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 Post subject: Where Did Battle Version Come From? (by Alex Pfeiffer)
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 5:07 pm
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Location: KILL 'EM ALL.
I found this while browsing the forums on www.drifting.com.
I figured you guys would like to read it!
Enjoy!

AlexPfeiffer wrote:

Where Did Battle Version Come From?
Story of My Life, By Alex Pfeiffer
--
Born in Honolulu Hawaii in 1975. My father was a fan of the local circle track where he would take us every weekend to watch the local races. That's kind of where I started to enjoy motor sports. Week after week of watching v8's bang their way around the track. Falling asleep in the stands as the sprint cars race by. I was 5 or 6 but knew that I wanted to race. Years went by and now it was time for me to get a license. FOERST car was an 80 Mercury Zephyr that my grandfather gave my dad for an extra car. I tried everything I could to get it sideways or burn out. The only thing that would work was to take it in the pineapple fields where it didn't take much HP to get it sideways. About the same time, mopeds started to get popular in Hawaii. I bought my FOERST ped for $35 and started to learn the ins and outs of what made a 2-stroke work. That thing was great; it was my ticket out of the house. Didn't need to keys from dad anymore and I could actually afford the .75c fill ups. Now that I was out of the house, I had a chance to meet all the local guys and before you know it, we would have big moped meets on Friday nights to race each other. Laguna drive was the racetrack of choice. A 2 mile strait with plenty of time to get up to speed. The second racetrack was our local mountain, Tantalus. Tantalus is a 10-mile loop around the mountain with more than 100 turns. A perfect place to get hurt and that I did on many occasions. Before you know it, I had a garage full of parts and peds that I would buy, fix up, and sell. Most of the town guys that I hung out with were getting into cars and drag racing. So it was off to the racetrack again. The car of choice was a 71 to 74 Toyota corolla, it really didn't matter the body style, just that you had duals, cam, Msd, headers, and a love to get dirty. Those things would break down almost every weekend. We were cheep and would do anything to go faster without paying money.

And as the story goes, I bought a car to go play too. Well that one wasn't enough and before you know it, now I had a street full of cars and a garage full of peds. None of which worth anything but stuff to play with. Eventually got down to the 13's in one of the cars and 17's on the moped (this was many years later). The fastest moped in Hawaii ran a 14.56 Quarter Mile!! That same night the track officials said mopeds where going to fast so they passed a rule stating they could only run 1/8 mile.

My FOERST job was at Bob Sato's Auto Repair as a *Censored**Censored**Censored**Censored**Censored*
boy. Started by cleaning the shop and running errands. I stuck it out and moved up to mechanic after a while. Bob Sato got me into SCCA racing. He was one of the FOERST on the island to purchase a formula ford. That wasn't enough for him and we ended up converting it from a 1.6 to a 2.0 motor. Turned it into a very fast little car but also made it very unreliable. He didn't finish many races but was sure interesting to watch. As the story goes, I see racing, I must race. So I converted my drag car into a road racing car. Spent way too much money on it and still haven't played back my mom for the loan (thanks mom!). At the time it was $250 to run wheel to wheel in SCCA. Not sure if it changed much but damn did it hurt the wallet. This was from someone who was making a whopping $350 a week. Of coarse I had help from Bob, he donated his old race suit and some parts to see me go at it with the boys. There wasn't much of a race there because no one had the same type of car or ran the same speeds. The track is also extremely short with not many turns. Bob really help me with my driving. He would give me some pointers and things to try. A few times after work I would race him to his house to get some practice in. I never beat him but always tried. By this time the mopeds where a hobby and my cars were the interest. The boys would get together every night during the summer. We would just hang out or play football in the parking lots but the fun would come as we got into drifting. Everyone had a corolla of some kind and we would go up to Tantalus to play around. I don't know how we found it but someone got his hands on an Option video. There it was, Keichi and drift contests. My FOERST look into the outside world. Started to watch racing on TV whenever I was actually home and remember seeing portions of the Dayton 24 hour race one night, thinking one day I want to try that.
Anyway back to the story. After about a year at Sato's, it was time to move on. Got a job at a local speed shop, SpeedTech. Learned a lot about how the aftermarket industry worked and got back into drag racing again, just this time I would build other people's cars so they could go racing. Speedtech was interesting, they had a big VW following and ran a 12 second turbo rabbit. You have to remember this was still before anyone would even consider a Honda for performance. 12 seconds was about as fast as anyone could go in an import car. The other thing that was interesting at speedtech was they raced go-karts and ran at the local autocross. They were one of the main suppliers for go-kart parts on the island. So as the story goes, Alex sees, Alex must do. So I get a deal from my boss on an old kart and put a new motor in it. I really wasn't expecting it to be as hard to drive as it was. Raced for about a season in the go-kart and autocross until I was bored with speedtech and it was time to move on. During the time at speedtech, I meet a lot of the different clubs and groups on the island. Everyone at the time would go to Tantalus to play. I was now well seasoned at Tantalus and spent most of my time there. That was my escape. When I was up there, nothing else seemed to matter. Many nights driving threw the mountain by myself, I would think, "Do I have what it takes?” So I just kept going around and around trying to drift and become as fast as I could. I had to run the mountain no matter what. Almost everyday after work I would do a lap before I went home. About this time is when I started to gain a reputation as a drifter on the mountain. It was a fun time, not like how the mountain is now with all the cops. Back then you could hang out all night with nothing to worry about. People would let me try their cars to watch their pride a joy go sideways around the turns. I would drive anything I could get my hands on. Some of the guys at speedtech also rode dirt bikes. So as the story goes, Alex sees, Alex must do. I found a decently priced dirt bike and went out with the guys. Damn they hurt me good. Think I'm going to stay with 4 wheels from now on.

Ok, back to the story, after speedtech I ended up at a gas station, Niu Valley Union to be exact. There I worked as the second mechanic under Ronny. Ronny was another interesting and fun guy to work with. He was one of those guys who have done it all. The owner of the station, Gail, was also a big drag racer. We sold race gas out of the drum and had a door slammer (pro stock) car in the back room. I never saw it run but heard some funny stories about the look in Gail's eyes when he gets in that thing. 7 something was its fastest time down the quarter. Ronny at the time wanted to get back in the game and wanted to put his son in the drivers seat. So he put a car together and I got to learn about big blocks. Back into drag racing I went but this time on the other side of the paddock. By this time I was getting tired, well tired of the island. I did everything I could and still needed more. Now 21 and looking for a way out. Looked into UTI, MMI, and some other schools but I didn't really want to go to school. That was until I found an add from Russell Racing School in the back of the Sportscar magazine. It said they have a mechanics training coarse. So I called and found out some info in it. Ok, the deal was you pay them to work on the school cars and they will teach you the ins and outs of racing. Well, cool. I can do that. The deal with my parents was that they would pay for any "school" after high school, if I choose to go. I talked to them about it and since it was a “school”, they had to support me. Now I found my ticket out and I didn’t have to worry about money, at least for a little while. I enroll in this "school"; sell off most of my belongings, and off I went to Sears Point Raceway to live my dream as a driver (remember the little kid days). Leaving Hawaii was probably the hardest thing I ever did. Good friends, good times, good food, and the best weather.

Got a room with a few guys going to the school. What a culture shock. “Why is this place so cold all the time?” It was kind of like a frat house. We would work all day and drink all night, well except for my roommate who happened to be a MIT grad, second in his class. He would study the books when we would be looking for something to do. Well a couple months there and I realized that Russell Racing School was a scam. Like I said, you pay them to work on their cars. Russell was supposed to teach us about the racing industry. Well that part was a big fat lie!!! We would work from sun up to sun down to keep their school going. No time was spent to help teach the students anything more than what was needed to keep their cars running. One cool thing though came from the school. Part of your "learning" was to do their driving schools. Both where 3 day classes. One school in a formula ford and one school in a formula Mazda. This was what I was still there to do. I had to prove to myself that I could drive. Now it was time to see if it was all worth it. FOERST day of the school was kind of weak but gave good pointers. Mainly brake and downshifting exercises and a couple short runs on track. Second day was better. They taught us the line around the track and let us run the track in segments. Kind of like an autocross. End of the day and the track was in full motion for one session. FOERST time on a real track and I’m thinking to myself, "Wow this is bad *Censored**Censored**Censored*". Next day was all about driving and they would time your laps. Ok now lets see what I can do. FOERST session was just waking up. Second session, now I'm awake and trying to get up to speed. Third session, "This is fun. Hey, I'm getting the hang of this". By the end of the third session I was almost 10 seconds a lap faster than anyone else in my school group. They had to take a look at the car to make sure I wasn't pulling out the rev cut or something. The fourth session I was 2 seconds off of the "track record" set by one of the instructors. After that, I was happy I made the trip and was hooked. It really didn't care what happened, but now I had to stay to see how well I could do in the formula Mazda's. A couple months go by and it was time again to get back in the drivers seat. This time in a much faster car. The deal with Russell was that you had to pay for the car if you damaged or crashed it. In my head I knew I was going to leave after the school, but the idea of having to pay for the car really scared me. Of coarse with no job and only my parents for income I had to take it easy with the car. So I take it easy with the car and still managed to learn a lot in the 3 days. The car reminded me of my go-kart, really quick responsive car that took certain flair to drive. I did well but didn't take the top honors (one guy was faster). Still managed to hit 1.47’s on the old sears point which was more than fast enough for me.
Anyway, back to the story. I'm now fed up with Russell and leave. Go home that night and start drinking, trying to figure out my next move. “Should I move back to Hawaii or take my chances?” One of my fellow classmates was supposed to meet me that night to celebrate leaving Russell. Well he didn’t show but called me late that night. Told me there was a Porsche race this weekend and he was helping out The Racer's Group build up a car. He went on to tell me that they needed help for the weekend and that he spoke to the mechanics about me. I show up there in the morning with this big hangover and they put me to work. I look at these Porsche and had no idea what I was getting into. The motor is on the wrong side! How come it’s flat like that? We plugged away threw the week to get the cars ready. Comes time for the weekend races and I was surprised. This was a club event but had more money in the paddock than fort knocks. I didn’t know people had this kind of money. Started to realize that I was a smaller fish in the pond that I thought. King of Tantalus but a nobody in the real world. At the end of the weekend they offer me a full time position at $450 a week. I accepted because I had nothing to loose and wanted to learn more. At the time I started, the company was gearing up for Daytona. Hmm, I saw that on TV once. Mark was our crew chief and main fabricator. He is well known for his exhaust system developments. Gary was the second in command, and then there I was picking up the slack. Before you know it, they realized that I knew what I was doing and started to teach me the finer points to custom fabrication. Young and still eager to get my hands dirty, I would do anything they would put in front of me. Off to Daytona we went after many hard weeks of car building. I still didn't grasp the concept of where the money for this comes from. At a couple hundred thousand a car plus that in spares? Well I found out. Kevin, owner of the Racer's Group rents the cars out for the races in Sportscar and American Le Mans then uses them as write offs for the company. The company also develops their own product line of Porsche parts and builds custom racecars in their in house fabrication area. We get to Daytona and I start to learn the game. Kevin brings in the part time crew. Mainly all volunteer workers who just want to be part of the action. Now we have a team. The hardest part was since I was still the *Censored**Censored**Censored**Censored**Censored*
boy, I was the one who loaded the 40-foot transporter with the cars and equipment and was also the only one who knew where everything was. Spent the weekend making sure people had what they needed to keep the cars going and everything was in the right place at the right time. All in all things went well, the main car broke the transmission while the second car got hit during the race. In a thrash we got the cars back together and back out on track. The second car finished the race but in the middle of the field. The Racer's Group taught me the ins and outs of racing and brought me up to the next level.

So as the story goes, Alex sees, Alex must try. By this time I started to make a little money. Found an AE86 in the paper and knew that was the car I needed. Picked it up and immediately cut the springs. On my next trip back to Hawaii I brought back the suspension off my TE71 that was left behind. Its time to play again. NASA has track events where all you need is your street car and a helmet. I was pleasantly surprised at the difference. The AE86 handled much better than I ever imagined. Problem was it was still the slowest thing on track but that didn’t prevent me from getting around a few people. My roommate took me to our local mountain. Hmm, found my new spot to practice again. This mountain was longer than Tantalus and much bumpier. I had no idea there are so many deer in Northern California. I didn’t get much time to practice with the busy schedule but would go whenever I have a chance. Well I ended up finishing the season with the Racer's Group and quitting at the end of the last race, which was Laguna Seca. One of the part time crew members, Robby offered me a job at his shop not far away in San Rafael, S-Car-Go Racing which was also a Porsche fabrication place but mainly deals with custom fabrication for the club racers along with general Porsche service work._As a coincidence, Mark got tired of the Racer’s Group some time later and moved over to S-Car-Go. Mark has been a key part of my development in teaching me all he knows about fabrication. Robby and the guys are an interesting bunch that can have a good time no matter how bad things are going. After about a year or so there I just couldn’t stand it any longer. All these club events and race weekends and I had nothing to drive. So as the story goes, I buy a 911 because I need something to drive too. It’s a good little car and perfect for its class. FOERST time out to Laguna Seca, Robby sponsors me to run with PCA by paying for my entrance fee. By now they all know my driving style as I get a few warnings from the instructors not to “drift” as it will look bad since this is my rookie run with PCA. “Keep it on the track and keep it strait!” The S-Car-Go crew all laugh while I get scoldings. So I keep my cool and go have some fun. Second day there and I’m running faster times than anyone in my class. I go by start finish and see all the guys on the wall cheering me on as I beat Robby’s fastest lap time. It comes time for the time trial and since im a rookie, my run comes at the end of the day. The guys of S-Car-Go are nice enough to stick around to watch me go for it. I get ready to run, jump in the car, turn the key and hear my starter spinning with nothing but air behind it. Jump out a take a look only to find the starter hanging over the axle. In a furry we tie the starter to the trans up out of the way and they push start me up to the line. I’m off and running. You have a warm up lap and 2 timed laps, so FOERST lap I push the car and get it a little sideways to get some heat in the tires. FOERST timed lap, “I’m doing ok but not going to get it on this one” Hot lap hits 1.48.35. Second timed lap and I mess up going into turn 2. Went in a bit to hot and got the car sideways but managed to stay on the gas. Thought I threw my chance away. Turn 3 and 4 goes perfect. “Wow, I may be back in this one”. Push threw 5 to get a good run up the hill. Now I’m moving. Hit the carousel as fast as I could and ended up dropping the outside wheels, which really scared me since that was the FOERST time I dropped wheels there all weekend. Get threw 9 and 10 without a hitch. Turn 11 and I drop a wheel and managed to miss third gear as I hit the assfault. Now I though I messed it all up. My hot lap says 1.47.14 but I know the time is going to be less than that since I missed the shift and the hot lap was on the exit of 11 but the timer was at start finish. Only shift I missed all weekend and it had to be the one that counted. The record was set by the previous owner of the car at 1.48.38 a few years before and another customer had beaten it earlier that day at 1.48.24. I’m sweating as I come in waiting for someone to tell me my time. Mark runs up to the car “You did it, 1.47.28” and I take my FOERST breath with a sigh of relief. I needed that win. That one was important to me. Not only to boost my confidence in my driving ability but to justify blowing my life savings on a car. I admit to getting nervous before I jump in that car, knowing that one mistake and I could loose it all. Buying that car was hard for me but was something I had to do. Prove to myself again that I may have what it takes.

Well back to the story, I still had my good old AE86. The car that would never die. Or so I thought. About the time I started at s-car-go, I met Hiro. One of the San Francisco AE86 owners. I always heard that there was a big following for the AE86’s in SF but never actually met anyone. That weekend, I met up with Hiro in the city to meet some of these guys. Get to Ryan’s house and there where corolla’s lined up the street. I was impressed to see all the cars in good shape and well taken care of. A few hours later and we where talking about places to drive. “Sure” I say, “I know a good place to practice” They think I’m full of it so only Hiro follows me up to the mountain. Think they where just stunned to see a white guy with an AE86. So I take Hiro up to the mountain and he jumps in for a ride. Running there is just like running on a tarmac rally you would see in WRC. That is the only way I can explain it. A lot of twists and turns with many good drift corners. Hiro was impressed and the next week Hiro and Ryan show up. The next week comes and more people show up. Before I know it, the corolla community is talking about this white guy with an AE86 that can drift and everyone wants to see this. Week after week and there are more people showing up, all wanting a ride. It reminded me of the old days on Tantalus and soon I was driving everyone else’s car so I wouldn’t waste my tires. One night we are there talking story about some drift contest we saw in a magazine. Alain goes on to tell me that there is a drift event that weekend. “What, you guys didn’t tell me this before I ruined my tires! Where can I find out about this event?” They go on to tell me about this web site, Club4ag.com and these guys called Speedtrial. So I go home that night and look it up. There it was, a real drift event at Buttonwillow on Sunday and me without tires. I call Hiro to see if he wants to go. “Yes” he says with his Japanese accent. “I need tires”, “I have 2 tires” “Can I barrow?” “Yes” “I’ll pick you up at 3, be up” “ok Alrex”. Its 3 in the morning and it takes 5 or more calls to get him out of bed. Hiro comes outside with 2 brand new tires mounted on some Supra’s. Get to the track 4 hours later and there was a group of hachi’s. So I sign up and pay the money. Find out that we have half the track to play on. Wow this is cool, never had the chance to drift a road coarse. We make friends with all the hachi drivers and hang out. Ended up killing Hiro’s brand new tires in about an hour of track time, blowing one right in the middle of a drift. All in all a great day of fun. Get back to the bay and tell everyone about the event. Now everyone wants to go. Next event a few people come along. Eventually we had a group of cars that would caravan from the bay area to the speedtrial events and more than that would show up on the mountain. Its time to start a crew. We are hanging out one night outside Krispy Cream trying to come up with a name for us. Out of nowhere Hiro says “Battle Swing”. Everyone looks at each other and laughs. The name was born. Time for stickers and t-shirts. Next event we all have a Battle Swing sticker on the back window of the cars. We become a team and take care of each other. Making sure every car makes it home. Many track events later and the drift community is still getting stronger. Now with Club4ag, Drift Session, Speedtrial, Battle Version, Hyperfest and other events to run.

Ok back to the story. It’s been some time now since I’ve driven something new, well I mean faster. The last one costed me my life savings and I start to realize after working in this industry that no matter how hard I work, I could only make enough money to go club racing. Club events are not enough for me, I must go further. I decide its time to take things to the next step and become a manufacture. Since the club name was Battle Swing, I decided that Battle Version would be suitable name. So I start off by getting a business license and making things to sell on club4ag. A few small things but it was enough to take a lot of my time. Well enough time that I had to quit S-Car-Go and take a chance. Get a loan and now I’m in dept. Met a guy named Paul Ko, an engineer who also has the same dream of running a manufacturing business and began working together to better both of our product lines. He specialized in Mazda parts while I specialized on Toyota. Now we work together and will become one company when the time comes. The products are getting better with more on the way. In the mean time we run in NASA with a PS1 FC3S to keep us going. All in all it’s been really hard up to this point but worth every minute. I learned you have to take chances in life to get where you want to be. Its never easy but without risks, there wouldn’t be rewards. I still dream of one day being a top driver and will push as hard as I can to make that a reality. Its time to roll the dice again to see what happens next.

This story has been cut short, a couple years short. This was a post put up on club4ag a while back and I will try to bring it closer to this date when there is time.




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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2004 1:09 am 
Ripe Meat
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 9:57 pm
Posts: 135
Location: 30 feet from my ae86.
Yeah. I know i'll never be a good drifter. All I can hope for is to have fun.
It's as depressing as watching formula 1 and knowing that those guys have been throwing around shifter karts since they were 10.



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