Mention the name Masatsugu Mitani, and knowledgeable people in the trials world know he is something of a four-stroke Honda trials specialist. His number-one team rider is Tomoyuki Ogawa, who scored two top-ten placings in the Japanese World round. Tomoyuki speaks very good English and along with Masatsugu, in his ‘broken English’, they explained about the Honda he was competing on.
It’s quite well
known that Tomoyuki helps with the ongoing development of the four-stroke Honda engine we find fitted in the Cota 4RT. The Mitani carries a definite ‘works’ look about it. Every single part appears to have been taken off, examined and improved, even if it’s only been polished or anodised. The heart of the machine is the engine. This has seen the cylinder capacity increased to 321cc and as I understand it the stroke was also lengthened.
During the trial when on full throttle the Honda certainly carried a little deeper exhaust note, not noisier but more throaty, and it was definitely not short on power!
The other point that they made was the fact that they had managed to reduce the weight of the machine to 73kg. How this was achieved I did not fully understand though!
While we were talking, a Japanese spectator arrived with a very original 1974/1975 Honda TL 250cc. When I asked what it was for, Masatsugu bowed and said: “My collection”. What a lovely guy.