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Misadventures of a Drift Newbie, Part 12: Soukoukai #4 Practice Day!

We finally participated in our first practice day! It was Spirit.jp’s Soukoukai #4 on 11/17/19. We’ve been preparing for this event for a long time, it was our first time driving outside of a Novice Clinic.

A couple weeks earlier I managed to finish up the bodywork, so we were able to finally install the Squid Girl itasha wrap in time too!

Driver’s side bodyworked and ready to wrap.

On the Saturday before the event we gave the car a general once-over and loaded up our gear. We were able to pack everything into the drift car except for the cooler! Then we headed to RIR to watch the Night Touge event, which was a great time as always. We left a little early to get a good night’s sleep prior to our big day.

Our pit area on this chilly morning.

The next morning Nate and I headed to RIR early to get our pit set up and have the car tech inspected. Thanks to my crew’s attention to detail we passed tech without any trouble. We had a newly welded differential to try out, and a fresh itasha livery to debut! I’d used the car as my daily for about a week so I could get acclimated to the welded diff, but this was my first time on the track with it.

Fresh new itasha wrap!

Adjusting to the new diff went pretty well, but the next weakest link started to show itself pretty early in the day. Our clutch, that we suspect may still be the original from 1985, was not a happy camper. I guess now that both rear wheels have no choice but to turn there’s more stress on the clutch. It was tough to break traction because clutch kicks didn’t really do anything!

Working on my entries into the first corner.

Since clutch kicks weren’t really effective I experimented with more weight transfers, and even tried yanking the handbrake a couple times. I feel like I made a bit of progress despite the clutch issues, but more importantly the team and I had a lot of fun! That’s the most important part, in my opinion. All in all I would call this day a big success for Team Lemon House!

Wallowing like a pig in the mud! Suspension mods are coming soon.

The clutch was getting progressively worse throughout the day, it was after the second to last session of the day that we called it quits. It was slipping so bad that even getting it back to the pits was a bit challenging. I was hoping that I’d quit soon enough to be able to limp it back home once it cooled off, but no such luck. I managed to get out of the RIR complex, but once we hit the main road the clutch said NOPE! Fortunately AAA came to the rescue and towed it home, where it will rest during the holidays. We’re hoping to find a Black Friday deal on a stage 2 clutch kit, and we’ll stick it in as soon as we get a chance. Then we’ll be back at it early next year!

Hooray for AAA!

It blew my mind when I realized this event was 1 day shy of being exactly a year since that fateful first Spirit.jp event, the one I went to on a whim last November. I vividly remember sitting on those cold bleachers back then, thinking how awesome & fun this drifting stuff looked and how badly I wanted to try it myself! Now here we are, a year later, and I’ve got my own drift team! Huge thanks to Nate, Frank and Travis for all your hard work, I’m so proud of you guys! None of this would have been possible without you. Also thanks to Joe Ascoli and the Spirit.jp crew for putting on these incredible drift events! I’m already excited for the 2020 season, I can’t even imagine how far we’ll progress in our second year.

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