Driver Blog: Mike Pollard>> The Drift Matsuri Experience

After the 11 hour flight and pre-track preparations with Billy from GAIJIN Smash, I showed up to Ebisu to find my car sourced from Andy of Powervehicles, decked out in full American fashion. It actually had 52 stars as well! I had sell off parts from my personal competition drift car in the US to afford my Matsuri missile! I took the first day to install some bits I brought from my personal car like the steering wheel and 5-point harness not to mention doing a full check on the car I would be using to compete in G1-GP Round 3 in as well as the Autumn Matsuri in. Although it had blown shocks and completely rotted motor mounts, nothing was gonna keep me from driving.

Once my car was pitted for the G1-GP on Friday I took a walk around Daigos LS1 LHD 240SX he sourced from the States. Although nothing special as far as V8s go, it had the Daigo touch, which makes it like no other! Also took some time to talk with him and Robbie Nishida before the day commenced.

The pre-qualifying drivers meeting was jam-packed with Austrailians, South Africans, French, and other's from around the world including myself and Billy Hanson from TMFO and Gaijin Smash representing the Americans that would be competing. Robbie Nishida took the mic to explain what the judges would be looking for and lay out the qualifying format for the Top16.

During my 10 minute qualifying session I was laying down consistant runs in my 280HP 180SX, hitting all the proper clipping points with my aggressive style coming down the hill at Nishi, through the middle section and through the final corner, laying hard on the gas TMFO style!

In the post qualifying drivers meeting, the Top 14 finishers were announced along with four more drivers including myself…

…who were apparently equal as far as runs went…

…and would have to pick straws to battle it out for the final two spots in the Top 16.

In my first tandem battle I went up against the Drift Police R32 of John Dreyer…

…and came out victorious after a solid lead and close chasing runs followed by him spinning on his chase run.

After fighting my way to Top 16 I went up against South African Daniel Buchner in his 180SX. Having both made mistakes on our first round we went one more time. I laid down a solid lead run and when following him made contact coming down the hill as he was much much slower than usual in the faster part of the course, causing me to spin. After getting told I had lost I was not happy as his "brake checking " should have been totally clear. I went back into the pits and proceeded back to the stands to watch the rest of the battles when I was told they had announced I won! After a quick interaction with Kumakubo, Robbie and the judges, it was corrected that I had indeed won and there had been a mistake! I immediately rushed back to my car and headed up to the staging lane for my next battle for the Top 8. I lost to one of the many Australians competing, ending up in 7th place overall in my first G1-GP. I was hoping for the 1st American podium but fell short. There's always next year :)

On Saturday morning I showed up to the track a little late as the night before me and my friend/sponsor Chris from sakurajimaexpress.com got a little intoxicated at the G1-GP post event party. We ended up upgrading from the normal drivers accommodation across the track thanks to Robbie Nishida and Daigo Saito who invited us back to a nice hotel for some more drinks to chill and chat. Getting to shower was the best part. Thanks guys! Once at Ebisu for the Drift Matsuri I headed straight to Minami Course to pit and setup the car for the jump, as instructed by Diago. Raising the car I found one front strut was bent, and for safety I ratchet-strapped the motor down. Although my car was the complete opposite of jump-ready I proceeded onto the track regardless of the obvious dangers.

After ten or so feeler runs I began to speed up into the entry and did what felt like a 90% run into the course, getting some air in the process.

Upon landing it was clear my car, with its blown shocks, was not in the best shape to be jumping, but I didn't let that get to my head.

Since I was not going 100% I didn't have the proper line to get close to the wall, fully carry my momentum down the hill and run the outside line, but still completed the course in fashion. It was the best feeling in the world!

With my fears aside and a little ego boost having completed the course, I told myself to "quit being a ***" and do it like a man! Thats when it all went wrong. I proceeded to enter the jump line with full speed and upon landing the car decided to go the complete opposite way, shooting me head-on into the wall at roughly 75-80mph. The hit was without a doubt the hardest I have taken since I started drifting 10 yrs ago. Thankfully knowing my own driving style I installed my 5-point harness over the stock seatbelt.

I emerged from the wreckage with a smile from ear to ear and my adrenaline was at max. I was glad I was ok, minus some harness burns on my neck. "Thats drifting" I told myself. My plan had been to do the jump at the end of the Matsuri, figuring this would happen, but being there my excitement got the better of me.

Of course I had to show some sadness for the media…

…as it would seem my matsuri weekend was over just 4 hours into the 36 hour event. 

A close-up of the carnage. Had wall material pressed into the paint, my wheel had managed to cut right through the fender and radiator and obviously intercooler damage as well as major frame movement.

We got the car back into the pits…

…to see what could be salvaged from the wreck. 

The car would sit in this spot in the Minami pits for the remainder of the Matsuri to be a reminder of the dangers that lurk just 40 yds away. Minami wall – 1 … America – 0. hahahaha

After hangin around, watching as others drifted for 4 hours into the evening, it started to settle in that I could not drive anymore. It was starting to get to me when I overheard an American military guy say he was out of tires and had zero money left and was also low on gas. I proceeded to walk over and inform him I had 6-10 tires left, as well as better Dunlop Star Spec front rubber to run and a full tank of gas we could syphon over. It just so happened his missile was a 4-door Ceifro with 4-lug hubs and a RB20DET sporting coilovers, rack spacers, and an aftermarket diff. He agreed to allow me to share his car with him for the remainder of the weekend, provided we would share the tires I had left, as well as my gas! MATSURI CONTINUES!!!

After installing my steering wheel…

…and 17inch wheels I proceeded to drift through the night into the morning (4am) hitting hot laps on the Touge and North Courses in the darkness, blowing out tires, drifting on bare rims. I even got the car on 2 wheels on the driverside sidewalls for 5 seconds in a verrrrryy close nearly-roll-over-situation coming down the Touge course hill. Thankfully the car ended up back on 4 wheels with me and my friend Chris laughing hysterically with our hearts racing in awe. After this it was time for some rest and I slept from 4:30 am to around 8:00am.

In the morning I fitted some new tires on the Ceifro and headed up to the North Course to "ride the wall." In the pits I ran into Dino who was shocked to see me behind the wheels of yet another car, still enjoying Matsuri.

During the 1st session out on North Course I blew 3rd gear initiating up the hill onto the straight. I proceeded to only use 2nd and still have just as much fun getting closer and closer to the wall.

In this picture you can see the full rear end of a stock Ceifro after one wall tap.

After finally reaching the wall and getting calibrated with the length of the 4dr drift car, which being my first experience in one is a bit longer than my usual S13 chassis. It sparked 30 runs back to back to back of consistant wall-taps down the straight, which when done right, bounce you perfectly into the next corner at wide open throttle. 

Now the rear end slowly losing its natural shape tap after tap.

After a few runs a big crowd gathered on the wall cheering me and showing me just where they wanted me to tap. 

So I gave them what they wanted until I was literally backing the car into the wall to hit it, as the passenger corner was completely rounded off with the trunk opening and closing under its own free will.

After finally running out of gas I pulled into pits where, with the adrenaline pumping and smiling ear to ear, we chatted on how every time I managed to tap the wall and was having the time of my life.

I gave a "I conquered North Course" pose to wrap up the weekend on top of what was left of the rear end of the Ceifro!

I can honestly say the Drift Matsuri was the most fun I have ever had drifting in my whole life and would strongly suggest you make the trek at some point in your life. The guys at Ebisu really know how to "keep drifting fun." From the atmosphere to the 100+ drifters from all over the world all just having a blast and destroying their cars. It's the biggest and baddest grassroots event in the whole world, period. It was a bit pricey but worth every penny I spent and would not have been able to do it if it wasnt for friends like Arron Mai from Arron Mai photography, Billy Hanson and the other members of Gaijin Smash, Chris Tesarski from sakurajimaexpress.com, Andy and Emily at Powervehicles, Kumakubo and Suenaga for the great facilities and the awesome military guy from Florida who let me share and thrash in his Ceifro. I am now addicted to the Drift Matsuri and will be going back in the future and working to setup a way for more Americans to get over and experience it, as it is simply amazing. And I wont forget Dino for being everywhere drifting is and allowing me to do this Driver Blog here on Speedhunters and share my experience with the world in my own words.

-Mike Pollard

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60 comments

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1

Love it! Glad you had a great time!

2

Cool beans, but to bad you couldn't quali for D1.



D1US might of been a huge failure, but D1GP is still top shit. Mirror to mirror entries at 109mph like at Fuji is still yet to be seen here in the states. D1SL even makes FD look bad.

3

good stuff Mike. Congrats.

4

Yeah awesome American military guy here, My name is Paul Otlewski BTW. It was awesome to get to keep driving through the weekend with you guys.

5

Nice write up Mike! I still have the video of you and Paul doing a reconstruction of the negotiations, I'll put it online soon.

6

What an awesome experience. Deffinatly worth every penny and indeed, there should be more people from North America joining in. Too bad there was no mention of the late night BBQ's and beer gardens.

7

Awesome write up man! I have wanted to do a Matsuri ever since I saw the first one covered on Speedhunters looks like such a great time. I'll have to bring one of my friends who understands some Japanese though or something so I can snag a decent missile hehe

8

Glad to see your still I ln action.are you still drifting in the US?

9

personally i would have beat the shit out of someone if they f**Kd my car up like that, but if i had the opportunity to do it i would

10

Haha Don't ever ask to borrow my car!

Nice write-up!!!

11

@ Slappy - Too bad he couldn't get a proper car w/ a working sidebreak. D1 as way better tandems, yes, but D1 isn't amazing as everyone makes it out to be.

12

if d1 had a top 32 i would have qualified every round but round #4...... and yes i will be doing some drifting in north america next year.. personally im glad Paul Otlewski was such a rad dude and let me thrash in his missile just as he did.. i cant take credit away form him as he started to damage on the corner of the ceifro.. i just put a exclamation mark on it :P

13

Hell ya magic. Good to see you had a dope time out there. I wanna try and make in out sometime in my future.

14

cool photos.

cool story bro.

but you come across as a fair bit of a arrogant douche.

15

@ zac, what about any of this makes him an arrogant douche? Envy is the biggest cause of hate!



Way to rip it up mike. Sweet story!

16

@ Mom : Sorry Mom, i'll take out the trash now ^_^

17

wow what an ego this guy has, didn't even give credit to the driver that beat him.

18

wow what an ego this guy has, didn't even give credit to the driver that beat him.

19

Are you sure you are not a journalist instead of a driver? This was exciting to read, i felt like i was actually there and racing as well. If you are ever in Minnesota again I would like to start a fan club for you.

You are awesome!!

20

@Zac and @randomguy, shut up

with all the hating. You both sound like your mad because neither of you got a blog. Stop whining and being jealous it's rather funny and childish of both of you.

Good job mike

21

Im not gonna lie I was a bit put off when I came back from lunch to find that 3rd gear was now broke and the back end of the car was pretty well stuffed, But then I remembered that it's a missile and I would have done the same thing If I was behind the wheel. Also I was too tired from only getting 3 hours of sleep in the cef that night to be angry.

22

great story, well done

23

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1551152



Bottom of page 2.



Seems like this mike pollard guy doesn't have much respect for peoples things...



nice guy willing to share his car " oh man i am on limited tires and fuel, not cool."



mike pollard "oh hey i have tires and gas and will smash the hell out of your car with reckless abandon and not give you much of the seat time..."

24

@zac.. im not on this planet to please everyone..seems someone always has to get emotional.. cheer up this blog was meant to share my experience not make you love me lol

25

real good stuff Mike!!! glad to see you having an awesome time out there

26

@big mike ..... i read that forums post and i have just messaged paul and asked him why if he was so upset about the events that took place why he was not upset at the track or at any time during the matsuri.. most of the time we would go form track to track and take turns driving not having any negative feelings.. i dont read minds nor do i go out and abuse people shit if they advise me otherwise.. when he got out and looked at the rear end of that car his words were" ohhhhh sweeeet" at the end of the weekend i actually asked if he wanted to sell the car to me and he stated " naw its cool ill keep it for the next one" seeing as a missile car is a missile car he was the 1st to break parts off his car and the last 2 drive it.. i usually had to force him to go drive cause he was so tired that he didnt want to at one point going to havea nap when the north course stuff went down.. im sorry after the fact he has voiced regret and anger but if it was a issue it should have been brought to light instead of being sugar coated and then talked about behind my back.. again its none of yours cars nor issue to deal with i will deal with this issue and paul directly cause thats who it concerns.. thanx....

27

@ Mom : Sorry Mom, i'll take out the trash now ^_^

28

"arrogant douche" is the defination of "an amercian" isnt it?

29

wow, if you decided to ride the wall in my car for some gas and tires after that huge crash u had, we wouldnt be friends no more.

cool stuff, but i do agree with zac. u left that arrogant american taste in my mind

dont like

30

USA with japan car wtf? v8 4ever?!?!?!

31

Daniel Buchner is an Australian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! might want to fix that one!

32

Lol dude is on a mad ego trip.



"on how every time I managed to tap the wall " - You were in 2nd gear bro

33

Hey Piner, too bad Pollard didn't have the courtesy to even get your name after blowing third, rounding off the corner of the car, and getting more seat time than you, all in your own car.

34

Piner:



1 - You had no tires.

2 - You had no fuel.

3 - You had no money.

4 - You had a "Missile"

5 - You had somebody give you fuel and tires to use so that YOU TOO could get more track time.

6 - You were practically FORCED to get back in the car and drive after pairing up with Mike because you didn't want to drive.

7 - You never had any problems (or voiced any) at the track about the way your missile was being driven (IE the way a missile is supposed to be)

8 - You encouraged Mike's driving.

9 - You didn't try to stop it at all...(he drove your car with you for half of Sat, Sat night, and all day Sunday...you had plenty of time to say something).

10 - On the BMW forum you said you would be surprised if the car lasted the weekend with the way you drive.

11 - The car still drives fine, the frames not F'd, and you can race it again.

12 - Why did you not say anything to anybody until AFTER this blog came out and a few people made some comments?

13 - Your a bitch for NOT saying something to Mike and instead going on other forums and talking shit about him and how he treated you/your car.



IT'S A MISSILE!!!



<3 Mom

35

Hey I already talked this over with mike on face book. My post on bimmer forums was taken out of context. I said

"^yes although I don't think I got as much time in the car as he did but still I got more than enough.



The massive wall tapping shit kinda pissed me off though because I wasn't even there when he was doing that shit and hell it was my car not his to decide to just bang it off shit."



I was not complaining of the amount of track time I got. I was simply stating that Mike got more than I did. Which is true and that was because I was tired and simply wanted to relax and enjoy the event. I was taking things at my own pace and going out when I felt like it. It was my vacation from working 70 hour work weeks for the last 7 months.



You are right I didn't say anything then but then again I was trying not to get pissed because I was on vacation and I didn't want to ruin it by getting to an argument with anyone. I simply stated that it "Kinda pissed me off" I didn't call mike any names or say anything disparaging about him as a person he is a cool dude. I do not regret letting him drive my car. Everyone calling Mike an arrogant dick needs to calm the f**k down. Hes a cool guy, gets a bit carried away but I have no issues with him at all.

36

Mike will push u into bushes to if your not looking baahahaahhhaahah, do all BIMMER guys get this butt hurt about missiles? I can think of 1 that wouldn't. Piner seems like a legit guy but if u don't want someone smashing ur car while driving with a bunch of missiles i suggest not giving the keys to a guy that put his car into the wall in the first 4 hours. This just seems like a lot of people that have nothing to do with the situation crying

37

seems like you're both made for each other.. But matsuri sucks now with so many Gaijin..

38

Even though i'm not a huge fan of 90's jap cars, events and pics like this makes me feel sick. I'm not saying cars shouldn't be driven, that's what they're made for, and i've wrecked quite a few myself. But crashing cars on purpose is just plain stupid, childish and makes me sick. Where will grassroots drifting be in 10 years when all rwd car's been smashed to pieces? There's enough crashed as it is, and they're not exactly planning on introducing more cheap rwd models. It'll be a sport only "arrogant americans" can afford.



And i'd been more than happy to give the gas and tires for free, you didn't even remember his name!

The guy should have given you a proper beating.

39

yep arrogant american no doubt and no im not jealous i have been to matsuri this year but i dont try and make myself sound like i was the best driver there. typical american attitude and you wonder why people generalise

40

Great article Mike glad you made it bro. When I asked you prior to going you were unsure... super cool you made it out. I got year or so left In japan bro... you gotta do it again.

41

im glad everyone for the most part enjoyed this story... im laughing my a** off that this car being wall tapped is such a huge issue as after talking directly with PAUL there is no issues between me and him and we both will be in touch to meet up at the next matsuri :) save the drama for the little girls room. and yeah i guess im an american and well we all know the world hates us so maybe thats the stem of the hate ... (damn you george w bush) oh and btw andy who is from scotland decided to fashion up may car the way it sat and everyone at the event got a kick out of it as well as me.. soo as us "arrogant" americans say... "AMERICA F*** YEAH!" and FEEL FREE TO HATE ON ME :) THANKS DINO FOR ASKING ME TO DO THIS BLOG! ive gained more haters that put my name in there mouth and that equals free publicity ;)

SPEEDHUNTERS ROCKS!

42

hahahah @ everyone with a negative attitude..if you got a bad taste in your mouth spit the hate out.. im def not sorry if my utter joy and excitement and passion for drifting come across as arrogant. i love how most of you have never even been to a matsuri or never even driven a car to its limits .. this post was sharing a experience to those who could not make it or wanted to know more about it... if you gain anything from this blog you should realize if your concerned with the way you car looks or get sad when you car touches walls then matsuri is not for you.. im glad this blog is bringing out all the hate i seem to generate without saying anything negative.. BTW. your welcome, now you dont have to spend a shit load of money like i did to go experience something you will not enjoy.. MATSURI = complete chaos and total destruction.. to those that love the write up i hope you all can make it out in the future and would love to help any americans or anyone for that matter trying to go get there as if you are a true drifter its something you must experience.. (yes by experience i mean f***ing stuff up) lol CHEERS!

44

I really don't get it...Mike is straight up a great guy. Period. He is one hell of a driver and deserves credit! Great blog...keep it up Mike!

45

@magic mike you are a tool.



@derek you are a tool.



and @Mom, i think hate you.

46

every nice 4 door left will get destroyed at this track till there are none left :S

what will the world do then

47

least favorite Matsuri post ever.

Sounds like a typical trash talking, mega ego driver event like we have here in South Florida.

Meh

48

SOMEWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES THERE IS A BALD EAGLE WALKING ON WATER

49

This is by far my favorite article on speedhunters. I knew that gaijin made it out to these events (some military) and this is exactly the event I wanted covered from this perspective.



I dont understand why you guys pissed off if you weren't even there to base your opinion on fact.



Big ups to Magic Mike for dropping the coin to have a killer time. Jealous as that you made it there with a missile, after that much buildup It'd be hard not to do the same. And big ups to Otlewski for making the best out of 2 bad situations.



It seems like everyone there was having fun, and I don't think its necessary to credit the driver that beat him, if your interested in standings check the rankings. For me drifting is about style and fun, if you cant appreciate that then time attack is for you.



Thank you Mike, you the fuckin man.

50

To all the people who are mad about "Americans destroying cars/missiles at the track": 1 - The MAJORITY (by far) of all the gaijin at these events are Australian. The Japanese do it to...you should see Daigo and Shinji's missiles...they have been through hell, get pulled back out again, maintained, and raced some more. Having a practice car (which is exactly what a missile is) that you don't give a f**k about will help you progress as a driver SSSOOOOOOO much! There is no reason to complain about an already crappy car getting beat up on the outside, especially if it improves the quality of drivers in the sport of drifting. I think all the nay sayer's just need to come to Japan and experience it first hand.

51

This goes to "Someone" The wall tapping is maybe one of the most fun parts of drifting. Being able to control a car , in Mikes case a car that he didn't even own, in a full drift to the extent to tap the wall without major damage or major correction is amazing. Second, not in example to Matsuri in some cases, Drifting competitions are are judged sport. Like previously stated it takes talent, and judges see that. Also Mike said that the crowd was cheering him on. IT LOOKS COOL. Also, these are missles, so yes they will all get trashed. But when people drive them on the street, usually they cost to much and therefore wont beat them up as much.

52

@ David. uhh full drift??? minimal damage? did you read the same blog the rest of us did? mike knocked 2 feet off that rear panel, and with no remorse! WALL TAPS mike, not wall smashes, you jerk. i couldnt imagine coming back from lunch with no 3rd gear, and my rear quarter bent and folded in any worse than when i left, you jerk. i am imagining mike watching paul go for lunch, and soon as paul was outta site mike just turns into an evil, grinning, maniac with no regard for pauls cefiro at all... again, you jerk. looked like fun though! cheers mate!

53

Drift Missiles will be the end of drifting

Its all well and good having a missile to drive hard push the boundries but driving it to destroy it in one weekend is such a waste. when were all old in the year 2030 there will be no drifting coz idiots just fucked all the manuel RWD cars up just to have fun for 2 days

Dont get me wrong i wlove matsuri and plan to attend the event one day with a missile of my own, but i plan to make the car last more then one matsuri



I mean whats gunna happen if eveyone stacks two cars per weekend.... Save the nissans!!!! if your going to destroy the car you mite as well buy something shit atlest not a nissan!

54

i love

"getting calibrated to the length of the 4 door"

crashing is pretty hard, i guess.

55

yeah man you sound like a douche. even if it was cool with the other guy that you smashed his car there are these things called morals man. it wasn't even your car and you treated it like shit. that is just messed up. i haven't been to matsuri but i know tonnes of people that have (both jap and aus) and its always the americans that leave a sour taste. I constantly hear NO RESPECT.

It shows too. straight away i noticed you didnt give cred to the dude that beat you, but you mentioned the guy you beat, and you didnt even remember the guys name whose car you smashed.

missiles arent meant to be smashed on purpose, its just that IF something does happen then it doesnt matter. but its a different story when its not yours.

other than that the story was pretty good. hope to see you there next year!

56

Im not jealous about not having a blog at all. lol i couldnt care less. Im just saying, hes coming across as an arrogant douche. other people agree. i'm just not sucking him off because hes been on speedhunters.

ps. Buckna doesnt brake check. Ive driven with him countless times.

57

Why didn't you do any wall-tapping with your own car?

The left rear wing hasn't got a scratch.

58

Regards the cars being destroyed etc. Heres some facts to set your minds at rest.



Over 50 cars went out for last Matsuri....



Over the 3 days (Inc the g1 GP) I think only 4 CARS had to stop drifting due to crash damage. 1 of which will be fixed and one could yet be fixed. A certain Red White and Blue 180SX, along with 1 other, will RIP ;)

The rest are silently waiting in the depths of Ebisu for their next outing. Some arent exactly show room condtion (LEIGH PIDWELL!!! LOL) to be sure, but by no way are they going to waste. I can think of some cars that have done 5 "Tours of Duty" and are still going strong...



For those with strong feelings on Matsuri that havent yet experienced it, please come and see it for yourself, so you can witness or participate in it 1st hand. See you all here in Ebisu in 2011.

59

IT WASN'T HIS F**KING MISSLE TO F**K UP YOU IDIOTS! PLAIN AND SIMPLE! /END THREAD

60

mike you did great, fuck the haters

come back to minnesota and have some fun

with the guys when you get a chance

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