The Great Race: Team D&D looks to strengthen bond on bucket-list trip

(Editor’s Note: In honor of Father’s Day, and over the course of the 2015 Great Race beginning June 20, we’re profiling nine teams, each consisting of some variation of a father and daughter, father and son, or grandfather and son. Stay tuned for these stories and results from the race.)

Shigekazu and Ayako Yasui (Kōka City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan)

1971 NISSAN FAIRLADY Z432 (#124)

The Great Race isn’t the first automotive event for father/daughter duo Shigekazu and Ayako Yasui, of Japan, but it’s likely to be their most meaningful yet.

Since she was 20 years old, Ayako knew of the three items on her father’s bucket list: going skydiving, driving across the U.S. and living on a sailboat. Ten years later, when Shigekazu turned 60 and his health began to deteriorate, Ayako decided it was her duty to help his dreams come true as soon as possible.

First, she arranged for the family to go skydiving on the North Shore in Oahu Island, Hawaii. And each year during the Japanese holidays in May or August, the family stays aboard Shigekazu’s sailing cruiser. That left just a U.S. road trip to be crossed off the list.

Shigekazu, who will serve as driver, has long dreamed of driving Route 66 during his 66th year, and Ayako was happy to help make that dream come true. Team D&D (Dad/Dentist and Daughter/Doctor) – from Kōka City near Kyoto – will pilot a 1971 Nissan Fairlady Z432 provided by friends in this year’s Great Race, which traverses the historic route.

It’s not the pair’s first car-related adventure. They’ve previously competed in a classic car rally in Japan as well as one in Taiwan. This time, they’re looking forward to exploring the U.S. and meeting locals along the way.

And they’re confident that this bucket-list trip will be a lasting memory of their father-daughter bond.

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