Local enthusiasts still keep the flame of 90s Tamiya racing fever alive – Lifestyle


Radhiyya Indra (The Jakarta post)

Jakarta ●
Fri, January 21, 2022

Way of life
hobby, racing, graha-tamiya, tamiya, mini4wd
To free

Three decades have passed since the Japanese toymaker launched its iconic four-wheel-drive car model, but everyone from the current generation to adults is keeping the tracks hot.

Cars and motorcycles were parked outside an indoor sports complex last Friday in Cijantung, east Jakarta. A loud cheer erupted as a radio-controlled car passed the finish line.

“This guy is crazy!” the crowd was shouting and laughing.

Pit stop: the “engineers” of a Tamiya racing team fine-tune their Mini 4x4s before returning to the circuit. (Courtesy of Radhiyya Indra) (JP/Courtesy of Radhiyya Indra)

A variety of motor vehicles were parked outside a DIY store in Blok M, South Jakarta, on Saturday. The next day, they were parked in the parking lot of a cafe in Kemang, South Jakarta.

From teenagers and men to several women, the owners of these vehicles had come together for one purpose: to race their radio-controlled cars from Tamiya, a Japanese brand loved by children around the world that dominated the local leisure car scene in the 1990s and 2000s.

forever Young

While the company also produces battery-powered and solar-powered cars as educational models as well as a variety of modeling tools and supplies, for most Indonesians the name Tamiya is an eponym for the battery-powered model Mini. 4WD (four wheel drive). cars that the Japanese company launched in 1986.

The Mini 4WD enjoyed great success in Japan in the 1990s before taking off in the United States and then being even more welcomed in Asian countries, including Indonesia, which cemented its “classic” status among other valuable toys from the 90s. .

The serial manga Dash! Yonkuro (Shogakukan, 1987-1992), which also aired a short-lived anime adaptation on TV Tokyo in 1989-1990, featured a protagonist with superhero skills in racing the Mini 4WD that established the popularity of the role model among young fans.

Who would have thought that the local popularity of the Mini 4WD would last for decades?

Serious DIY: Team Parlente Tamiya's toolbox contains some of the tools and parts they use to modify and maintain their Mini 4WDs.  (Courtesy of Radhiyya Indra)Serious DIY: Team Parlente Tamiya’s toolbox contains some of the tools and parts they use to modify and maintain their Mini 4WDs. (Courtesy of Radhiyya Indra) (JP/Courtesy of Radhiyya Indra)

Last year, bassist Sammy Bramantyo of rock band Seringai and vocalist Iga Massardi of alt-pop band Barasuara captured social media attention for their high-profile Tamiya run, introducing a whole new generation to the trend.

“I started to get interested in Tamiya during the PSBB [large-scale social restrictions] when I saw artists like Sammy and Iga racing. I had never raced Tamiya before,” said 23-year-old Rifqi Farhan.

When Rifqi tried his hand at racing a Mini 4WD and shared his experience on Instagram, he unexpectedly learned that some of his friends also shared the same interest. Thus, the Talking Tamiya team was formed.

“I went to the same high school as Rifqi,” Parlente Tamiya member Anandya Gibran told The Post, and when he saw that Rifqi liked the Mini 4WD, “I said, ‘Let’s just try playing, no need to join a race, just assemble models.’”

“But when we joined our first race, we were hooked,” Anandya said.

It seems the trend is experiencing a revival even before the pandemic.

“I started playing with Tamiya [cars] again in 2017-2018, when I found a Tamiya Japan official store called Graha Tamiya in front of UMN in Tangerang. I saw so many UMN students playing there,” said Reza Arista, now 27, referring to Nusantara Multimedia University in Banten.

According to Andhika “Acil” Suryosantoso, who organizes the Tamiya races, the hype has been going on since it started in Indonesia in the early 90s.

“I’ve been playing since 1996 and I started to really [get into] active racing in 2002,” said the 37-year-old rider who has been a Tamiya racer and won competitions in various cities for more than two decades.

Acil basically chronicled the Tamiya trend in the country over the past 20 years, noting when it rose and fell.

“There was a time in 2010 when it was almost dead. In that year, people would see a Tamiya store or run and be like, ‘Oh, does it still exist?'” he said. Explain.

But one thing Acil is sure of is that he never died.

“Lately, the enthusiasm has become even more apparent,” he added.

serious business

One of the main reasons the Mini 4WD trend persisted, Acil said, was that new racing categories or classes were constantly popping up, bringing new life to the Tamiya community.

Race adaptability is another factor. Tamiya races can be found anywhere from a hardware store to a deserted corner of a mall, providing space for Tamiya enthusiasts to come together.

The Antaro race organized by Acil gathered more than 60 participants at Kopi Sakti, a small cafe located at the corner of a row of shops on Jl. Kemang Timour.

“We started getting to know other people and other teams [from] our first competition in Condet,” Rifqi said, referring to a road passing through a densely populated residential and commercial area in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta.

South Tangerang and South Jakarta are two “stages” of Tamiya, each with its own base camp and popular racetracks.

“There is also one in Bandung, and it barely scratches the surface. We have communities in Makassar, Palembang and even in Papua,” said Leo Hardy, owner of Brother Tamiya store in East Jakarta.

Race on: Parlente Tamiya Racing Team, considered junior among other Tamiya racers, pose with their Mini 4WDs during a race held on January 9, 2022 in Kemang, South Jakarta.  (Courtesy of Radhiyya Indra)Race on: Parlente Tamiya Racing Team, considered junior among other Tamiya racers, pose with their Mini 4WDs during a race held on January 9, 2022 in Kemang, South Jakarta. (Courtesy of Radhiyya Indra) (JP/Courtesy of Radhiyya Indra)

Members of Parlente Tamiya admit the hobby comes at a price, with enthusiasts spending between Rp100,000 (US$6.99) and over Rp1 million on the parts they needed to modify the cars for racing .

Nor are races small events. Tamiya competitions are held nationwide, in the Asian region, and even internationally, and can offer cash prizes of up to Rp 90 million for each winner. Parlente Tamiya was lucky enough to win a few, even in the junior team.

“It’s a profitable hobby if we win,” Rifqi said with a laugh. “But our main goal has always been to have fun first and foremost.”

lasting love

Discovering the official Graha Tamiya store, Reza bought other toys inspired by 90s cartoons like Beyblades and yo-yos, but was put off by the manufacturer’s new designs.

“The old versions that we had in our time are gone. They have become expensive collectibles,” Reza said.

“Strangely, Tamiya’s packaging hasn’t changed one iota since I was in elementary school, so that makes me [nostalgic],” he added.

Although he is not a racer, Reza enjoys playing with Tamiya cars all day with his friends and watching YouTube videos of Tamiya racers.

He also met many Tamiya enthusiasts at a racing event at Jordan Toys in QBIG, South Tangerang, before the pandemic hit in 2020.

“Tamiya enthusiasts are very diverse in their backgrounds. I can meet boys my age, middle-aged pilots, doctors, [it’s] a strange combination of people,” Reza noted.

“Some dads even bring their sons just to catch the Tamiya cars bouncing around the tracks,” he laughed.

Sometimes it’s the kids dragging their parents to a race as Leo demonstrated, showing a boy and his father fixing a Mini 4×4 in a corner of the Banthong Sports Center in Kalisari, East Jakarta .

“This kid has been racing Tamiya in our store since he was in third grade. One day he finally brought his dad to play too,” Leo said.

No other toy from the 90s can compare to Anandya’s Mini 4WD, who played with Tamiya cars when he was little.

“I love collecting other toys from the 90s, but Tamiya is the only one that still exists [today], has a hype around it and a great community,” he said.

More importantly, riding Tamiya as an adult feels like he is fulfilling his childhood dream.

“It feels like it’s my time to finally play [properly], because at the time I didn’t have enough money to buy […] pieces,” Anandya said.

It’s probably a sentiment shared by many of his loyal companions at Tamiya.


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