Borg-Warner Trophy back home after Japan trip

All photos courtesy BorgWarner
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The Borg-Warner Trophy’s first, fabulous trip outside the United States – all the way to Japan for a two-week period – is over. But the memories are vivid as the winning trophy for the Indianapolis 500 enjoyed a whirlwind ride of events and enthusiasm thanks to BorgWarner and Honda.

Plans were hatched over the fall to see the Borg-Warner Trophy go to Japan to commemorate Takuma Sato’s victory in this year’s race. It arrived to great fanfare, and also took center stage at Honda Racing’s THANKS DAY held at Twin Ring Motegi.

Two key individuals were shepherds of the trophy while in Japan, as A.J. Fairbairn, Manager of Restoration Services and Jason Vansickle, Assistant Curator, IMS Museum, traveled with the trophy and unpacked and packed up the trophy at each stop throughout the trip. As the Borg-Warner Trophy travels in three separate custom shipping cases that weigh nearly 200 pounds each. these two ensured it remained shiny and bright at every opportunity and squeezed it through whatever size entrance was there.

At Honda World Headquarters, fans sought to take their picture not just with Sato’s face on the trophy, but some ventured to do so with nearly every face on the trophy!

Sato also organized a Fan Club meeting (more than 800 fans in attendance), personally meeting with every fan in attendance and providing signed hero cards. There and smiling for every picture, the eternally effervescent Sato embraced each fan with their gifts they brought. Sato was also particularly warm and welcoming to a handful of handicapped and special needs fan who couldn’t meet him on stage, as he took time to spend with them as well. To end the Fan Day, he redid victory celebration at Indianapolis, and poured a bottle of milk over his head.

Sato paid a visit to BorgWarner’s Nabari plant as well, which is six hours away from Tokyo. He unveiled a conference room named in his honor there in the town of 80,000, bringing an impressive surprise to that plant and town. This allowed the Borg-Warner Trophy to visit one of its homes on site.

“What a wonderful facility!  I would like to thank Kunihiko Mishima-san (General Manager of the BorgWarner plant in Nabari) and everyone at the plant for their wonderful reception and hospitality,” Sato said. “I was very impressed with the technology and R & D in the plant.

“BorgWarner is just not about turbochargers. It was wonderful to see the Borg-Warner Trophy again at the plant, it has been all over Japan in the last few days – I am so happy it is being shared with everyone!  Overall it was a wonderful trip and I again thank everyone for the congratulations and very warm welcome.”

Such was the nature of the trip that some fans doubled or tripled up on photos. There was a bevy of fans at either the Honda World Headquarters or the Takuma Sato Fan Day who had photos from Honda Racing THANKS DAY or Honda World Headquarters. A lot of fans did a “double” and at least a handful did the “triple” – THANKS DAY, Honda World Headquarters and Takuma Sato Fan Day.

The trophy went to Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji, as well.

As there were so many hundreds of fans who witnessed the trip, including the tens of thousands at Honda Racing’s THANKS DAY, capturing the reaction is important. But two fans who saw Sato come so close to winning the 2012 Indianapolis 500 on site, and then watched him win this year, are good to summarize it.

Taiko Hattori and her husband Masahito Mori live in Mito City, which is 30 minutes outside of Motegi. They both attended Honda Racing THANKS DAY, the event at the Tokyo Dome Hotel – Nippon Forum “All For 2017” Awards, Takuma Sato Fan Day and the final event – Car of Japan 2017-2018 Awards in Tokyo.

“After the 2012 Indy 500 we were lucky enough to visit Dario Franchitti on the Victory Podium to get our photo with him and the Borg-Warner Trophy between his TV interviews. Today seeing the Borg-Warner Trophy in Japan is very exciting. Thank you for bringing it here – I am grateful!” Hattori said.

Sato, the Borg-Warner Trophy, and BorgWarner’s Scott Gallett.

Both Sato and Scott Gallett, Vice President of Marketing BorgWarner, Inc., reflected on the incredible experience.

“If the faces on the Borg-Warner Trophy could talk they would shout, “Thank you Japan!”  Takuma Sato’s enthusiasm and the fan’s appreciation was over flowing during the entire trip.  The people’s reaction to seeing the Borg-Warner Trophy in person was something I’ll never forget,” Gallett said.

Sato added, “It’s been an amazing two weeks with the Borg-Warner Trophy. It’s special having so much support from the fans from east to west – it’s been a busy trip but such an incredible experience. I’d like to give the whole team a big “Thank You” and to everyone who has supported this special, once in a lifetime project – especially Honda and BorgWarner – without both of them, this would have been impossible.

“It’s all about appreciation. This is the reason I am standing here today – only because of everyone’s support. I feel really fortunate to receive this kind of support, very special. It was a really good year this year and equally I am looking forward to 2018. I get my Baby Borg to start the year in January so it will start in a memorable way, to which I am thankful!”

Needless to say there’s a lot of photos to capture the trip, some of which are above, and others are below (All photos courtesy BorgWarner).

Borg-Warner Trophy Travels in Japan!

Thursday, November 30 – Borg-Warner Trophy arrives in Japan and is transferred to Utsunomiya for storage before heading to Twin Ring Motegi for Honda Racing THANKS DAY.

Saturday, December 2 – Borg-Warner Trophy is transferred to Twin Ring Motegi.

Sunday, December 3 – Twin Ring Motegi, Honda Racing THANKS DAY, 7 am to 5 pm.

Monday, December 4 – Tokyo Dome Hotel, 6 pm. Nippon Forum “All For 2017” Awards – Takuma Sato and Japanese 100 meter sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu who was the first Japanese athlete to break 10.00 seconds in the 100 meter dash – 9.98 this summer.

Tuesday, December 5 – Mt. Fuji en route to Nabari, Japan

Wednesday, December 6 – BorgWarner plant in Nabari, Japan.

Employees view trophy from 8 am to 4 pm then at 2 pm Takuma Sato arrival. 3:30 to 4:00 pm Sato and media at the plant. Evening – 6 to 8 pm Takuma Sato speech at ADS Hall in Nabari for employees, their families, media and the community – approx. 500 in attendance.

Thursday, December 7 – NSK-Warner plant in Fukuroi, Japan.

They literally rolled out the “red carpet” for the viewing – 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. Takuma was not in attendance.

Friday & Saturday, December 8 & 9 – Honda World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. On display 24 hours a day with Takuma Sato appearance for a magazine cover shoot on Friday. The trophy was lit at night so people could view it thru the front window!

Sunday, December 10 – Takuma Sato Fan Club Day – Yamano Beauty School – over 800 in attendance – 1 to 7:30 pm.

Monday, December 11 – Car of Japan 2017-2018 Awards in Tokyo, Japan

1 to 4 pm followed by Honda VIP reception. Japanese automotive journalists honored Takuma Sato.

Tuesday, December 12 – The Borg-Warner Trophy begins its trip back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. 6:30 am – Mini truck from Tokyo hotel to Narita Airport. Fly from Narita Airport to Detroit, MI. Cargo van from Detroit airport to IMS Museum.

Eli Tomac wins Houston Supercross: Hunter Lawrence takes early 250 East lead

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With his 47th career victory and third of the 2023 season in Houston, Eli Tomac closed to within one win of tying Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time Monster Energy Supercross list.

Tomac rebounded from last week’s crash by earning the holeshot in both his heat and the Main. At the start of the big show, he couldn’t shake Aaron Plessinger in the first four minutes and actually was in the process of losing the lead as a red flag waved for a crash involving Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis when he overjumped an obstacle and landed on Ken Roczen’s back fender as they raced for eighth.

“That was a tough race,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien, referencing his loss to Chase Sexton in the heat. “And honestly, I was just beat down after that heat race and was searching quite a bit and was basically losing speed everywhere. I just rode better, straight up in the Main. I felt better.”

In their heat, Sexton passed Tomac at the two-minute mark and then simply rode away from the field. At the end, he had an almost eight-second gap on Tomac.

“It wasn’t great by any means,” Sexton told Jason Thomas. “I feel like the strengths I had all day, I really lagged in the Main event between the whoop and the sand section. I think I could have walked through it faster. It was still a good ride; it wasn’t great. I expected after the heat race he would be fired up.”

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Jason Anderson scored his second consecutive pole, but he was not happy to finish third behind the two points’ leaders.

“We should be thankful every time we get to be up here,” Anderson said. “They’re making it tough on me, but all I can do is give my best.”

Tomac had to withstand a red flag and the distant second place finish in his heat to win the Houston Supercross race. In the post-race conference, he indicated that he did not make any changes to the bike and simply rode better.

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb rounded out the top five.

Ferrandis was fitted with a neck brace, but still able to walk to the medical cart. He was still being evaluated by the medical staff as the night came to a close.


In 250s Hunter Lawrence entered the 250 East opener as the consensus favorite to win the championship this year with Christian Craig making the move into 450s and his brother Jett Lawrence in the West division. He answered quickly with a huge lead in Heat 1, but it almost went awry in the Main.

Lawrence got a good start, but he was passed early in the race by two-time MXGP champion (2020, 2022) Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut this week. Vialle passed Lawrence on the first lap. When Lawrence tried to pass him back, Vialle scrubbed speed off a jump and pushed Lawrence wide, over the Tuff Blox.

Championships are made out of Lawrence’s response. He kept his composure and did not overcorrect before methodically working his way to the front.

“We had a little off track excursion. I wasn’t sure how hard across Tom was coming so I thought I’ll just go left, but then saw that was the side of the track. Thankfully I didn’t hit the Tuff Blox and got back on track safely. … Good start; put myself in position.”

Click here for full 250 East Main Results

Making a move from the 450 class to 250s, Max Anstie had immediate success. He finished second in his heat behind Jordon Smith and lined up with a great gate pick. He had to overtake Vialle in the opening laps and lost ground on Lawrence, that cost enough time to keep him from pressing Lawrence. This is Anstie’s first podium in the United States

“Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this for a long time to come up on these steps and man it’s a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed the day and being on this 250, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. Everyday I’m learning.”

Smith backed up his heat win with a podium finish.

“It feels good to be back up here again,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time; a lot of injuries.”

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his debut in the 250 class was not unfounded. He finished fourth in his heat to advance to directly into the Main. During the early laps, he was circling the track in a podium position until a minor mistake sent him off the box. In the closing laps, he narrowly made an aggressive pass on Jeremy Martin and narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.

Martin held on to round out the top five.

Vialle was running in a podium position when went down with a 1:30 left on the clock. He ended his night seventh.

Chance Hymas was also making his 250 debut and scored a top-10 in eighth.

2023 Race Recaps

Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Houston coverage

Houston by the numbers
Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list