With a baseball team created by Daijiro Kato
The 2006 season may have finished over two months ago, but Yukio Kagayama is still competing in Japan! But this time it is not on a racetrack, but on a baseball field. On December 5th,Yukio took part in a baseball match, with
other Japanese motorcycle riders as his teammates.
Their amateur baseball team "Racers" was originally created by Daijiro Kato – one of the most talented rider in Japan and Yukio's best friend. The "Racers" team comprises Yukio and Nori Haga from WSBK, Katsuaki Fujiwara (WSS600), Makoto Tamada (MotoGP), Kiyonari (BSB 2006 champion) plus a few old boys such as Tady Okada, Kazuto Sakata and Shinichi Ito (2006 Japanese SBK champion and Bridgestone test rider). Unfortunately their playing standard is not up to the same level as their opposition who had been playing since their school days.
However, a few old boys such as Tady and Kazuto play pretty well because baseball was more popular than football when they were at school. For the "Racers", it was their fourth match since the team has formed. During the racing season, they have no time to get together so November and December is the only time they are able to play. It is a bit cold in Japan at the moment, but Yukio and his friends threw and caught balls like school boys.
This time, the match took place at Jingu ground in central Tokyo - the home ground of one of the well-known Japanese professional teams "Tokyo Swallows". Normally only professional baseball players are allowed to play at this ground, so this was an exceptional treat for "Racers".
They had two competitors this time - two publishing companies of motorcycle magazines.
Two matches in a day - a bit tough, but very enjoyable. Up until now, "Racers" had never won a match, but this time, they had two historic and miraculous wins due to Yukio and Nori Haga's points-scoring performances.
Afterwards a jubilant Yukio said: "We really had big fun today! It's very interesting that riders can get together like this away from the racetrack. Normally we never have a chance to talk about anything else except racing but, at the baseball field, we never talked about racing at all! Also, it was the first time we had won a match and we did it by playing real baseball. We all want to get together again before 2007 season starts and do it all over again!"