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Day 13 (Sunday, 2016-08-21)
Temperature: 31dC (in the shade)
  • Suzuka F1 GP Track
  • Image Notes
    The way to Suzuka

    On this day only one of Cornelius' retainers accompanied it to the famous F1 Grand Prix track of Suzuka.

    Even though the track is a reference point on the F1 calendar its location is not very central and the transit options are - by Japanese - standards poor.

    To get to the track the Cone followed the following path.
       1) Shinkansen (30 minutes): From Kyoto to Nagoya. Get on at track 11.
       2) JR rapid (30 minutes): From Nagoya to Yokkaicihi. Get on at track 13.
       3) Ise line (15 minutes): At Yokkaichi get off the JR train and walk on the same track due south until the end of the track. This is where a 1 car train stops to take passengers to the circuit. It is a disel not an electric train and it spans two train lines (JR line and Ise line) - this means that if one has a JR pass they need to pay an additional 300 yen to travel on the Ise line.
       4) Once at the Suzuka train station turn right (east) and go through the tunnel under the train tracks until the main road is reached. There turn left (north) and walk for about 15 minutes towards the big ferries wheel on the horizon. At the base of the ferries wheels lies the great Suzuka track.
    Here the Cone learns the way of the Train Conductors. Like all conductors this one performs his duties by gesticulating at different items in his neighbourhood - quite entertaining to watch.
    Cornelius switched on the Ise line train to Suzuka. As mentioned before this is a very small train - only one cart with only 5 passengers. The train conductor is also much more relaxed and doesn't appear to be indoctrinated in the art of gesticulating like allmost all JR conductors. He however knows of the great "Suzuka Circuito" as he calls it.
    On the way from the Suzuka train station to the Suzuka track Cornelius encounters a lonely farmer in his one person rice harvester. The field was harvested in about 3 hours. By the time the Cone returned from the track the farmer was packing the last sack of rice in his little truck and getting out of dodge.
    And the Cone reaches the epic track. Though there's no sound of race engines being reved or tires squealing.
    Upon entering the track (1,700 yen) the cone discovers that there is a lot of carbon fibre on track but its on two wheels not four. This weekend the bicycle Shimano Road Race is scheduled to run so there are no cars are on the track or in the pits. Today's first race was scheduled at 06:50 and there are about 1,000 riders in the paddocks.
    Unexpected track walk

    As the track was quiet and the baricades around the Senna Ses where removed the Cone started walking along the track taking pictures from place to place. When it reached the Dunlop curve a few kids on expensive road bicycles passed him. By the time it reached the overpass a motorcycle leading a small group of 8-12 years old also passed him. There the Cone met a small group of track officials who appeared to be very anxious about the Cone walking down the track on its own. They explained that a race was going on and that it was dangerous for the Cone to just wonder off doing a track walk on its own. The Cone argued that "the race" consisted of young children barely going faster than walking speed and asked if the officials would allow him to continue to the hairpin? The officials looked conflicted - the danger element was somewhat exagerated and they were inclined to allow the Cone to continue. However they had to confer with Race Control over the radio. And of course Race Control denied the request. With a sad heart the Cone made the track back to the main straight.
    A peleton passes the cone just before the main straight. By this time a new race started which was made up of adult newbies. The Cone is surprised by how much chatter and shouting occurs in the peleton.
    The Suzuka track is wonderful. It is very well organized with easy access from the stands to the cafeteria and pits. After checking out many bicycles and teams (the Cone estimates there were about 1,000 riders participating) it decided to relax in the grand stand.
    The cone found its way on the start finish line from where it watched multiple races. As there were many participants the race participants were divided into groups which had their starts staggered - here is one of these staggered starts.
    And here is a Race Finish - the commentator is a little to excited for the amount of spectators in the stands. Another interesting fact is that the previously congealed peleton starts breaking up about 500 meters away from the finish line. So by the time the finish line is crossed there is no peleton left.
    The cone enjoys a small lunch in the stands and eats the last piece of the Vancouver chocolate it received from Patrick. Thanks Patrick - the orange matches the Cone's skin.
    After a couple of hours in the stands the Cone decides to visit other parts of the track. Though there isn't much racing related exhibits to tour. As the track is owned by the "Honda Group" in a parkade in a corner of the circuit there were a few dozens Honda Civics and CRVs road cars with mounted roll cages that were used for driving lessons. Other than that no race cars were noticed anywhere.
    A small museum sits very close to the base of the ferrries wheel - there the Cone encountered a small selection of motorcyle exhibits. This one is a Harley Davidson from the 1950s.
    Another one - this one has two set of chains and the gear ratio looks really big.
    And this one is a BMW - why do BMWs have to look so strange? It's not like they are that fast anyway.
    This is His helmet from the Detroit GP in 1990. It was scuffed and dirty from the race.

    Note: for those that don't know He is Ayrton Senna.
    The Cone decides to head back to Kyoto. To get a feel for how desolate the area around the track is this is the Suzuka train station. By JR standards this is not even a stop.
    Cornelius arrived back in Kyoto and it went to the Food Court at Aeon Mall for dinner. On the way there of course he dropped in by the Arcade to check on the tribunes trying to make a name for themselves. Tonight was a good night as he encountered this Master at work.

    For the uniniated any player who caries a combo above 500 is in the eyes of the Cone a Master player.
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