「Legends of Street Racing」The Roar of Street Tuned Drag Machines Cuts Through the Night! Infilitrating the Largest Street Drags of the 21st Century [Play Back The OPTION]
Published : 2020/09/17 23:30 Modified : 2020/09/17 23:30
For a few late-night hours in the summer of 2008, it was showtime
There was once a time in Japan when it was known throughout the country as the “Sacred Land of Street Drags”. In that golden era, it was not out of the ordinary that 200+ cars would gather on weekend late nights. But it didn’t last long. Frequent incidents and accidents were met with a large-scale police crackdown. The number of people who wanted to take part and the number of onlookers still continued to swell. Manners began to deteriorate and order became difficult for the local regulars to control.
Such a destructive chain of events drove this infamous spot to ruin. Though the scene was most active many years ago already, we visited again on an invitation saying “It’s just exciting today as it used to be back then”. The sacred place we visited in response to that invitation was not a catastrophic environment but rather a time capsule of the heyday itself. (Excerpt from the August 2008 OPTION magazine)
The loud reverberations of drag-tuned machines!
「A Legendary Spot」reignites!
When we turned the final corner leading into a certain wharf in central Japan, a straight 4-lane road that stretched for over a kilometer appeared in sight. A check of the time showed 10pm on the dot.
Continuing a bit further, there were tuned cars overflowing onto the road’s shoulder. There were more than 100 cars by rough estimate. From famous JDDA drag cars which were nationally ranked on the strip to well-known tuner shop demo cars to compact street tuners, the late-night stretch of road was packed with serious machines. The number of people in the gallery of onlookers was also insane.
What was normally a long straight section of road that functioned as a loading and unloading route for container trucks at port during the day became a serious drag stage on this very night. It was during these late night hours that it became a sacred place for drag racers from far and wide.
“I wanted to liven up the street drag scene again and I wanted everyone involved to see the excitement we used to have. I decided to line up a bracket with a makeshift signal tree and make a tourament of it,” the ‘organizer’ tells us as he pins up this hand-drawn tournament bracket to a nearby gate.
Its 11:00pm. The sound of powerful engines being brought to life made heartbeats start pounding with excitement. Wastegates opened and the noise of backfires hit our eardrums threatening to break them. The largest street drag night of the 21st century was about to begin.
After warming up, cars began to spin their tires in the burnout zone near the starting line. The sound of monsterous exhaust notes increased in intensity and tire smoke filled the area. It was this unbelievable sound and cloud of white smoke that transported us all back to the heyday of street drags.
Then the dry hops began. Its a common sight at the dragstrip but to see it on the street at night, an element of excitement is added. This might be because it stirs up the illegal atmosphere even more.
The first two cars take their place at the start line after completing this “ritual”. Engine notes rise to a roar and the countdown of the makeshift tree shifts from red to yellow to green. The rear tires kicked up the road surface as the cars noses lifted. They launched off the line and mere seconds later rushed off into the darkness with the force of a bullet from a pistol.
After a short interval, the next pair of cars were led to the starting line. They ran again and again in heated battles throughout the night.
This feast for the eyes and ears was like a dream that disappeared at dawn. Nevertheless, a former sacred place was in fact revived by street legends for one magical night. It remains an almost holy happening that will forever be burned in our minds.