Written on May, 07, 2020by iwano@_84 | No Comments
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Written on May, 04, 2020by iwano@_84 | No Comments
They bow as they walk their bikes onto the track and they do so again as they slot them into the start gates.
They have no coach, no mechanic, no team. They have assembled their bikes single-handedly. Some say a prayer, others throw salt over their chains as a blessing before the race begins.
Each of them is wearing a different brightly coloured jersey with matching helmet. They had not long ago arrived in suits, as tradition dictates.
Keirin racing is about respect, integrity and dedication. In Japan, it’s a serious business.
Fans of track cycling will know keirin as the event that has seen Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Victoria Pendleton take their place on the top step of the Olympic podium.
Those who watch only when the Games roll around every four years may remember it as the race in which riders are led out by a motorised pacer.
Yet in Japan, it’s a £10bn industry, potentially lucrative for riders and fans alike as one of only four sports you can legally bet on. Its annual showpiece attracts more in wagers than is gambled over the entire British horse racing season.
Keirin isn’t just a sport in Japan. It goes deeper than that.
Hoy is walking around a school in Izu, some 200km and a two-hour bullet train journey from Tokyo. It’s an idyllic setting, situated atop a mountain with Mt. Fuji an imposing presence in the distance.
The last time he was here was in 2005 – three years before he won the first of his two Olympic keirin gold medals. Looking around his old room, he uncovers a sticker with his name on, which he had hidden safely behind a ceiling panel 15 years ago.
“Nothing has changed,” he says.
This is no ordinary school. This is keirin school, where just 10% of applicants are accepted. Only the very best get to come here.
“It’s a place of tradition which focuses on respect, self-control, and honesty, along with the knowledge necessary to be a professional keirin rider,” Hoy adds.
Keirin school is part military academy, part training camp. The day starts at 6:30am with roll call and finishes at 10pm with lights out, for six days a week, 11 months of the year.
In between, students have structured training and education sessions. Training could be on the bike, on foot or in the gym, while education sessions are both academic – studying tactics, theory and race rules in the classroom – and practical. Students also learn about bike mechanics in the workshop.
Throw in meal times – students consume more than 1,000 calories at breakfast and 4,500 at dinner – cleaning responsibilities and extra exercise and there’s very little time for anything else.
Everyone wears the same uniform. There are televisions, but no mobile phones, no email access
Written on Apr, 26, 2020by iwano@_84 | No Comments
Chalk it up to coincidence that a California company called HAAH Automotive Holdings announced it would build Chery’s Exceed SUVs, under a new brand name, from knock-down kits in the U.S., and that Geely will merge with the Volvo brand, weeks after President Trump announced Phase One of a trade deal with China, and just as the Wuhan-based 2019 nCoV—you know it better as coronavirus—expanded as a worldwide health epidemic.
HAAH, Chery, Geely, Volvo, and the nascent Geely North American brand, Lynk & Co., certainly want none of this. They just want to sell cars from the world’s biggest automotive market to the second-biggest automotive market, especially as sales have seriously slipped from China’s peak of 24.72 million in calendar 2017. China’s 2019 passenger car sales totaled 21.44 million last year, off 9.6 percent from 2018, according to statista.com, while U.S. sales in ’19 totaled 17.11 million, off just 1.2 percent from ’18, Automotive News reports, marking the fourth year of 17-plus-million sales here.
The coronavirus potentially could take a bigger toll in both the U.S. and China in 2020, with delayed parts and supplies shipments from China already affecting Hyundai in South Korea, and General Motors in both South Korea and the U.S. Tata Motors warns that Jaguar Land Rover production could come to a stop within two weeks if the supply of Chinese parts remains halted.
The U.S.-China trade war is an even bigger unknown. There was very little detail in President Trump’s Phase One announcement in January, and none of it related to auto sales and production. While the Chinese automakers most aggressive with their Western export programs have delayed their plans as a result of the Trump administration’s trade policies, the potential trade protectionism is one of the rare political positions that unite both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill. There is no guarantee that if the Democratic candidate takes the White House next January that importing cars will become any easier for Chinese automakers.
Best-case scenario target date for U.S. import seems to be late 2021 or early 2022. By then, we’ll have a much better notion of our policy toward trade with China, whether President Trump or his Democratic opponent occupies the White House.
This new marque just announced last week immediately takes the lead in the race to become the first Chinese-sourced brand sold in the U.S. and Canada. The parent automaker is Chinese giant Chery Automobile, which also builds cars and SUVs under the Arrizo
Written on Apr, 04, 2020by iwano@_84 | No Comments
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