The 2nd Rotax Max Challenge Japan Mizunami Series was held during the Golden Week holiday May 6th & 7th. A total of 170 Drivers took part, where several qualifying heats and elimination race was in the menu.
This 2 days event format allowed competitors to thoroughly think for the best strategy to access the final. Once again, Entrants joined from all over the land of the rising sun. From the northernmost island of Hokkaido to the southern most islands of Okinawa, as well as international drivers from Australia, Taiwan and China, this holiday race felt like a big karting family gathering in East Asia.
14 youngsters were on the line up for the final. Pole Position for Hayato iida, Ryota Horachi 2nd. The rolling start was nice and clean, Hayato keeping the lead. Shota Fujii and Enzo Yeh managed to squeeze in the tiny gap left at turn 1 to grab to be in the top 3, Ryota falling into 4th. On lap 2, racers were by pair, Leader Hayato and Fujii 2nd pulling away. In the back, hostilities started. As no one has willing to work chasing the front, it allowed the leaders to firmly secure their positions. In a failed attack, Fuji Kishi took out with him Shuma Tasaki. The pack stretches even further. Our Aussie mate Griffin Peebles, in his second race in Japan, went from 6th to 3rd, but was also having difficulties to contain Enzo & Ryota. That allowed other protagonists to rejoin the chasing group. In the final 2 laps, Shota was unable to bring any attack on Hayato, while up to 9 drivers tightly packed within 2 seconds were fighting in a mad dash to complete the final step of the podium. Without surprise, Hayato for the win, Shota 2nd, Enzo 3rd, Ryota 4th & Griffin 5th.
24 drivers were on the grid for the 2nd edition of the popular Max Novice. Yoshinao Adachi P1 took the lead as the light went off, Masahiro Nikaido and Kiyotaka Kubota on the chase. All 3 pulled away after a couple laps. A block pass attempt by Nikaido sent Adachi to 3rd while Kubota, opportunist, obtained P1. Those positions remained unchanged, with Kubota stepping up the game. Adachi, bumper to bumper behind Nikaido finally regained P2 with 2 laps to go. Victory for Kiyotaka Kubota, 2nd for Yoshinao Adachi, 3rd Nikaido, 4th Takamasa Matsuoka and 5th Shinji Yuasa.
6 participants for the final with again, Horachi Ryota, double entrant at the pole. Clean start and hole shot for him, Daisuke Yamashita 2nd and Masaki Kuriyama 3rd. Right after the opening lap, Daisuke was ready to show he is clearly the is the boss in this category, nabbed the lead from Ryota, took off, and never to be seen again. Masaki, at 2/3 of the race took the 2nd position, as Ryota was physically and mentally drained from his previous race in Micro Max. Those position will stay in this order till the checkered flag. Daisuke Yamashita 1st, Masaki Kuriyama 2nd, Ryota Adachi 3rd, Shohei Koguchi 4th and Yamato inui 5th.
With a huge number of pilots for this Golden Week race, 36 participants had to go through qualifications and different heats to be able to take part in the final. Unfortunately 2 drivers had been eliminated in the survival game, the second chance heat. The top drivers on the grid was Tosei Moriyama and Kokoro Morita on the front line, Kento Omiya and Toranosuke Hamada on the 2nd line. The start was packed at full speed with Kokoro Being forced out by Kento. AT turned 4 and Turn 7 a handful of drivers crashed, sending them out of the race. Meanwhile, in the front a lot of lead changes had started. Kento Omiya was smarter at this game, took the command. A fierce battle started in the chasing group, with everyone trying to stay on top. The heated exchange had in fact secured Kento's lead and win. To be able to stand on the podium, the remaining challengers continued attacks and block passes. Finally Toranosuke Hamada & Tosei Moriyama grabbed 2nd and 3rd. A great performance for Minari Nakaseko, as she fought sine the qualifying heats from the far back to finish 4th and Shuma Sugimoto 5th.
Gentlemen from Hokkaido to Kyushu gathered for this race. With some having to commute over 10 hours,the passion for racing wouldn't stop them at all to be on the grid. Pole position was won by Kengo Sugiyama, next to him was Katsuyuki Sasaki. The start was perfect without any incident. After the opening lap, Tomokazu Kazase from 3rd quickly took the lead with Kengo P2 and Yukio Tsukamoto 3rd, Sasaki falling to 4th. The epic rivalry between Kengo and Yukio was beneficial to Kawase as he increased his lead. Sasaki somehow managed to contain attacks from Masanori Kato, 5th. The race will remain unchanged until the final lap, turn 2.
Yukio Tsukamoto 3rd, made a charge on Kengo, but both tires touched sending them out of the podium. Unchallenged win for Kawase, Lucky Sasaki 2nd and Kato 3rd stole the remaining trophies, Yoshimi inoue 4th and Yoichi Kaeriyama 5th.
Same as the Junior Max, 36 entrants had to go through the same process to earn the grid on the final. Koki Mizuno & Momo Okuda offered the front row for the team HRS Japan. At the start, Mizuno took the command while Momo had to give way as she was unable to contain the attacks of Shumi Tsukada and Daisuke Takaguchi. At turn five, a competitor created a slight incident in the hairpin splitting racers into 2 groups. On lap 2, Momo Okuda tried to regain her the front row, made a risky block pass on Takaguchi but she didn't had space. That manoeuvre sent both to a complete halt in the middle of the track, with the rest of the racers passing by. Daisuke had an extensive damage on his front panel, he had to retire from the race. Momo rejoined the race dead last. By lap 5, a handful of drivers are giving chase on Mizuno, but that wasn't enough. As hostilities continued from the back, the leader had a clear path, flying away to claim his second victory of the year. The podium was completed by Shogou Endo 2nd and Ren Tomita 3rd.