I Heart Honda Festival 2019 Coverage… Part 1…

I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels to just be out at an event these days and being able to hang-out while shooting photos all day. Most of the time, I find myself multi-tasking, whether it be trying to do video, or judging the cars at the event itself, having conversations, and/or taking photos. These events just seem to fly-by whenever they happen because I’m just overloading myself with things to do. I always find peace among all the chaos but I told myself that I’d find at least one event to go to where I would just focus on one thing at a time. It’d be an escape from reality, if you will, because I’ve been pretty occupied this month with putting everything together for the Year11 Chronicles Anniversary. Now ten years in, obviously there’s nothing inherently new or difficult about putting the event together, but there’s just a lot to do. I’m constantly trying to figure out ways to streamline my work to make it all easier but when there’s a lot of stuff…well…there’s just A LOT of stuff. I guess I can say I’m prepared as I’ve ever been but that in itself is also just natural progression…

It also helped that Wekfest didn’t happen in Texas this year. Not having to fly to Houston in the middle of October presented me with much more time than usual to prepare. If you’re curious, or nosey even, the Wekfest Texas event hasn’t been cancelled, it’s just been moved to another date (next year) and a new city. It’s still in Texas of course, the show has just been relocated back to Austin. I found myself a little bored though, I must say, as I do often look forward to flying to Texas because the Wekfest show out there has always been pretty good. Just sitting here at the office and prepping for Year11 got me a little bored, I guess. Being so prepared meant I had some free time. I found myself diving back into video games a little bit which was fun, but it just doesn’t beat being at an automotive event, you know?…

Luckily, taking up that slot of time in October that was once held for Wekfest Texas was the “I Heart Honda Festival” hosted by our friends at Spoon Sports USA and organized with the help of Ryan Hoegner from the Eibach Honda Meet series. The Honda-dedicated gathering takes its namesake from a Japanese car event of the same name, also hosted by Spoon Sports. I don’t recall when the last “I Heart Honda” happened in Japan but it had been attempted one other time here in California back around four years ago and didn’t re-emerge again until 2019. This “festival” would be held at the Auto Club Speedway out in Fontana, California and would not only feature some of Spoon Sports very own race cars, but also would have a very special guest; the one and only Tatsuru Ichishima of Spoon Sports. Enthusiasts were invited to come display their own Honda builds and also have the opportunity to meet Ichishima. People could either bring their own Spoon Sports parts for him to sign or they could pick-up a signed poster from the event during the meet-and-greet. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ichishima and being around him a pretty good number of times but I could totally understand why it would be a huge deal to meet the guy because he’s a living legend. Not only that, he’s also incredibly fucking peculiar, so for people like myself who know that, it’s always interesting to see him interact with enthusiasts from all over. You just never know what to get with him…

There’s no way I would miss this event, even though it was all the way out in Fontana, so I also hit up Der to come along to shoot photos and hang out that afternoon. It just sounded like a good time. Der has been getting so deep into film photography lately that it would almost be a waste not to go out there to shoot. I had no expectations for the event but I will say this… I always notice that car gatherings out at Auto Club don’t do that well, with the exception of the annual Eibach Honda Meet. It’s a race track and they do everything out there, including time attack, drag racing, hell even Nascar events some times, but I guess it never seems like events do that well there because of the location and the fact that the track is just massive. I was a little worried that people wouldn’t want to go all the way to Fontana but both Hoegner and the guys from Spoon Sports USA did a fantastic job of promoting the event. It was pretty packed from the early morning all the way until the late afternoon. Having Tatsuru Ichishima out there helped a ton as well. He had a line throughout the entire day with people waiting to meet him and get his autograph…

I’ll tell you guys more about it in Part 2 but here are some of the photos I captured that day…

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One of the many great stories of the past year or so has been Kenji Sumino and his turbocharged Hotwheels “Super Treasure Hunt” Civic build. Kenji is known more as the head of GReddy Performance Products but it seems as though putting this Civic together has re-ignited his love of Hondas. He’s always out and about these days at most events down here in Southern California, probably because he just enjoys driving his Civic and hanging out with other Honda aficionados. It’s always great to see some of the guys who have been veterans in the industry for some time now still enjoying cars at their own pace…

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The turbocharged and fully-built B18C1 engine swap inside Kenji’s Civic featuring a custom water-to-air intercooler which utilizes the factory air conditioning system to chill the system…

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Looking subtle and appearing almost as an OEM air box is the customer cooling system set-up created by Kenji and the guys from GReddy…

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Rywire engine harness connected to Ignition Products coils…

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Original GReddy cast manifold from their GS-R turbo kit paired now with a modern GReddy T518Z turbocharger from their Toyota 86 turbo kit…

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Worth noting is that the day before the ‘I Heart Honda Festival’ was actually the final Formula Drift competition of the calendar year, which meant that guys like Chris Marion and his Integra Type R went from Irwindale all the way to Fontana for both events…

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As mentioned earlier, the lines were long throughout the day as enthusiasts from all over came to meet Tatsuru Ichishima from Spoon Sports…

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Daisuke Jomoto, also from Spoon Sports, was not doing a meet and greet but instead spent much of the time helping at the Spoon USA booth. Jomoto was actually one of the first people that I ever met when I first went to Spoon in Tokyo years ago…

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The Ballade Sports S2000 demo/race vehicle, wearing a complete Toro Rosso F1-inspired livery…

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This Honda Fit is no longer owned by Spoon Sports but is indeed a legit endurance race competitor built by Spoon. It’s privately-owned now and maintained by Ballade Sports but doesn’t look too far off from its past iteration. They just recently reapplied the “Spoon Sports” logo onto the livery and added a set of extremely lightweight Racing Hart CP-035 wheels…

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From the looks of it, the Spoon Sports brake calipers up front had to be cut down signficantly to clear the spokes of the wheels…

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Chuy is busy with a new job and two kids these days but I knew he wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to bring his Spoon-themed Integra Type R out to a Spoon-hosted event. He even stood in line and had some parts signed by Ichishima to add to his vast collection of Spoon parts…

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Also coming straight from the Formula D event was HKS USA…

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The HKS USA Civic Type R displayed at their booth…

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Tommy from GoTuning Unlimited’s ASM-themed S2000 which will soon have a set of Brembo GTR brakes added before it goes off to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas…

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Making the trek all the way from Arizona just for this event was Jorge and his timeless Civic hatchback build. He made sure to pull out his Spoon Sports parts from his collection and swapped them onto his Civic so it fit the theme of the day…

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Right after I took this photo Jorge even went as far as to change the valve cover over to a Spoon Sports one—just for a few hours until the event ended…

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Sometimes it is just nice to see a factory wrinkle red Type R valve cover though…

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Also coming over from Arizona to hang out for the day was Jesse Robles and his Honda Monkey….

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Jonathan Liu’s S2000 with RFY front bumper, ASM hood, Work Meister wheels, custom rear flares, and so much more…

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Pedro Krema’s Civic coupe with a Zenki EK9 Type R face…

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Kevin’s Civic hatchback with J*Blood front bumper and custom front wide fenders…

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Tatsuru Ichishima signing both new and old Spoon Sports parts…

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It could have been a Spoon valve cover, a Spoon cluster…

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…or an ECU, hell…even a whole Spoon SW388 wheel. If you had it, he’d probably sign it you brought it to him. At one point during the end of the day, guys started driving their cars up to the line and having him sign sections of their Hondas….

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Mugen SS face AP2 S2000 with a Mugen hard top and custom widebody executed by the guys from Buddha Concept Designs…

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Clean ’97 Integra Type R with some Spoon Sports mirrors and 15×8 Volk Racing TE37 in bronze…

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Rotrex supercharged K-series set-up in the bay of this black Integra Type R with JDM ITR face and factory gunmetal Type R wheels…

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It was great to see Phil Robles’ Pandem Civic that weekend, as he also made the trip out from Arizona with Matt from ICB and friends. His car is constantly evolving and this current iteration is fantastic with the full kit and hood with added ventilation thanks to some vents from Topstage Composites in Australia…

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17×9.5 +12 Desmond Regamaster EVO II wheels on Phil’s Civic, narrowly clearing the Brembo brakes up front…

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The gutted interior, fully resprayed in gray with just a single driver’s seat, Sparco wheel, and AiM digital display. The shifter is the centerpiece of the cockpit, linked to a Quaife sequential transmission…

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K24A2 engine featuring a JDL Auto Design turbo manifold and Garrett GTX3076 turbocharger…

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The rear of Phil Robles’ hatchback features custom carbon wing end plates that replace the FRP pieces provided by the Pandem kit. Coming-up next is a custom carbon rear diffuser set-up which will be made by Aero Spec Racing…

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Satin Gunmetal finish on the new Desmond wheels with white decals…

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There was no shortage of FK8 CTRs at the ‘I Heart Honda Festival’, this one a nice example from the parking lot sitting on Volk CE28 Club Racer II wheels…

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Ray Deleon made the drive from Las Vegas in his brand new FK8 Civic Type R. This particular color is a factory “Sonic Gray Pearl” which looks great and has some greenish pearl in it which really pops in the sunlight…

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The Slaughter Boys Civic made an appearance…

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No hood applicable of course with the massive Drag Cartel individual throttle bodies made by Kinsler Injection…

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We’ll get a better look at the Spoon Sports USA cars in Part 2, not that they’d be completely new or foreign to you guys…

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Closing things out in Part 1 with a shot of Tatsuru Ichishima, suited-up inside the Spoon Sports USA S2000 which features that prototype hard-top that Ichishima commissioned a few years back…

If you love Spoon Sports, you’ll dig Part 2 so make sure to come back for more! Thanks for looking everyone!…

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