【Day4 & Awarding Ceremony】17 Apr 2017
Mr. and Mrs. Takemoto wins competitive race to achieve 5th consecutive victories
|So far, the weather cooperated for La Festa Primavera 2017, however, there was a high chance of rain in the afternoon on the final day, according to the forecast. Hoping for the weather to hold until the finish ceremony, the entrants departed from Kyoto.
They passed through Shiga to Kumagawajuku in Fukui. While a measured time is not normally open to either participants or spectators in a PC competition, an open PC competition was conducted here. The entrants tried hard on the competition with many spectators watching. Each time the cars stepped on the finish line, a measured time was announced on the spot and the crowd really got excited. When one team clocked exactly the same time as the setting time, the crowd let out a big cheer and gave a round of applause to the team.
After finishing the open PC competition in Kumagawajuku, the entrants ran through Rainbow Road with views of the Sea of Japan and Mikata-goko, Five Lakes of Mikata, then went back to Shiga for lunch at the shore of Lake Biwa. Last year the course was set facing the Sea of Japan for the first time in La Festa Primavera, and the entrants could see the beautiful scenery this year too. In addition, they enjoyed the diverse landscapes while driving through each region. The sea and the mountains were tinged with colors of the season, which was so impressive.
It started raining after lunch as the weather report said, and by the time the entrants arrived at Hikone Castle, it began to rain quite heavily. They got a stamp at Hikone Castle and finally headed toward the finish line in Kyoto. They were expected to take a rest at Kenninji Temple, but since the rain got heavier, they went straight to Okazaki Park, the finish line, after getting a stamp.
In the rain, there were a large number of spectators waiting for the arrival of the entrants along Shingu Street, which runs through Okazaki Park to the Heian Jingu Shrine. As the cars entered the venue, the crowd gave a warm applause to the cars and the entrants who just completed the rally of approximately 1,100 km. Although the entrants were soaked in the rain, they seemed to feel a sense of accomplishment when going through the finish gate. When asked about the rally, most of them said with a smile, "That was a very enjoyable four days." The words tell us everything about this four-day journey.
In the evening, the entrants welcomed H.I.H. Princess Akiko of Mikasa and Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa and enjoyed a lavish dinner while looking back on the four days. And then the awards ceremony began. There was an upset on day one. Although everyone thought Mr. and Mrs. Takemoto has no rival in Japan, they finished second on day one, approximately 580 points behind a young team of Isobe and Tsurumaki. Mr. and Mrs. Takemoto closed the gap on day two, remaining in second place. In addition, Mozzi and Biacca, who won the Mille Miglia in Italy twice, performed at their best, so it was hard to predict the results and everyone had a chance to win the race.
The third place went to No.53 Isobe and Tsurumaki. The young pair defeated other veteran teams to achieve a good result. The second place was No.29 Mozzi and Biacca. They drove briskly and enjoyably all the way to the finish. And the winner was Mr. and Mrs. Takemoto, winning the competitive race by a narrow margin. This was their fifth consecutive victory in La Festa Primavera, but the tears in Mrs. Takemoto's eyes told us it was not an easy race for them. "I am grateful to my wife and my car for working hard for four days," Mr. Takemoto said impressively in his victory speech, and the attendees gave a big round of applause to both of them on the stage.
During this rally, one team was forced to retire with car trouble, and decided to run the rest of the course with another vehicle. Unfortunately, their second car also had a problem, so they got in the third car and managed to run to the finish. This episode tells us participating in this rally means a lot to entrants and these are great four days that make entrants want to run to the finish even after retiring.
Thus, the spring journey ended. When the entrants left the venue, they looked somewhat sad, but they promised to meet again in autumn and left Kyoto with a pleasant smile.
A special program on La Festa Primavera 2017 will air on Saturday, June 24 at 5 p.m. on BS Fuji. Also, the autumn event La Festa Mille Miglia 2017 will be held from October 13.
（text & photo：Mika Iwamoto）