The Marvelous Monster, Nobuhiro Tajima’s Pikes Peak Destroyer
By Mike Kojima
It’s no wonder why Nobuhiro Tajima’s Nickname is “Monster”. We don’t think it’s because of his history as one of the most winning drivers in Hill Climb history, we don’t think it’s because of his wild driving style. We don’t think it’s because of his shredding in WRC rally and rallycross either. We think it’s because Mr. Tajima is simply the biggest Japanese guy in Japan or certainly the biggest guy we know. Tajima san is physically huge, tall and muscular, head and shoulders above your typical Japanese guy! Although he is physically intimidating and a fierce competitor, he is a really nice person face to face.
|Tajima san gives the clouds around the summit of Pikes Peak a worried look. The weather can change in minutes and his run came just int time. Minutes after his climb to the top, it started to rain and snow on the course, messing up Rhys Millen’s chances for the year.|
Tajima San’s entry into competition was in the 1968 All Japan Dirt Trial Championship. Amazingly he won his very first event. From there his carreer progressed though a successful run of victories in rally and rallycross. Tajima San then graduated to the vaunted ranks of International Rally or WRC when he entered the 1981 Lombard RAC Rally. In 1983 he established Monster International, a motorsport preparation shop. In 1986, he established Suzuki Sports, Suzuki’s in-house motorsport division and returned to WRC competition, competing in a Suzuki Cultus in the 1986 Olympus Rally. It is here where he started his famous, long running association with Suzuki, taking his first class win and finishing 15th overall. He returned again the following year where he won his class again, finishing 7th overall. Additionally, he competed in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.
|Tajima san doing some warm up exercises right before getting into the car while watching the sky. Physical conditioning is pretty important for this event as it’s hard to simply breathe near the summit. The top drivers all use on board oxygen systems to keep reflexes fast and minds clear.|
Tajima San’s debut at Pikes Peak came in 1992 with the notorious twin engined Suzuki Cultus, driving in the Unlimited category. In 1995 he returned with another twin engined car, a Suzuki Escudo. The following year, he drove a more conventional car, panning the quirky twin engined cars that gave him fame for a V6 Suzuki Escudo in which he finished second to Rod Millen’s record-holding Toyota Celica Alltrac. The Alltrac was a highly developed car that was a proven winner in International Hill Climb events.
|Good Luck! Note the oxygen system.|