【Day4 & Awarding Ceremony】22 Oct 2018
Mr. and Mrs. Takemoto wins overwhelming victory, showing presence as champion
|Day four, the final day, was another clear and sunny day. Today's travel distance was approximately 235 km, which was slightly less than previous years, so the entrants had some time to relax in the morning. Both the entrants and the cars must have been exhausted, but many of the entrants were feeling sad that this journey was coming to an end. Keeping the warm welcome and every meeting at each point in their heart, they set off to the finish line in Meiji Shrine.
Although it was a weekday, a lot of people came cheer on the entrants at each point today as well. There was a lot of cheering for them through this four days. Wherever the entrants went, local people eagerly waiting for the arrival welcomed them with a smile and it was really encouraging.
As the entrants passed through Chiba Prefecture and arrived in Tokyo, the scenery from a car window changed from a peaceful landscape to a city area. The cars and the entrants traveled to 29 stamp points and regular check points and 15 PC competition sites for four days, and just completed the approximately 1,400-km rally over Tokyo and five prefectures. In Meiji Shrine, people waiting for their return were gathering one after another.
When the finish ceremony began at 5 p.m., the crowd applauded each of the cars for completing the rally. The entrants all looked satisfied, and when interviewed, they said, "I felt the kindness and the warmth of people in Tohoku and these four days were like a dream." This four-day La Festa Mille Miglia (1000-mile festival) must be memorable and unforgettable for both entrants who ran in Tohoku eight years ago and those for the first time.
After the finish ceremony, it was time to enjoy delicious dinner and drinks with Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko. The attendees all seemed to have a great conversation about the experience of the four days. This was an hour of bliss only those who shared an enjoyable time as well as a tough time could have. The time was past 9 p.m., and now it was time for the awards ceremony.
Which team won this year's title? Mr. & Mrs. Takemoto, who won their eighth consecutive title until the year before last, the defending champion Yokota and Oki, the team of Mozzi and Biacca, who won Italian Mille Miglia twice, or a young team on the rise?
The third place was the No.18 of father-son team Manabu and Masayoshi Yamazaki, their second consecutive third-place finish. Although they said their car was not in a good condition, the team kept second on day two and three, and finished in third place. The second place went to the No.46 of Mozzi and Biacca again and they earned their five consecutive top-three finish. They were even waving their hands so easily with a smile during a competition, and at the same time showed their strength through the rally. And this year's winner was the No. 12 of Mr. & Mrs. Takemoto. They kept the first place for four days and never let other teams take the lead, which would come from their experience and skills as a champion. The pair unfortunately were forced to retire from last year's La Festa Mille Miglia and spring's La Festa Primavera and their winning streak ended. There were rumors going around about them, but they won a brilliant victory today as if dismissed such rumors. They said in the winning speech, "I want young teams to try harder." The attendees felt their enthusiasm and pride as a champion that they are not going to be defeated in the speech, and gave a big round of applause to the winners, showing their respect.
By the time the awards ceremony ended, the date already changed and this four-day journey all ended. Four precious cars from the Porsche Museum in Germany participated this time. It was found out that the chassis numbers of PORSCHE 550A SPYDER among them and PORSCHE 550 RS of No. 74 Araki and Tsujimoto happened to be sequential. The two cars produced next to each other in Germany in the 1950s met again in Japan after more than 60 years and ran together. I will never forget the once-in-a-lifetime sight.
The entrants had nostalgic reunions and opportunities to meet new people on the Urabandai route taken for the first time in eight years, and a new story of La Festa Mille Miglia will start from here. The entrants all promised to meet again in Meiji Shrine next year and went back to their daily life.
The La Festa Mille Miglia 2018 is scheduled to air on BS Fuji in December. Spring's La Festa Primavera 2019 will be held on April 19.
（text & photo：Mika Iwamoto）