IFMAR 1/10th Off Road World Championships 2007 -


For your convenience, the Worlds report is now split onto seperate pages - one per day of the Championships.

2WD Registration
2WD Practice
2WD Qualifying
2WD Finals
4WD Registration
4WD Practice
4WD Qualifying
4WD Finals


We only decided to come to Japan for the World Championships at the last minute – well, a matter of 3 weeks before the event.  Our travel partner for the Worlds was to be Lee Martin, who drives for Team Associated and Team AERO – the latter of which he won this years UK National off road Championships with in the 4WD class.  Lee’s pit man is flying out just for the championships, and it’s a similar story for all the other UK drivers.


Japan is a long way to go to race ‘toy cars’ but it’s an even longer way to go only to take photos!  So we decided early-on that if we’re coming to Japan, we at least want to see some of it. So with a short stay in Tokyo arranged either side of the Worlds, we were all set.

I’ll take this time to mention that without the kind support of many people – along with the main sponsorship from Tean Associated / Reedy / LRP, and additional help from radio control car RACER magazine, and others, we’d not even have been able to attend.  So thanks all those mentioned.

We drove four hours to Lees house and stayed the night before Lees dad took us to the airport in the morning.  Heathrow airport – much like all UK airports these days, was a mess.   Various anti-terrorism measures hastily erected around entrances and the like.

The 12 hour flight took off at around 1pm on the Wednesday but actually landed at 8:30am on the following day due to the time differences.  Several movies and very little sleep later we finally landed in Tokyo Narita airport.  Tokyo Narita is the main International airport for Tokyo but it’s actually a long way out from the city and required a 90minute bus journey to get into Tokyo city centre.

We’d already booked a hotel in Tokyo over the internet, the so-called ‘Tokyo Dome’ – a high-rise hotel built on the same site as the baseball dome it’s named after.

Lee Martins personal track - CML Raceway


After a short sleep to re-charge ourselves we set off for ‘Akihabara’ – a district in Tokyo which is famous for its electronics, computer and manga (comic) shops.   The walk to Akihabara was only a mile or so – so, no reason to brave the challenge of public transport just yet.  The temperatures were well into the 80s (Fahrenheit) and humidity verging on 90% - meaning it was hot and sticky as soon as you left the comforts of the hotel air conditioning.
Fun fact time:  The hottest temperature ever measured in Japan - 40.9 degrees Celsius - was recorded on August 16, 2007.

Can or bottle? it's both!......... awesome
Tokyo carpark - elevators and turntables! amazing

We visited 'RC Champ', one of several large R/C shops in the Akihabara area – the range of products was amazing, along with the prices.  Lee got himself a 27mhz receiver and some paint for his wings.

We spent all day in Akihabara, trying to stay awake in order to adjust to the time difference better (GMT +9).  The weather was increasingly poor and the rain came in wave after wave – each successively more severe it seemed.  We received a thorough soaking but the heat made it almost welcome – walking into air conditioned shops however was deeply-deeply unpleasant.
The rain seemed to lash down for the entire evening and right through the night.  Lets hope the World Championships doesn’t receive this much rain.
Vending machines are everywhere - selling all sorts!
Jimmy and Lee Martin - wet!

After spending Friday visiting the rest of the R/C shops in the Akihabara area, along with some intense gaming arcade – we were pretty worn out with the heat and intensity of it all. We rounded out the Friday with a visit to the  ‘Yodobashi’ electronics shop in Akiba. 
This has to be one of the largest electronics shops in the world – it was both amazing and insane at the same time.  There must have been 50 staff at least on each floor and some carried megaphones to scream out some offer or another – utter madness. The range of goods on offer is like you’ve never seen before. The camera section alone covered every manufacturer and brand – they even had most of the lenses and (very expensive) camera bodies out on display for you to try.   

Lee Martin in Akihabara
The huge yodobashi electronics store

Saturday was the day we took our short 1 hour flight to Komatsu – the base for most of the drivers being in Komatsu city itself.  We were staying in the APA Komatsu along with the rest of the AE team drivers – free broadband internet access and a McDonalds just down the road, sorted.
We met up with some of the Australian guys who had a huge 10-seater hiace van, and they offered to take us to see the track with them.  So, with 7 rowdy aussies and us three piled in, we set off for the ~36km drive to the race venue.

The drive to the track takes around 45 minutes – when you know where you’re going and don’t get stuck behind a slow truck that is.  The route from Komatsu heads up to – and through the mountains, winding along the steep sides under covered sections and through tunnels which stop the seemingly frequent rock falls from killing us all!

The APA hotel - "Always Pleasant Amenity" - indeed!

Right: The view from the top floor looking toward the mountains - where the track is located. The streets in Komatsu, expecially around the hotel, are really quite narrow and have no foot paths at all.
Aussies everywhere!
Ridge Racer styleee through the mountains
More ridge racing
I think they are laughing at the moguls!

The trs, and everyone seeack was being worked on when we arrived and had a coating of lime (apparently) to dry it out.  The track felt quite tacky and a bit soft due to rain in recent days.  Some new moguls had been placed in one section and looked pretty hard work.

From the drivers stand the track doesn’t look quite so big as it might have done in photos / video

med to think the same. 

The track is actually on a slope, the far side of the track from the drivers being the highest point – and this makes the track look a little smaller.  Standing at the top end looking down toward the drivers stand gives the opposite impression.

View from the top of the track looking down
The new 'moguls' - these look a bit evil
Tomorrow, Sunday, is the first day of the World Championships - and we'll be able to see most of the big names getting prepared. There will only be registration and opening ceremony on the first day - no driving.


All photos are mine, all mine, and not to be used in commercial purposes without prior permission. (c) Jimmy Storey. rc(at)oople(dot)com.