“Roadster 30th Anniversary Meeting” Held at Miyoshi Proving Grounds
The Miyoshi Proving Grounds, the development base for Mazda vehicles, was opened for two days for the event. Including volunteers, as many as 250 Mazda employees participated in this event and supported their operations. Along with them, other staff and members of the Roadster Owners Club gathered from all over the country. When the main gate opened at 6:00 am the roadsters from surrounding prefectures entered one after another, and the 4.3km circuit, the parking space, and 1.8km straight, were quickly filled following the staff’s diligent guidance.
On the main venue stage, on behalf of all owners who continue to drive the first roadster produced in 1989, a toast was made with a plastic bottle of tea at 10 minutes, 10 seconds passed 10am. With that the event kicked off. Akira Marumoto, Representative Director of Mazda, said, “Welcome back, everyone. Welcome to the Mazda Miyoshi Proving Grounds, the birthplace of the Roadster MX-5.” There was then a presentation of a letter of appreciation to past roadster development chiefs, a developer talk show, an introduction of Japan national roadster owners’ club representatives, along with overseas owners club reps from countries such as the Philippines and Thailand. On behalf of those with development experience, Takao Kijima, current professor at Yamaguchi Tokyo University of Science, said “Today, Mr. Hirai, the first chief engineer, was unable to participate due to a doctor’s order. They say that you can drink delicious water thanks to the people who dug the well. In that vein, I would like to thank Hirai-san who dug the well that was the first roadster. I heard that there were many hurdles to be overcame. The rest of us just made models called the NB, NC, ND, using the well that Hirai dug.” This was met with thunderous applause from the venue. In the exhibition space, 36 special spec roadsters were lined up. All the cars were owners’ cars, like the other participating vehicles, and these were cars that came from all over the country. They Included the NA M2 1001, 1002, 1028, NB Roadster Coupe, Roadster Turbo, NC 10th anniversary car, and rare cars such as the 25th anniversary car which garnered particular attention. Every car was polished up and sparkling. As a variant, there were also North America spec 2D soft top NDs and Mazdaspeed C spec NBs. Moreover there was a 10th anniversary signature NB, a 20th anniversary NC, and a 30th anniversary signature ND that all the owners present signed in commemoration.
There were long lines right from the morning at the official goods sales tents, local food stands, etc. keeping the staff very busy. The person in charge of the Mazda goods shop stated, “Every customer is a roadster owner, so the 30th anniversary goods sold out very rapidly. Thanks, so much for your patronage!”
Time passed in no time during the fun event and soon it was time for the main attraction, the parade run. Since it took more than 2 hours for the 2,200 units to line up at the entrance, it was predicted that it would take 3 hours to implement the parade run of the circuit, and so the parade started at 3:00pm. Mazda Vice President, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, went up on stage and said, “Roadsters are immortal. See you in 10 years. Well then, have fun everyone!” and each owner went back to their individual car.
At the straight at the end of the circuit, Kijima, Roadster Ambassador, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, and Roadster Development Chief, Shigeki Saito, waved while saying, “See you again in 10 years” as the parade cars lined up in three rows slowly progressing away to the first bank. Masashi Nakayama, former ND chief engineer was not there because he was participating in the parade run with his own NA roadster. The 2,200 roadsters parading side-by-side was truly a sight to behold.
Text by MZRacing, Photos by MZRacing and Mazda