2023 JEC: Tanaka grabs victory for Honda at Hiroshima, Rnd1
The 2023 Japanese Enduro Championship kicked off at the Tejas Ranch in Hiroshoma prefecture with Takase Tanaka and Tadashi Kugimura bettering reigning champion Ryoto Baba at the opening round.
The 2023 season’s Japanese Enduro Championship (JEC) is aiming to get back on course with a full schedule of race weekends across the calendar. The ’23 season will have two one-day events and three two-day events, with a total of eight days of competition.
The opening round kicked things off in Hiroshima during March and was held as a one-day competition, just the right warm-up for the riders and teams heading into the new season. Hiroshima featured a short but technical loop of 12km which included two special tests which the riders had to complete seven times.
Honda mounted Takase Tanaka set the fastest time in the first test, closely followed by Tadashi Kugimura of the Beta team and this set up the rest of the day battle between the pair.
Reigning JEC champion Ryota Baba got off to a slow start but quickly recovered and closed in on top two. Baba rides the Yamaha YZ125X and later explained he had struggled on the wet surface in the early tests.
Tanaka and Kugimura continued to battle closely through the day with Baba chasi9ng back the early time lost all day. In the end, Tanaka won with a tiny 2.21 seconds difference ahead of Kugimura with Baba third, just 10 seconds back.
Tanaka explained the battle brought pressure! “I struggled with the pressure from Kugimura, but I managed to win the opening JEC. The new CRF250RX has a good set-up and I think that's why I won today. Anyway, I’m happy that I was able to win!”
Beta-mounted Kugimura explains the upgrade to a 300, “I changed from last year's 200 to 300, and I was able to shorten the time by adjusting the riding style to match the characteristics of the 300 engine. We had a good battle in the special test.”
Third placed Ryota Baba meanwhile blamed his slow start on the conditions and not having enough power from the 125 Yamaha: “The reason I lost was that I was not able to set good times on the wet track in the early stages. Now I’m focused on next round of Sugo!”
2023 JEC Rnd1, Hiroshima results:
1. Takase Tanaka, Honda CRF250RX
2. Tadashi Kugimura, Beta RR2T300
3. Ryota Baba, Yamaha YZ125X
4. Yoshikazu Hosaka, GASGAS EC350F
5. Tsubasa Iizuka, Honda CRF250R
6. Tomoya Suzaki,Yamaha YZ250X
1. Shintaro Mori, Yamaha YZ250X
2. Toshiyasu Hoshino, Yamaha YZ250X
3. Koji Ikeda, KTM 350 EXC-F
4. Kenichi Kuroda, Honda CRF250RX
5. Kohaku Aoki, Beta RR 2T 125
6. Kazuyuki Yamanaka, Beta RR 2T 300
1. Asuna Hosaka, Kawasaki KX100
2. Ayako Wada, Yamaha YZ125X
The next round of JEC ’23 is the Sugo 2 Days Enduro on April 29-30.
Words Credit: Hisashi Haruki BigTank Magazine
Photo Credit: www.off1.jp