KANJO NIGHT RAIDERS

MAK­ING THE LO­CAL ROAD­WAYS YOUR PER­SONAL PLAYGROUND IS RISKY BUSI­NESS, BUT IT’S ALL IN A NIGHT’S WORK FOR THESE KANJO- IN­SPIRED CIVICS

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It’s 2.01am: the mo­tor­way net­work has been re­duced to noth­ing more than the last few strag­glers head­ing home­wards af­ter a late shift. Visibility is a lux­ury per­mit­ted only by a few lu­mens pro­jected mere me­tres from your front end and the dim flu­o­res­cent glow of street lights that do lit­tle more than add a sem­blance of ‘scenery’ against the night sky. The hum of an out­dated ra­dio ra­di­ates into the obliv­ion, and it’s so quiet that your mind has only the sound of the air rush­ing in past de­graded door seals to fo­cus on. For most, it’s a tir­ing place to travel through, one which should be a means to an end in or­der to reach your fi­nal des­ti­na­tion.

How­ever, for a se­lect few who choose to live on the out­skirts of the law, this is the des­ti­na­tion. It forms the per­fect playground for those who are game enough to use it — an un­tapped well of mid­night may­hem wait­ing to be had.

The un­mis­tak­able metal­lic rasp of ex­haust gases be­ing forced through stain­less-steel pipework erupts in the dis­tance, and the dis­tinct tone of DOHC VTEC cross­over bounces off the con­crete walls to­wards you. The night’s par­tic­i­pants are here, look­ing to make that terra firma be­neath your tyres their own per­sonal cir­cuit.

In­di­ca­tors and brake lights flicker from these mov­ing blurs

like emer­gency warn­ings to those around them, who have al­ready been ear­marked as noth­ing but mov­ing chi­canes in their pur­suit of re­bel­lion. They swerve across lanes, revving their small-ca­pac­ity en­gines out to the lim­iter in an ef­fort to an­nounce their pres­ence. And, most re­mark­ably, not a sin­gle f**k is given about the threat of johnny law stum­bling on such a scene un­fold­ing, as what would re­sult is the pin­na­cle of their game — ev­i­denced by the slo­gans that adorn their ve­hi­cles.

This, my friends, is the mark of the Kan­jo­zoku, an out­law sub­cul­ture born in Osaka, Ja­pan over three decades ago that cen­tres around rac­ing stripped-out Honda Civics on the Kanjo Loop — so named for the near-per­fect clock­wise con­nect­ing loop that it forms — to bring re­spect and hon­our to their club name.

And, much like those back in Ja­pan, this lo­cal pair of Kanjo Civics ain’t what your nana’s us­ing to haul gro­ceries, either. Clad in a No Good Rac­ing!!–in­spired liv­ery, the Cham­pi­onship White ’98 Civic Type R (EK9) is owned by Matt Dal­limore. His jour­ney with the car started seven years ago, and he blames fel­low Cir­cle Jerk Crew (CJC) mem­ber An­thony Wong for kick­ing off his love af­fair with the H-badge: “An­thony [got me into Hon­das] back when I worked at Top Town and he brought one of his Civics in for a new set of feet. Since then, I’ve al­ways been a fan of them. A friend, Damian, was sell­ing this, and I knew what had to be done.”

Be­ing a Type R, it was al­ready fit­ted with the top-tier heart that the EK had to of­fer — the ever-vir­ile B16B — so Matt sub­scribed to the ethos of build­ing on things with the power on of­fer, chan­nelling his fo­cus to­wards sus­pen­sion, aero, and brak­ing com­po­nents to fine-tune the car’s han­dling.

To the Kanjo, it’s im­por­tant to main­tain ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity and nim­ble­ness, which is why you won’t see many over-pow­ered Civics run­ning the loop, and, as Matt’s EK was al­ways des­tined to see se­ri­ous driv­ing time, he’s made sure to do things prop­erly. This meant uti­liz­ing a set of cus­tom KYB coilovers that use 14kg springs up front and 10kg ex­am­ples down back. The chas­sis it­self fea­tures more brac­ing than a pre­pubescent sub­ur­ban white girl, fit­ted with an MPC Mo­tor­sports front strut brace, EM Bars rear tri­brace, and Wong En­gi­neer­ing un­der­body braces. The Buddy Club and Blox back cat­a­logues have been raided for an ar­ray of arms, paired with Hardrace bushes through­out, and topped off with a Cusco seven-point bolt-in roll cage in­side.

It’s a sim­ple pack­age that pro­duces an ex­tremely stiff chas­sis, some­thing that is show­cased when it’s jacked up to switch out the Rays En­gi­neer­ing TE37 street wheels for the 15x7inch (+35) 5zi­gen Pro N1 track ex­am­ples wrapped in 205/50 Nitto NT01s. And you al­ready know that it means busi­ness with that ride height; this ain’t no ‘stanced out’ Civic built to go slow — it’s built to de­stroy through the cor­ners.

John Christall’s ‘Red Bull Rac­ing’ EG fol­lows the same train of thought, al­though it came into his own­er­ship as an un­fin­ished H22A-con­ver­sion project. “It was meant to be a quick get-it-ready­for-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion-and-back-on-the-road type [of] deal. But, af­ter

get­ting the car home and hav­ing a closer look, I wasn’t too happy with how a bunch of stuff had been done so de­cided to strip it down and start again,” he says.

Un­der­neath, the car ben­e­fit­ted from this strip down by way of cus­tom Bil­stein coilovers with back-break­ing valv­ing and a 16kg/14kg spring combo for ul­ti­mate stiff­ness. And John must have been raid­ing the same neigh­bour­hood Matt did when it came to braces, as the EG fea­tures Ul­tra Rac­ing Room Bars and three­p­oint fender braces, with an EM Rac­ing Z-bar, Pass­word:JDM strut brace, and Win Sports six-point bolt-in cage. Hardrace spher­i­cal bushes have been used through­out, and the fac­tory arms have been binned in favour of Func­tion7 and Buddy Club units.

And that’s not all the pair have in com­mon; dive in­side either car and you’ll find the mark­ings of a Kanjo. Stripped of their in­te­rior lux­u­ries, the cab­ins are all busi­ness. Jun­gle gyms, har­nesses, and bucket seats are the recipe — not just to re­duce weight, but for safety, too. While the Kanjo may seem like reck­less out­laws to most, they do fol­low a spe­cific code of ethics — namely, en­sur­ing that care is taken to build the cars prop­erly to avoid caus­ing ac­ci­dents or hurt­ing those that are not in­volved. Half-ar­s­ing won’t fly, as, af­ter all, the team name is on the line.

Both Matt and John fly un­der the CJC (Jerk) flag, which can be seen through­out each car. How­ever, much like the Ja­panese ex­am­ples, the liv­er­ies are in­spired by the old-school one-make Honda rac­ers of years gone by. It’s very rare for cars from the same club to look alike, and the Kanjo will of­ten al­ter the ap­pear­ance to con­fuse lo­cal law en­force­ment.

The EK pays homage to one of the long­est run­ning Kanjo clubs, No Good Rac­ing!!, which nat­u­rally draws a lot of heat, thanks to the club’s “Bye Bye Po­lice” slo­gan, and wears a gag­gle of car­bon-fi­bre pan­els, in­clud­ing Icon Rac­ing front lip, Speed Fac­tory bon­net and hatch, Track­life fender cut-outs, and Spoon mir­rors. In con­trast, the EG calls on a loud Red Bull liv­ery to draw at­ten­tion to the fac­tory blue paint­work. Sit­ting over a set of re­verse-stag­gered Buddy Club Gen1 P1s in stark white, it’s a colour­way that has a hard time es­cap­ing the eye and does well to pull in all the extra car­bon-fi­bre pan­elling fit­ted to save weight.

How­ever, even with all that weight saved, nei­ther car is

pow­ered by its fac­tory mo­tor. Matt tells us that he even­tu­ally dis­cov­ered the lim­its of the 1600cc and made the call to rip it out in favour of its big brother, the B18CR, from an In­te­gra DC2 Type R. He opted to leave the in­ter­nals un­touched, fit­ting only a se­lect few in­take and ex­haust bolt-ons to liven things up.

John, on the other hand, saw the H22 con­ver­sion through but like­wise left it un­opened, in­stead look­ing to a port-matched Euro-R in­take with S90 70mm throt­tle body, PLM stain­less drag head­ers, a Skunk2 three-inch stain­less ex­haust, and Denso 550cc fuel in­jec­tors to draw more power out of the 2.2-litre. Matt’s spins the dyno up at 128kW, while John has 167kW on tap to play with.

Though, how that power is put to the ground is what makes these Civics se­ri­ous threats through the windies. Play­ing with ra­tios, there’s a Euro-R fivespeed with Tor­neo fifth gear mated to the rear of John’s H22, paired with a K-Tuned bil­let shifter and Com­pe­ti­tion Clutch six-puck clutch. Al­though the real fun comes by way of the 1.5-way plate lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial (LSD) and Gear-X 5.1-fi­nal-drive kit that short­ens the gears to get into the power band quick. Matt makes use of the same prin­ci­ple, en­list­ing an MFac­tory 4.9-fi­nal-drive kit in­side the EK9’s fac­tory S4C five-speed, along with a Cusco plate LSD.

Nowa­days, most of the fa­mous Kanjo crews have moved away from the street an­tics and taken their driv­ing to the cir­cuits, as stricter laws were im­ple­mented to crack down on the highly il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity. Those left, as it has al­ways been, are de­void of any li­cence plates or VIN num­bers that can be traced back to the own­ers. And while both Matt’s and John’s cars draw heav­ily on the style it­self, each is street le­gal with valid plates and their high-speed an­tics are rel­e­gated solely to the lo­cal cir­cuits.

So, if you do hap­pen to find your­self travers­ing the mo­tor­way net­work through the black of night and hear those un­mis­tak­able sounds of the Kanjo ap­proach­ing, know that you’re un­der no threat, as it’s likely to be Matt and John clock­ing up a cou­ple of kilo­me­tres to keep the Kanjo cul­ture alive.

All this law­dodg­ing means that the Kan­jo­zoku are forced to dis­guise their iden­ti­ties, which is where the iconic face­masks and win­dow nets come into play, creat­ing that shroud of mys­tery

SHOES WHEELS: (Street) 16x8.5-inch (+37) and 16x7.5-inch (+32) Buddy Club Gen1 P1, (track) 16x8-inch (+35) Des­mond Rega­mas­ter TYRES: (Street) 205/50R16 Yoko­hama Ad­van AD08R, (track) 215/50R16 and 205/50R16 Toyo R888

HEART EN­GINE: Honda H22a, 2157cc, four-cylin­der BLOCK: Fac­tory HEAD: Fac­tory IN­TAKE: Pre­lude Euro-R port-matched in­take man­i­fold, S90 70mm throt­tle body, K&N pod fil­ter EX­HAUST: Skunk2 three-inch stain­less, PLM stain­less drag head­ers FUEL: Denso 550cc...

HEART EN­GINE: Honda B18CR, 1797cc, four-cylin­der BLOCK: Fac­tory HEAD: Fac­tory IN­TAKE: Blox Rac­ing in­take man­i­fold, port-matched throt­tle body, 2.5-inch in­take pipe, Blox ve­loc­ity stack fil­ter EX­HAUST: Blox Rac­ing head­ers, Stx Fab­ri­ca­tion 2.5-inch...

For street use, Matt runs 16x7inch (+42) TE37s with Zestino rub­ber, and switches them out for 15x7-inch (+35) 5Zi­gen Pro N1s shod in Nitto NT01s come track time, Whereas John runs clas­sic Buddy Club Gen1 P1s and changes to a set of 16x8-inch (+35)...

John’s EG is so un­for­giv­ing in the sus­pen­sion de­part­ment that even the slight­est bump in the road can cause the front lip to scrape along the asphalt

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