 Roadster Wins ST-5 Class in Final Round of S-Tai. #66 Takes Series Championship
#66 Roadster Moves One Step Closer to ST5 Title With Victory at Suzuka 5-Hour
Sakata takes 2nd consecutive All Japan Dirt Trial Championship win with Mazdaspeed Axela
LOVE DRIVE Roadster takes its first victory at S-Tai Autopolis 5 Hours
Mazda Jinba Ittai Academy’s Terakawa wins his first overall IPS race
IPS win slips out of Terakawa’s grasp due to overzealousness
OVER DRIVE finishes 1-2 in Fuji 24 Hour Race
Mazda cars dominate podium in rainy opening round of S-Tai
Lights-to-Flag for #456 odula Roadster at S-Tai Rd 3 at Okayama
Murakami Roadster Finishes 2nd in Class at S-Tai Sugo Round 2
Matsukura / Iwabuchi Demio Takes Class 3rd in All Japan Rally Rd 3
Team NOPRO Demio SKY-D Grabs First Fuji 24 Hour Win
Super Taikyu Heads Towards 24 Hours of Fuji
Terakawa makes a comeback at rainy IPS Suzuka to finish 2nd
Terakawa achieves amazing opening win streak in Interproto debut.
RE Amemiya RX-7 Matsui Grabs 4th at FIA Drift Tsukuba
Jinba Ittai Academy Ends Season at 2nd place in IPS rankings
Odula Roadster Grabs First S-Tai Win
Masato Nakanishi’s RX-8 takes JN6 class 2nd at Rally Hokkaido
Mazda “Jinba Ittai” Team Takes 4th Place in Tsukuba
IPS “Jinba Ittai Driving Academy” grabs double podium
Hiromatsu Demio Takes ST-5 Class Victory in Debut at S-Tai Rd 4
Koichi Okada’s Demio 15MB Takes First Season JN5 Victory at All Japan Rally Rd 5
Murakami Motors Roadster achieves successive victories at Fuji 24 hours
Okada Demio 15MB wins 2nd place in JRC Round 4
Hiromatsu Demio, NOPRO Axela take class 2nd place in S-Tai SUGO
Team NOPRO takes ST-5 class victory and ST-2 3rd place podium
Mazda Cars Dominate ST-5 class Podium at S-Tai Final Round at Okayama
Okada Demio 15MB Grabs Class 3rd at JRC Takayama
Mad Mike Grabs Formula Drift Japan Title
Okada Demio 15MB Makes Return to JRC and Takes Class 2nd
Mad Mike Ends in Retirement at Formula Drift Japan Rd. 3 Fuji
Team RE Amemiya K & N’s Matsui Grabs D1 Tsukuba Victory
Team 221 Roadster Takes Second Season Victory at S-Tai 5-Hours of Autopolis
Unstoppable! Mad Mike Grabs Second Consecutive Victory!
Mad Mike Dominates FDJ Suzuka with Phenomenal Performance
Murakami Motors Roadster takes ST-5 class victory in S-Tai 24-Hours of Fuji
Okada Demio Misses 3rd Place Podium by milliseconds
NOPRO Axela SKY-D Grabs ST-2 Class 2nd at S-Tai SUGO
Okada Demio 15MB Grabs JN3 Class 3rd in Debut Rally
Three Roadsters Reach the Podium at S-Tai Opening Round at Suzuka
Team Jinba Ittai’s Masahiro Sato Takes 2nd Place
#37 NOPRO Demio SKY-D Rounds off Season with Consecutive ST-5 Class Victories
Mad Mike Overwhelms the Competition to Take Victory at FD Okuibuki
Team “Jinba Ittai’s” Kenta Yamashita Takes Dramatic Victory in IPS Pro Class
NOPRO Demio Grabs Season First Victory
Matsui’s RE Amemiya RX-7 Takes D1 Rd. 6 Tanso Victory
Matsui’s RE Amemiya RX-7 Grabs 2nd Place at D1 Maishima
Mazda Teams Dominate ST-5 Podium (S-Tai Autopolis)
Sayaka Kato Takes Overall Victory in Fiercely Fought All-Female Fuji L1
Matsui’s RE Amemiya RX-7 Takes 10th Place at D1 Tsukuba
Second Consecutive Lights-to-Flag Victory for Murakami Roadster
Murakami Motors Roadster Grabs Season First Win at S-Tai SUGO
Murakami Roadster Takes ST-5 class 3rd in S-Tai Opening Round
NOPRO To Take On Super Taikyu with Axela SKY-D
Karakama Demio Takes JN-3 Class 2nd at JRC Tsumagoi Opening Round
Umeda in ND, Tsuji in NC Take Perfect 4 Race Victories. Okazawa Grabs V2 in NB
NOPRO Demio SKY-D Finishes 2nd, Ends S-Tai Series at ST-5 Class 3rd
Shimada Demio Takes JN-3 Class 2nd in JRC Shinshiro Rally
48 Mazda Machines Converge for the “Fuji-Chan” Final Round
TCR Roadster Achieves Hard Fought First ST4 Win
MX-5 & Mazda 2 Fight Hard in S-Tai Longest Round, 9 Hours of Fuji
RE Amemiya’s Matsui Battles it Out in Tsuiso & Tanso in D1GP Ebisu Round
ND Roadster Takes Second All Japan Gymkhana Championship Victory!
Terakawa Demio Grabs JN3 Class 2nd at JRC Rally Toya
Iwai Takes First Tanso Victory in RE Roadster
Karakama and Okada Demios Take 2nd and 3rd at All Japan JRC Fukushima Rally
NOPRO Demio SKY-D Grabs First Victory at S-Tai Suzuka
Okada Demio Takes JN3 Class 2nd in All Japan Wakasa Rally
Murakami Motors ND Roadster Achieves Superb Lights-to-Flag Victory
Nakanishi RX-8 Takes 2nd in JRC Rd. 2 Kumakogen Rally, Okada Demio Retires
RE Amemiya’s Matsui Advances to First D1 Tsuiso Since Move
Champion Okada Demio Finishes 2nd at JRC Karatsu Rally
RD Roadster Makes Fuji Champion Race Debut!
NOPRO Demio SKY-D Takes Class 2nd in S-Tai Opener
RE Roadster Tears Through First Qualification
20-year old Tsutsumi Becomes Party Race II’s Last Champion
Tadashi Kawakita Grabs Class Championship in RX-7 – 2015 All Japan Gymkhana Review
Joining the Okada Demio, the Mazda RX-8 also Grabs JRC Class Championship
Champion Demio SKY-D Driver, Aya Machida, Tells Us About “Fuji-Chan”
Aya Machida Comes Out on Top of Decisive Three Way Fuji Demio Battle
NOPRO Demio SKY-D Takes 3rd Step on Podium at S-Tai Suzuka
RE Amemiya GruppeM-RX7 Enthralls Crowd in Tsuiso
Demio Monopolizes Podium at JRC Round 8 Highland Masters!
Okada Demio Takes JN3 Class Victory at JRC Rd. 7 to Secure the Title!
Murakami Motors NC Roadster Grabs First S-Tai Points at Rain Soaked Okayama
Kawashima Demio SKY-D Grabs 3rd in All Japan Dirt Trial Rd 7
Okada Demio Takes Third Class Victory in JRC Rd 6, “Montre in Tsumagoi”
RE Amemiya GruppeM-RX7 is Superb in Tsuisō
Mazda WIM Selection Team Complete Roadster 4-Hour in 14th
Aya Machida Takes FCR Rd 4 Victory in Demio SKY-D
NOPRO Demio SKY-D Grabs 4th and TCR Roadster Takes 5th in Scorching S-Tai Kyushu.
R MAGIC RX-7 Takes 4th in D1 Ebisu
Terakawa Demio Grabs Consecutive JN3 Victories in JRC Fukushima
Terakawa Demio Takes JN3 Class Victory in All Japan Rally Toyako
Two MWIM Drivers Successfully Complete S-Tai 8 Hours
Suenaga’s Team RE Amemiya GruppeM RX-7 Grabs 3rd
Rina Ito Grabs First Podium at JRC Wakasa Rally
Rain Causes High Drama in Fuji Championship Race Round 3
NOPRO Demio SKY-D Grabs 4th in Chaotic S-Tai Round 2
Matsui Advances to D1 “tsuiso” Tournament But Retires With Machine Trouble
Two New Stars Again Dominate Roadster Party Race Ⅱ Round 2 at Tsukuba
Okada Demio Grabs JN3 Class Winning Streak at All Japan Rally Kumakogen
Demio SKYACTIV-D makes its Fuji Champion Race Debut.
RX-7s Eliminated Early Despite Strong Performance
After Fierce Battle Between 2 New Stars Tsutsumi Comes Out on Top
Mazda Demio Takes JN3 Class Victory in All Japan Rally Karatsu
DJ Demio SKYACTIV-D Completes S-Tai Opening Round
SKYACTIV-D Demio’s Potential on Display at Dirt Trial
Team TERRAMOS’s Umeda Takes A Lights-to-Flag Victory in Race Debut
Huge crowd intoxicated by double performance of RX-8 and RX-7 D1GP Kickoff Drift
Kawakita RX-7 Places 2nd In All Japan Gymkhana SA2 Class With 2 Season Wins. 2014 All Japan Gymkhana Review
NOPRO Demio finishes 4th in close battle to take series 3rd
Demio and RX-8 take double win at final round of All Japan Rally, Shinshiro Rally 2014 (Aichi Prefecture)
Resurrected NOPRO Demio grabs 4th in ST-5 class, Super Taikyu Round 5 Suzuka
Suenaga’s RE Amemiya RX-7 wins to become “tanso” champion D1 GP Round 7 Odaiba
Mazda machines take 2 class victories at All Japan Rally’s MCSC Highland Masters
NC Roadsters have solid finish. Misfortune causes NOPRO Demio to miss 3rd. Super Taikyu Series Round 4
A grandiose commemorative 25th Media Four Hours Endurance Race
Nakamura RX-8 takes 3rd JN1 win at All Japan “Tango Hanto Rally”
Matsui grabs first win in R Magic RX-7, Matsunaga rises to series 2nd D1GP Ebisu Round
S-Tai series highlights, NOPRO Demio grabs 2nd at 7 Hours of Fuji
Nakamura RX-8 takes 2nd JN1 win in All Japan Rally
Matsui grabs P3 in D1GP in 2nd year as R Magic RX-7 driver
Uda’s JN1 Demio takes second win of the season. Okada’s JN3 Demio grabs 3rd.
Karakama Demio just misses 2nd place at the All Japan Rally, Fukushima
NOPRO Demio takes 2nd step on the podium in the ST5 Class of the Super Taikyu Series Round 2 at SUGO
RE Amemiya 3 Rotor RX-7 shows phenomenal competitiveness at D1GP Round 2
Consecutive wins for the Uda Demio at Round 2 of the All Japan Rally, the Kumakogen Rally
Signs point at success for Mazda this season in the All Japan Rally Championship
RX-8, advance into the D1 Best 16 thwarted by bad weather
NOPRO DEMIO finishes 4th in ST5 class, TCR Roadster takes class 6th in it’s debut race at the S-Tai opening round (Twin Ring Motegi)