In 2000, I was going to a community college and would stop by a race shop before going home. The race shop was Speedline on South Tacoma Way. I saw my buddy Zol there too and we started talking. He told me that a few other high school friends are putting together a "Race Team". I decided to hang with them and we formed Team Reaction.It was just a group of us having fun and messing with our cars. At the time, not many people in our town were building their Hondas. Zol had a Legend, I had my Civic with unpainted body kit (but was the only one in town with a body kit), Jackson and Nick had a CRX and Ron had his DA Integra.
Then things started to snowball in general, people started to put their cars together and people wanted to join our team. We started to go to the street races and people would see us. Zol started to work at Speedline, and that really made our team stand out as people would interact with him and he would negotiate deals with people. This also pushed Reaction to have more recognition as people saw his Legend at the drag races and street races. People wanted to join our crew. It was kinda amazing. Our small group was suddenly a prominent force, but it was not longer a small group. While we were mainly out of Olympia, we started having members from other towns.
This is when I would start to organize meetings and cruises. I made a portfolio and handed out to businesses in order to try and get sponsorship or deals for our club. Some of our member started to show their cars and that also garnered attention. Then we got a great sponsorship/hook up. Speed Concept in Oregon (at the time owned by Tony, was also a distributor for many race shops). They would sell us parts AT COST!!! As long as we represented his shop. Over a course of the 2yrs, we would make the trek down to Speed Concept and buy stuff.
We even had a dope website that our friend built and did the graphics, she was awesome!
teamreaction.net. Here was our banner:
But someone didn't pay for the website name and we lost it to some gamers who went by the same name.
This was great, we were representing at events. But then there was the pressure of having to perform or be something. That is what I didn't like. I loved the cruising and late nights working on our cars, I loved hanging with my team mates and just talking about cars.
BEING PART OF REACTION was much more to me than cars, it was having a good group of friends. I loved hanging with everyone and it is why I put so much effort to build the team. I didn't judge people by their cars, I judged people on how they were with our group. The car was a big component, but it shouldn't have been reason why we were friends.
I helped many team members when they needed it. When Steve got his license suspended, I was the one picking him up every other day and weekend to bring him around to hang out. When Chris's car got damaged even more (after a collision) at the street races by some vandals, he asked me to tell his insurance what happened without implication of the races. When Zol moved back from a failed venture in Eastern Washington, I helped him get a job where I worked at. The same with Kenny.
When Johnny needed $100 for parts, I lent him the money. I trusted him to pay me back when he could. He quit his job, he got his tax return, he got insurance money from a small accident... but he didn't even contact me to say anything. It was Steve who told me that when Johnny has money, get it from him. I was naive, but when I started to put my car together, I waited til Johnny had a job. 10 months passed, so I went to him one day and asked for my money back. He was upset. He questioned why didn't I ask for money when he had it. I told him I shouldn't have to ask for my money, he should remember I gave him money when he needed it. He was upset and told Zol he wanted to leave Reaction. Zol reached out to me to tell me about it and he somewhat sided with Johnny (Johnny was active in drag racing). Then there was a situation where Kenny borrowed Zol's wheels and damaged one, and Kenny kept avoiding Zol to pay. Then I told Zol, now you know how I feel with Johnny. I was a loyal friend and to be taken advantage of, especially from a team member, was hard, but lesson learned.
Again, I looked at Reaction as more than cars, I looked at my friends and I wanted to make sure all my friends were doing good and that we were family.
DOWNWARD (my perspective)
When I got married and moved closer to my job, I wasn't able to hang out as often. This led to some people abandoning me. Some said I wasn't hanging around enough and I wasn't spending money on my cars... Then I hear that people wanted to kick me (as well as a few other members) out of Reaction. Some of the people I have helped wanted to me to quit the team because I wasn't spending money on my cars (or finishing them up). This was somewhat my fault. I had gotten interested in other cars and so I ended up buying a 240sx, a Mazda rx7, a Toyota Cressida and Mr2. So all my cars were in various stages of getting done. My prize was my 2000 Civic hatchback that I bought brand new and totally messed up trying to have an extreme wide body and what not. When I finally got it finished, I was naive and my trustworthiness was taken advantaged of. I know everyone in Olympia and was on good terms with everyone. I wouldn't think that a guy who always stopped by to talk to me about cars would try to steal mine. So my finished product, which was going to be my contribution to Reaction at shows, was caught on fire and destroyed. Great paint job, Exterior and interior all done... yes, it was a severe blow to my ego. Shortly after, I moved an hour away (I worked in Renton). I also decided to go back to school. When I got wind of people thinking about kicking people out as a restructuring of the team, I had to stick up for everyone that was being targeted. Mark just bought a house, Jason was at Washington State University... Just because people had other commitments for their money, doesn't mean that they should be kicked out. LIFE HAPPENS. Cars are a hobby, life was a priority. While I won't delve too much into it, part of my argument was I also didn't take shortcuts on my car. My cars were not painted because I didn't get insurance to pay for it. Slight jab, but it was a valid point I needed to make and along with others.
The other perspective was that people wanted to be a "fully done" team. A few people that did get in wanted to get in with their cars done. This was to increase the quality of the team, as the new members/cars were ready to represent Reaction. While this is a valid point, the term "done" is broad. I can have a fully done exterior and interior of my civic "done", while someone could lower, put on a front lip and motor swap and be "done". Building a 3000GT is not the same as building a 96 civic hatchback.
BUILDING THE TEAM
Let me rewind a bit again. I helped build Reaction. When I started to bring people in, I was trying to bring people in who would make a great addition to the team, not just car wise, but personality wise too. I also wanted diversity in the group, so people with different cars who were committed, I would ask them to hang out. This is when the Import scene was starting to get interesting. This goes back to most people building Hondas, but I was making friends with people who were outside of the Honda demographic and some of these people were into "the cars" as opposed to being a trend follower. But I also got an "exclusive or elitist" response when it came to bring in new members from others. "They have to have a fully done car". "This is all business and nothing personal". But our team was not founded on business, it was founded on guys that love cars. I had guys that were at SCCA events with their 1st gen RX7 autocrossing, a couple of friends who were into drifting and now do that as a motorsport. Even my cousin who wanted to be part our team, at the time was planning on getting a 2000 Celica was given a no go. He got a sponsored WRX and has won tons of awards in So Cal.
I made international friends and they wanted to be part of Team Reaction. In 1999- 2000, I used to visit Japanese homepages that were on geocities.co.jp and others like it. I made many friends and corresponded with people through email and packages (gifts). Then their friends wanted to join as well, So it spread. I was going on many forums and boards learning the different car cultures around the world. To my amazement, there were people who I clicked with and became good friends. This included Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, and Australia. My intentions were to visit each place and establish our Team. I even told some of the guys here (in the US) to come with me when I travel to these places. I loved and would research cars that I was unfamiliar with. An example, I was looking into the Mazda Lantis and how people were building them in Europe. I started to talk on a forum and got to know a few guys on there. We made comparisons between the tuning scene and cars that were unique to our countries. This is when my friend Jim said he wouldn't mind being part of Reaction and asked for a sticker for his Mazda Lantis. To me, that was huge because it was a different country with different cars and we could promote our Reaction as an international. More important, if I traveled there, I had friends who can show me around and I could stay with.
When I brought this up to my team members, I remember one guy saying, "Well, this is fake because we don't know them". I'm just glad I didn't listen to him, because I went to Japan and even to this day, 15 yrs later, I am still friends with them! Back to the issues of the team, when people were hounding me about spending money on my cars, I said I was spending money on my life and not just cars. "We talk about JDM, but has anyone else took the time to actually go to Japan?" "I've been building relationships and trying to expand Reaction so that it can continue to be a force, but also that we can go to Japan or Hong Kong or Europe and have team members there and they could possibly get us EDM or JDM parts." Of course, at the time, it didn't make sense to them. Every paycheck was aimed at putting into their cars and non for traveling.
TOWARDS THE END
Reaction kept its core people and those guys bought different cars, it never was the same after. Nobody has a Reaction sticker on their car anymore and I know some of the guys still hang around with each other.
The irony is that many of the guys are now going through what I went through, marriage and family commitments. Sadly, a few of my teammates have said, "Man, I wish I went with you (to Japan) back then". That was the opportunity for them to experience international travel and make friends. As adults with responsibilities, traveling can not be as easy due to work and financial commitments. I felt there was an opportunity and I took it and have no regrets about traveling to Japan!
I felt my purpose for Reaction was to bring people together and build a team, but this didn't fit with a business model that some adopted. I was also building a team to evolve and have connections. Here is the thing. Friendships last longer than cars. Pertaining to the team, this expansion and evolution was suppose to be long term and sustainable.
There will always be Reaction as long as many of us love it and carry the true meaning of being in a car club with friends.
After finding a Reaction sticker that I had in storage, I've decide to carry on the name that I started, regardless if others do not like it or not. I help build the team, but it seems that others have let it down.
The attachment I had for Reaction was because I invested in it heavily (time, energy, and emotion), it was part of my identity and still resides in me today. I attribute my car experiences to Reaction and the many people I had met over the years. Not only that, Reaction was part of the Import scene of Washington (as well as many crews) and that is NW import scene history.
In 2004, Yokohama with my friends again. Mege, Nao, and Takashi.
So let me go down the list of members we had (To my memory). There were core members who were always around, member who were busy and sporadic due to living faraway or work (but still family) and people who I felt should have been in, who have hung around during the whole time. I've also included my international members at the time.
Jackson and Nick - 88 Honda CRX
Zol - 93 Acura Legend 4 door>96 Civic hatchback
Brian - 2k Civic SI> Mitsubishi Evo
Brian's Dad - GD Subaru Impreza WRX wagon
Ron - DA Acura Integra (became sporadic)
Justin - EG Honda Civic hatch (sporadic)
Bryson - 92 Honda Prelude (sporadic, but did alot of shows)
Chris - 2000 Civic coupe
Jeremy - 98 Honda Civic coupe (sporadic)
Damien - 93 DA Acura Integra hatchback
Duy - 2000 Honda Civic coupe SI> 2001 Honda Prelude
Jared - EG Honda Civic hatchback
Jason - GC Subaru Impreza 4 door (sporadic)
Jay - 2000 Honda Civic coupe SI> Z31 300zx
JT - 2000 Honda Civic coupe SI
Kala - 95 Honda Accord 2D (sporadic)
Kenny - 2nd generation Mitsubishi Eclipse>99 Mitsubishi 3000GT
Brian - 1st generation Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX (sporadic)
Mark - EG Honda Civic hatchback
Paul - 86 Toyota Corolla
Rich - KA7 Acura Legend 2 door
Kate - 2nd generation Mitsubishi Eclipse (sporadic)
Steve - EG Honda Civic hatchback
Rob - 88 Honda CRX (sporadic)
Ryan - 95 Honda Accord Turbo (sporadic)
Tito - 95 Nissan 300zx TT
KC - 93 Acura Legend 4 door
Ricky - DC Acura Integra
Josue - 93 Nissan Maxima
Crissy - 92 Honda Accord (sporadic)
Gene - 95 Honda Civic coupe (sporadic)
Stewart - EG Civic hatchback (sporadic)
Travis - 96 Civic coupe (sporadic)
Vuong - 2000 V6 Honda Accord 2 door
Charles - 95 Honda Civic hatchback (sporadic)
Alvin - 93 Acura Integra
Tommy - 88 Honda CRX (sporadic)
Mike - 93 Honda Accord 4 door
Makara - 98 Honda Accord 4 door (sporadic)
Sokhim - 90 Honda Accord 4 door (sporadic)
Abdul - 96 Honda Accord (sporadic)
Ray - EG Honda Civic hatchback (sporadic)
Jonny - 95 Acura Integra
Cameron - 2000 Accord sedan V6> 95 S14 Nissan 240sx
Justin - CD Honda Accord 4 door (Hung around)
Tony - DA Integra (Hung around)
Myself - 93/2k Honda civic hatchbacks, 89 Nissan 240sx fastback, 86 Mazda RX7, 92 Acura Vigor, 90 Infiniti M30
Members in Japan:
Megesan - Nissan S13 Silvia> Nissan A31 Cefiro> Nissan R32 Skyline, Nissan C33 Laurel> Nissan R33 Skyline 4 Door
Takashi - Mitsubishi Mirage> Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII
Kamo - 95 Toyota Starlet turbo
Nao - 1st generation Toyota bB
Nobuo - 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX 4 door
Miyashi - 3rd generation Legacy Wagon
Kazuya - C33 Nissan Laurel
Masa - Mitsubishi FTO
Sato - Toyota Sera
Kuma - 2000 Mitsubishi Galant VR4
Ryota - 99 Honda Torneo SiR
Ryusei - 99 NB Mazda MX-5 roadster (Miata)
Yushin - 96 Toyota Supra
Kosei - 98 Subaru forester
Eita - 91 Suzuki Cappuccino
CappuccinoToma - 92 Mazda Sentia (929)
Ren - 90 Mazda Eunos 300
Ryuki - GD Impreza WRX
Akiyama - B4 Legacy sedan
Jim - 96 BA Mazdaspeed Lantis V6
John - Nissan DR30 Skyline
Andy - 98 Honda Civic Type R
Cheng - 95 Honda Integra Type R