ROPPONGI, TOKYO, July 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — DYNAMITE BOATRACE Japan, the most popular high-octane on-water motorsport in Japan for more than 70 years, continued its summer competition schedule with the 30th BOATRACE Miyajima Grand Champion Series held over six days from June 23 through 28, 2020.
The Miyajima BOATRACE course is set amongst one of the most historically significant locations in Japan alongside two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Hiroshima. The Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima, one of the most significant shrines in Japan and the only shrine in the world built on top of the water, and the nearby Hiroshima Peace Memorial, known around the world as the Atomic Bomb Dome, typically attract millions of international visitors each year.
This year, however, with international inbound flights into Japan reduced by 99.9 percent, and the domestic live audience attendance restricted due to the current health environment, racers continued to compete without spectators or with restricted spectator attendance at some stadiums.
“The health and safety of our racers and fans is still our number one priority, while the competition continues to ramp up on the water,” said Tsukasa Murakami, International BOATRACE Promotion Manager. “BOATRACE fans followed the action on Japanese cable TV channels and via live BOATRACE webcasts, and we continue to push more race highlights, photos and videos out through our new social media channels to share the sport with fans around the world.”
DYNAMITE BOATRACE and the Japan Boatracing Association are promoting video highlights, photos, and athlete and race information to the international fan base on the recently-launched social media channels on Facebook @DynamiteBoatRaceJapan and Instagram @Dynamite_Boatrace_Japan.
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The Road to The Grand Prix finale in late December is well on track.
Entry to the Grand Prix finale in late December is only open to the top 18 prize winning racers over the year, and we saw some upsets in this Miyashima SG series.
Fresh after his victory at the 47th BOATRACE All Star SG Series at Osaka, Hitoshi Shinosaki faltered and fell while his opposing top 10 racers continue to squeeze themselves into the top five. Hideki Tokumasa deservedly took the top position in this tourney and with this jump sits third in overall winnings this year. However, he is surrounded by very capable racers.
Motohiro Yoshikawa, overall winnings earner this year at 73 million yen ($682,000), held onto the top slot but needs to ask himself the serious questions as Ryota Mine and Kouhei Kikuchi, the second and seventh positions respectively, knock on his door with demonstrated consistency and mutual tenacity as they edge upwards. The tug of war between Mine and Kikuchi may well be the battle to watch from now.
Shigeru Matsui, at 50 years of age and currently sitting at 10th overall in this year’s rankings, continues to show flashes of why he is still the all-time career winnings leader and why he maintains the no. 10 slot. The pressure towards the top 10 may force him further down the board yet, experience still sees him as an unspent force.
The top five female racers, from Nana Hirataka down to Chihiro Oyama, did not appear in this regatta, and left the sole woman racer, Emi Endo, to battle the remaining competition. She finished well down the list.
In a separate race series at BOATRACE Shimonoseki (Yamaguchi Prefecture, Western Japan), Chihiro Oyama won seven consecutive races and she continues to push up the board. Oyama is a second generation BOATRACER preceded by her mother, and at 24 years of age, she has plenty of runway to become legendary.
With only five more months and four more SG Series to go until the finale in late December at Heiwajima in Tokyo, all eyes will be looking towards the next big SG Series at the BOATRACE Naruto stadium in Shikoku on July 21 through 26 on what should have been the opening weekend of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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A nod to Japanese art and culture, BOATRACE athletes compete in lightweight, wooden boats that are hand cut, carefully crafted, and assembled in Japan each year. Only 1,600 boats are made per year, and each one features a stock outboard motor and is retired after only one season.
The first BOATRACE was held in Japan in April 1952 at BOATRACE Stadium in Omura City, Nagasaki. BOATRACE launched during a period of great economic and social hardship in Japan as the country worked to recover from the destruction of World War II. The sport is rooted in tradition from this time, most noticeably by utilizing the original wooden boat design since inception.
The closest U.S. classification is “Stock Outboard,” however the boat is a “one design” hydroplane with racing engines driven by an outboard powerhead and a racing lower unit with a direct drive (meaning it starts and stays in gear).
All boats and engines are assembled and tested at Yamato Motors, the exclusive manufacturer of the BOATRACE boats. The engines are 400cc two stroke engines and generate 22.8kW at 6,600 rpm.
Boat speed at full throttle is about 50 mph. Due to the racers’ closeness to the water, the apparent speed feels more like 75 mph and centrifugal force (g-force) when cornering is considerable.
Once retired, the Yamato Motor Company engines used in BOATRACE are reconditioned and a small handful are shipped to the United States and Europe where they are used for boat racing and would be considered C Stock Hydro in the USA. These engines are robust and considered prized by the industry.
At each event, competitors are assigned an engine and a boat at random to use for race day. Competitors must tune their own engine and perform any maintenance for competition.
In each race, six boats race three laps around an 1,800 meter (1.1 mile) course. Each lap is approximately 600 meters (approximately 0.37 miles).
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About DYNAMITE BOATRACE
DYNAMITE BOATRACE is a high-octane water motorsport that combines a martial combat mentality with elements of stock car racing and pits male and female athletes against each other in a single field of battle. Approximately 50,000 events take place annually at 24 dedicated stadiums attracting about 10 million fans. BOATRACE is a cultural icon in Japan with a strict barrier to entry for athletes that includes stringent testing and year-long bootcamp-style training. More information is at https://lets-boatrace.jp/en/.