1990 World Champion Koji Sanada

For the first time in it’s short history the 1/8 Buggy Worlds were hosted outside Europe; the 3rd running in 1990 taking place in Bangkok, Thailand. With Grenoble ’86 & Mantova ’88 both producing Champions from their respective host countries, fittingly an Asian based driver – Koji Sanada of Japan TQ’d & took the win, the first driver to complete the TQ & win clean sweep, brushing off the tails of the ‘TQ curse’. Whilst Mugen would go on to a brilliant 1,2 finish Bangkok ’90 can be regarded as the foundations of  the dominant ‘Kyosho era’, the Turbo Burns chosen by over 60% of participants – 66 in total. As much as the likes of Kyosho & Mugen were on the way up, Yankee & Garbo’s time was up; defending Champion Maurizio Monesi & Garbo didn’t attend and Veysseyre ending up 5th overall having started the final on pole, the last time a Yankee car made a Worlds final.

The final would turn out to be a Japan vs. France affair with the land of the rising sun occupying 7 of 10 final spaces, the rest going to French drivers former champ Veysseyre & former finalists Gueye & Daniere.

See Bangkok ’90 image gallery | Koji Sanada’s Mugen Sport

1990 Podium: 1. Koji Sanada, 2. Takashi Aizawa, 3. Yuuichi Kanai

Mike Cradock on Bangkok ’90

My first WC was February 1990 in Bangkok, Thailand this was a great chance for me to meet all of the Kyosho International team and see how things were done on the other side of the world! The Kyosho set up was very professional compared to the other teams, which is pretty much the formula for how all the big teams run their set up now.

Things I noticed that we take for granted now were portable glow heaters! And portable starter boxes! Amazing hey! Instead of these great big boxes which you hooked up to a big 12 volt battery and you had a lead coming out with a glow clip on!
I can remember queuing for ever to get my car through technical inspection it must have been about 4 hours waiting with your car in the queue. Apart from this the meeting ran well.
Tyres were made by SLD, they were the independent tyre manufacturer and the others were made by the car manufacturers, Kyosho’s were the famous BSW40 which worked well and Mugen had a similar tread pattern as well. The marshals were very good.
Format for the race was top 4 qualified straight to the final and top 3 from each semi made the final complete.
The favourite to win was Kanai with his Turbo Burns but Sanada came along with another guy, little was known about this car and just kept going throughout the final, my memory of it was it was running very rich all the time down the straight as though he tuned it that way to keep control of it!
I met Joel Johnson and Gary Kyes from USA using Kyosho, Joel using a carbon fibre chassis and ball joint top arms for lightness but was having cooling issues with it. Also the first time I saw a temp gun used to tune an engine. So only 2 USA from 40 places.