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Mid Night Club

is back for 2014
Apr 14, 2012
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Anybody remembered the Mid Night Club? But I tell you, this is NOT an anime, a manga nor a game, but this was a Japanese street racing gang that hosted top speed races on the Bayshore Route (known natively as the Wangan) of the Shuto Expressway between Tokyo to Yokohama. The gang became one of the most notorious and highly respected clubs of its type, which led to it being featured in over hundreds of editorial features in most of the leading magazines mainly in Japan. The combination of its dangerously high racing speed, and aggressive racing style gave street racing in Japan a worldwide notoriety. The club was regarded as one of the longest running street racing gangs.

To join the club, which was formed in 1987, was not as easy as the other clubs as it was governed by a series of rules and was far better organized. Additionally, unlike in other groups, the hashiriya (street racer) car must be capable of going over 250 km/h (160 mph), as a racing speed of over 300 km/h (190 mph) was common among them. As new members are regarded as apprentices for one year, they were required to attend all the meetings. Only 10% of these drivers would qualify for full membership and they would have to leave or disband if they posed a danger to anyone including other motorists and other members. Members would bear the trademark small rectangle "Mid Night Car Speciall" sticker on their bumpers, a larger sticker on the sun visor area, and sometimes a "Mid Night Racing Team" sticker on the side skirt. The high standard of the drivers made it difficult for the police to catch them, as most police cars of the era were limited to 180 km/h (110 mph), a legal requirement set forth by the 1977 Japanese Automotive Gentleman's Agreement. However, the Mid Night Club was also highly respected for being a club which put the traffic and pedestrian safety ahead of their own.

On average, there were 30 members in the club, and they met in a designated meeting spot at midnight, as the name implied; races would take place on the Bayshore Wangan route sometimes leading itself to extended portions of the "Shuto Expressway" for more complicated and intricate top speed runs. The standing/winner of the race would be one of many factors, such as "the ability to no longer see the driver in front" or "To pass a certain Highway Stop first".

Cars in the club were originally Porsche 911s, Ferraris, and other such machines, but as the tuning culture increased, so did the variety of their cars. Soon, Japanese cars were made into Wangan terrors, as they were much cheaper to buy, and could be modified to be much faster then most Bosozoku motorcycles.

By the mid-90s, Mid Night had about 75 members, and it was looking pretty strong. But new laws in Japan started to pin down on them for street racing, and soon the club dwindled down to only about 40 members. They still would meet up every Friday night, at a popular gas station off the Tomei route, in order to organize races, and they would be seen coming in and out of the Daikoku Futo from time to time, looking for challengers.

It was customary among most racers to watch out for members of other teams displaying Mid Night Club paraphernalia. If a member of another team, or an independent racer was spotted owning a car displaying "Mid Night" stickers/logos that were not part of the actual teams roster, they could face harassment, and in some cases, vandalism inflicted on their cars. There were many reports of non-member cars wearing the logos being destroyed to a state of disrepair.

In order to organize a meet up, a Mid Night Team Leader would place an ad in a Tokyo local newspaper, under the "Classifieds" section. Usually it would read of something entirely different than any sort of racing meeting, in order to not draw unwanted attention from law enforcement. The subject of the ad would have been discussed at the previous meet up, so that the team members could look up the ad and specifically meet up at the exact location in order to begin racing, at the exact time. An example of the ad would read something like this.

For Sale:
Small handbags at discount prices. For more information, I am available for meetup at Daikoku Parking Area on Thursday, between 11PM and 2AM. Thank you.

As full-fledged members' cars were capable of performing over 320 km/h (200 mph), the cars were usually boasting over 400hp to 1000hp, and one member was rumored to be spending over $2 million on rebuilding and modifications of his Porsche 911. The drivers' professions were never revealed, as by club policy, members were not allowed to ask how other members got the money for modifications. Only Max Power magazine, in 1995, revealed the professions of two drivers: one, a RX-7 FD3S owner, was a property developer; the other, who drove a Skyline GT-R R32, ran his family car sales business. Many affluent and well known Japanese "tuning" shop founders are rumoured to be original members however.

Here is the sad news.

At approximately 3am on an unknown Friday night in 1999, a member of Bosozoku was driving recklessly down the Wangan, whilst the scared drivers of motorcars were swerving out of his way. The Mid Night Club just happened to be racing in this area, and while he caught up to them, they blinked their lights, unbeknown to the fact that the rider of the motorcycle was in fact drunk.

As they proceeded to race through the traffic, in excess of 250 kilometres per hour, the Bosozoku rider lost control, and hit an innocent motorist. The motorist crashed into the barricade, dying instantly. The Mid Night Club racers slowed down, and noticed that the Bosozoku rider was also in fact dead. This huge chain-crash also caused eight motorists hospitalized; six of them were innocent drivers on the highway.

Due to a policy that the Mid Night Club had organized at their start up, the group has disbanded immediately and forever.

Despite being rested in peace for over a decade, the club members seclude themselves in secrecy to this day, many refusing to talk about the club under any circumstances.

Share your thoughts if you know about this Japanese street racing gang.
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