【Day3】21 Apr 2019
Second half where fatigue starts to show on both participants and cars
|Day three started. It's the second half of the rally. The weather in the morning was not too bad and the entrants were doing their morning routine. The cars have traveled approximately 515 km without any problem, and signs of fatigue began to show on them. Unfortunately, some of the cars dropped out of the rally. Those teams are registered as retire, however, they are allowed to drive to the finish line with another car, so some of them got a different car ready in a hurry and drove the rest of the way. At any rate, the key point in the second half is whether or not the entrants can get to Kyoto safely.
The entrants set off from Hotel & Resorts WAKAYAMA-MINABE at 7:00 am and drove along the sea to EE Park in Gobo City. They received a stamp and competed a PC competition there. Despite the early morning, many local people came to cheer for them. For the entrants, who are concerned about the outcome of the rally, each of the PC competition results in the second half is important. Cheers from local people motivate the entrants more than anything else when they start to feel tired.
After leaving EE Park, the entrants passed through three stamp points, the Community Center in Hidakagawa Town, Railway Park in Aridagawa Town and Wakayama Castle in Wakayama City, then headed to SHIMA SEIKI, the last point in Wakayama Prefecture.
Many spectators welcomed the entrants at SHIMA SEIKI and the entrants responded to the cheers with a smile. There were also many children waving small flags lively, which lifted entrants' spirits. I hope those children will remember the cars in front of them and become interested in driving the same cars or touching its machine when they grow up.
The entrants left SHIMA SEIKI and traveled to Osaka. After receiving a stamp at Kaizuka City Hall, they headed to Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture. They passed through a stamp point in TANZAN JINJA-Shrine to Kasa Soba. A PC competition in the results open format was scheduled to be held at Kasa Soba. However, the number of spectators and their cars greatly exceeded organizers' expectation, so the organizers thought it was too dangerous and decided the competition should be called off.
The entrants traveled from Sakurai City to today's last competition point, MEIHAN Sports Land in Yamazoe Village. The competition was held using its kart course, and as a measurement line was set at the end of a corner, it was hard to grasp the distance to the line from competitor's side. The entrants focuded their attention on steering and operating the gas pedal and the clutch and were trying hard to step on the measurement line at an exact timing.
The entrants left Meihan Sports Land, which was the last point in Nara Prefecture, and headed to Miki City, Hyogo Prefecture. They received today's last stamp at NESTA RESORT KOBE, the finish line of day three. Many people were waiting for their arrival at the finish line and warmly welcomed them, saying, "Welcome back!", which means a lot to the entrants, who just finished an approximately 380 km drive.
Fatigue begins to tell on both the participants and the cars in the second half. First of all, to complete the rally safely is most important, of course the results are important too. For that, mechanics are essential. They maintain the cars late into the night every day, in addition, they check other teams' cars in case of emergency. Even entrants who are not accompanied by a mechanic can keep their car in good condition because those mechanics travel with them and maintain the cars every day. Without their support, it is impossible to drive a car built more than half a century ago for approximately 1,250 km for four days. Mechanics are also fighting with entrants as a member of a team.
Day four, the final day of the event, will start from Miki City, Hyogo Prefecture and head to the finish line in Okazaki Park in Kyoto City. The travel distance is approximately 339 km. I hope as many of the cars as possible complete the rally.
（text & photo：Mika Iwamoto）