Queensland Matsuri 2014

A couple weekends ago I went to the best event of the whole year. I didn’t get much driving in, but still had a pretty sweet weekend!

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The wednesday afternoon before matsuri, I had to load up my car onto a truck with a few other Victorian guys, so I packed all my spares and tools into the Stagea and loaded the 180sx up with everything I could fit.

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The majority of stuff I take to events never gets used, I just take it for piece of mind.

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Also cleaned my interior the night before and made it a little more shiny.

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Another photo because I love the fresh paint.

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Got everything loaded and ready to head over to the west side.

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There was 7 cars including mine. Pretty crazy variety as well. Almost every car had a different engine type. Two SR20, two V8, one RB20, one RB30 and my CA.

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I got there around 4pm, didn’t end up leaving until about 9pm that night because it took ages to load all the cars.

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Our driver took a few photos on the trip up north while I jumped on a plane and met up with Josh at the airport. How awesome is the transport setup!

We had to go grab my tyres and stack them all into his little car.

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Somehow we got all 10 tyres into a tiny pulsar. I have trouble doing that shit in the Stagea!

Friday afternoon we checked in at the cheapest motel in Ipswich. First thing we saw when we walked in was a dead cockroach at the door.

Best motel I’ve ever been to. Seriously.

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Headed to the track around 1pm and waited for our truck to get there. Obviously first thing I did was check out my Queensland home, short track.

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I was so keen just to see my car and go out driving. I had thought on the plane, what if it copped some damage on the way up? Or what if it fell off the trailer? Most ridiculous things I could think of, but of course I was wrong.

Cars turned up safe and everything was ready to come off. Damn my car looks sweet!

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It took about an hour to get all seven cars off the truck. Pretty good compared to the five hours it took to load them up back in Melbourne.

Got a good spot next to some friends, set up all my stuff and left the car for the night.

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Fast forward to saturday morning, 7:30am. Time for drivers briefing, a few little check ups, then go time.

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Obviously first place I went was here.

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It was my #1 spot last year, so obviously first thing I wanted to do was go straight out again.

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I did one pass and the car was perfect! A little bit more unpredictable compared to last year (which I’m guessing is because it’s slightly lower/less front castor), but it was running well which is all I cared about.

Lined up for another run, threw it in, then it started to miss. Sounded like a cooler pipe or a hose had split, so came in and checked it over. After about 10 mins of searching, I started playing with some of the injector wiring and had it running well but it was on and off. Thought it might be a loose connection or some wires that are touching that shouldn’t be. Everything looked ok, nothing was stripped or melted, it all looked as perfect as it did when it was wired. I spent about an hour trying to figure out what the hell the problem was. And after all of the stuffing around and pulling shit apart, the one thing that stopped me driving, THE ONE STUPID LITTLE THING, my goddamn ECU plug had popped out somehow.

I feel like a dipshit for not noticing such a simple problem, especially when I try to make my car 100% reliable in every way. The dumbest thing happens and I don’t even notice. I don’t know how it came out, but whatever, it happened. So I plugged it back in, re-insulated the cables and went back out driving.

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If you read last years recap, you’ll remember I said the skid pan was awesome. It still is.

After 5 minutes of some slippery stuff I went back to short track and drove until I needed a break. Just like last year it was easily 35ยบ or possibly even more, and sitting in a car with black interior, no air conditioning and a helmet meant I was sweating 24/7.

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Around 12ish I headed out to main track for a few sessions on the dipper. Lots of speed in 4th gear and big entries was so much fun. Like 2013, there were two layouts, first being quite fast while the second was a little tighter.

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After a few runs on the back section I went back to the first section. A couple runs later the rear end of the car starting getting a little noisy. I thought a driveshaft might be about to explode so thought I might come in and check it out before it destroyed something in the process.

Pulled it out, nothing was wrong so put it back in and headed back out.

Then I had a bigger problem.

First entry into the dipper, went from 4th back to 3rd gear and powered out of the corner, then massive BANG.

Diff exploded.

Had to get towed back in to check it out. First thing I did was run around asking people if they had a spare diff to sell/let me borrow for the weekend. It was only midday so I figured surely someone would have brought a spare diff. Unfortunately couldn’t find anything.

Pretty disappointing seeing my broken car just sitting there. I spent most of the day trying to find a replacement, even something average just to throw in. Felt like I was having some pretty shit luck because I couldn’t find anyone with a spare diff!

I figured I may as well pull the thing out and see how bad it was. No idea why, but I decided to do this at 10pm saturday night. Why didn’t I pull it out earlier? I have no idea. I’m an idiot.

Fast forward again to about 2am sunday morning. One of the coolest dudes in Queensland heard I needed a diff and he had one back at his place. Said I could have it, but it was an open diff so I needed to get it welded. I said I would come and grab it ASAP and I’ll organise to get it welded at the track!

I got to bed about 3am, then woke up at 5:30am, got ready and went to pick up Nick from the track and head back to his place to get the diff. Pulled it out of the cradle and headed back to the track.

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Then I had to hunt around for a dude with a welder. I knew a couple people had them, but couldn’t find them. I found another guy with one but his wire wasn’t going to be strong enough to weld it. I asked Neil (best event organiser in the world/all round cool dude) if he knew anyone with one. After a quick message out to all the people following the event, there was a guy coming out who had a welder with him! SCORE!

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Jamie got to the track about midday and I had the diff all ready to go. 20 minutes later it was welded and good to go back in the car. I put some oil back into it, threw the hat back on and started putting everything back together. By about 12:30pm sunday my car was back on the ground and ready to drive!

Ran out to the skid pan to check everything was still sweet!

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Grabbed my helmet and went over to short track for more fun. Only had about 3 hours left of the whole event so thought I should drive until it was over or until something else exploded.

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I personally don’t think my driving was that good this year. Maybe it was the changes to the car, or maybe I was just driving like a fool. Either way I think it could have been way better.

Closer to the end of the day I bumped into the rope on the entry and ended up running over my lip, AGAIN.

This thing has definitely seen it’s use, I’m suprised it’s still in one piece after being run over for a third time.

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I was a bit sad, but didn’t care, I wanted to get as much driving in as I could. By about 3:30pm, I went out on main track for a couple laps and that was the end of it.

I really wish I had more time driving but I guess there is always next year.

I loaded my car back onto the truck with all the interstate guys, ready for the 2000km trip back home. Suprisingly, everyones car was still working!

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I got home monday afternoon, tired as hell and ready for a bit of sleep. Tuesday I headed out to the depot to unload the car off the truck and bring it home. Worst part of an event is hometime.

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I have been thinking over the past couple months that I might take a break from drifting in 2015. Main reason is because I want to finish the S13 and drive it and I can’t afford to do both unfortunately. I really want to take the S13 up to Queensland next year and drive with all my friends again. It’s going to be an insane car to drive and I don’t want to delay it any longer. I told myself last year that I would get it done for the end of 2014 and that’s definitely not going to happen. So I think I’ll put the 180sx away for a little bit and get the S13 on it’s way to being finished.

Maybe if I have enough money I might drive the 180sx again towards the end of next year, but only if the S13 is finished. I’m not going to sell it, it’s just going to sit in the shed under a cover until I can afford to drive again.

Anyway, matsuri was an awesome event again and I can’t wait to go back. Wether I’m driving or not, I’m definitely heading back up to hang with all the awesome people and see the best cars in Aus!

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