Published on July 27th, 2011 | by mrgrumpyninja4
The Niko Reid Interview, Straight outta South Auckland
Normally I wouldn’t run something that was written for someone else, but since Niko has a number of fans who don’t have ready access to a copy of the magazine, I decided to put this up. I mixed in a few photos of the new car, just because text on it’s own is boring.
Niko, Thanks for agreeing to have a chat with MGN for Juiced Magazine, for our readers who don’t know you, tell us, who is Niko Reid?
Bro, I’m just a Maori boy from the middle of Otara trying to make a name for myself as a Drifter.
I first tried drifting 18 months ago and I fell in love with it, so we ( me and Dad- Dave “Notalk” Reid ) bought the current S13 we call TANEFA and started to build it for drift competitions. Before that car, I had never driven a RWD car!
You seem to have such a natural aggressive style, have you done any other motor sport ?
I had only ever raced our Evo at Meremere at Nightspeed . Dad used to tell me “Go hard or Go Home”, so he was like my coach. Actually, I pretty much owe everything to Dad supporting me.
Tell me about your first season as a competitive drifter?
Scary! I was just foot flat and outta control with no real idea of what I was doing. At the first round I was staying in 2nd cause 3rd gear was just too fast, I spent the whole weekend in 2nd on the limiter and all I knew how to do was clutch kick. As more rounds went on I learnt basics like handbrake, weight shift, feint and I started to learn what car control was all about. In rookie, you can kind of drive the same in qualifying as in battles, but this coming year is going to be all new and I will need to drive smarter.
Who have you learnt the most from, any mentors or people helping you out? Is it a bit of a case of learning what setups work for your style relative to your car?
B-rad Smith for sure and Big Gaza T (Gary Te Nana), B-rad took me under his wing when I first started out, and made me stay on cone & circle work when all I wanted to do was go thrash the car. He wanted to teach me car control and also to do basics like check the clutch and handbrake before each and every session.
Gaza T was a big influence in getting me into drifting, and because he’s also still learning, we have been able to learn as he learns.
Talk me through the week of an event, who does what, any special prep work?
Our crew chief Shane-o (cousin/brother) gets the car a week out from the event, does a full spanner and fluid check and replaces anything that might let us down. Dad (Team Manager) makes sure we have all our rims and tires sorted, fuel, oils, and any spares we might need. Mum and my sisters make sure the crew has all the food and drink we need to keep us going. I do the least, and I always play games the night before to try and get me in the mood.
What have you found the hardest about learning to be a competitive drifter as opposed to just doing skids?
It’s the pressure, I feel the crowd watching me, and I know I’m going to come around and into a section and there will be 1000’s of eyes watching me. When I’m just skiding it’s just fun and I don’t have to worry about clipping points and being perfect.
What are you expecting to be your biggest challenges as you step up from the current rookie program to the “pro” level?
Trying to be on the pace from the start, the speeds are 20-30kmh faster and the cars are a higher level. I need to qualify well at every round, or I run the chance of facing a champion first round and going home early. Anything can happen, and I am looking forward to it, can’t wait. Just gotta work on the consistency that the top guys have.
Where do you think the future of drifting lies?
Dad is going to give up Drag racing and we are going to focus on drifting as our sport. It’s very expensive at the moment, so we need to find better/cheaper ways of getting rookies in and competing. My dream is to be a professional drifter, and it’s just whatever it takes to get there.
As a rookie this year, how did you feel you compared to say the guys qualifying 10-16 in the pro competition? Are some guys jumping up to early?
We made a decision to stay in Rookie this year, and wanted to earn our way up. Guys are probably jumping in to early and trying to battle with guys with years of experience and better set up cars.
It was good for us, as we learned how to slow down and control the car, and got more battle time in which will help me going forward.
What’s the point in doing a single battle and being 50 meters back from #1 qualifier and then going home? I’d rather do 4 battles in a day and learn something each time. I’d rather wait to drive with the better guys armed with better skills, than just be there to make up numbers.
Bigger rush……180kmh entry at Puke or 260kmh 8 sec quarter mile?
What’s next for Niko Reid Drift.
I want to make myself stand out, my goal is realistic and I want top 16s this year, and maybe the odd top 8. I want to establish Niko Reid drift as a brand, and get some sponsors on board to help me chase my dream of being a professional drifter, and I just want to have fun doing it.
Me and the Family love doing what we do.
Special Thanks to
Dad, Shane-o, Punji, Jason, Gee, Alu, Big Gaz, Ryan @ luxury sport, The Family, and of course, Mad Rad B-rad Smith, the man in our eyes who got us to where we are.