Last year’s Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship Pro-Sport Series runner-up Cody Pullen-Burry is keen to put his stake in the ground as a future champion.
Pullen-Burry missed out on the 2016–’17 Pro-Sport title after going down to Bruce Tannock during the last round at South Auckland’s Pukekohe Park. Now the young gun is stepping up to the Pro competition with Hamilton based outfit Vehicles Import Direct.
The Aucklander has 2018 in his sights as a year to learn the top level of drifting competition and see where he fits in against the elite.
“We want to use this season to gauge where we are at against all the big boys and see if we can keep up,” he said.
“I want to knock out some of the top dogs. We’ll try, that’s the goal.”
Pullen-Burry isn’t lamenting on his title loss last year. He said he learned experience counts for a lot when you’re up against one of New Zealand’s drifting veterans.
However, knowing what he’s faced in Pro-Sport last year against one of the best in Pro competition, he said there’s little pressure to perform.
“Bruce Tannock had a lot more knowledge than I did. There were just little things that made a big difference, and that’s why he won those battles every time. I just need to keep my cool and not throw away battles.”
“I’m going out there with no pressure. It’ll be good, there really is no pressure on me to win. It’s on them, because if they lose it might be a big deal but for me being my first year it’s not a big deal.”
During the off-season break Pullen-Burry and his team have worked hard to give the 2JZ-powered Nissan Silvia S15 a new look. Only a few minor tweaks have been made to the engine, but cosmetically the car has a whole new look.
The youngster has taken a lot of inspiration from Japanese drifting and New Zealand’s own international drifting icon ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett.
“I look up to ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, but it’s a shame he doesn’t really compete over here anymore. I like his style and that Japanese style. I like those bigger entries, big angle and big smoke.
“I’d love to win it and then go overseas if we can. I’d love to go to Japan. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, that’s a dream of mine. I try to watch those guys over in Japan and imitate them, but we’ll get there hopefully.
Pullen-Burry will be backed up by Joel Patterson in the Vehicle Imports Direct Drift Team. Patterson goes into his fourth season starting at Max Motors Wellington Family Speedway in Upper Hutt, there he’ll be hoping to be up the front.
“I just want to be the best driver and put on the best show. Big angle, big speed, and chasing hard. I love putting it on the door of the lead car.
“I definitely want to do well, but I’ll be happy if the car plays ball. That was our issue last season, even though it was my first season in pro, we had a lot of small teething issues with the car.”
Patterson wasn’t able to get the results he wanted last year. Mechanical issues plagued his season, but with a freshen up of his car during the off-season he thinks the car will be good to go.
There was a time where Patterson couldn’t compete due to mounting financial woes, but with the support of Vehicle Imports Direct owners Steve and Tanya Milo, he’s been able to get back onto the grid.
“It’s a dream come true really. I was a privateer in Pro-Sport and worked up a massive debt, which meant I had to take a year off. It’s been awesome. I wouldn’t be drifting without them.”
Round one of the Link ECU D1NZ National Drifting Championship takes place at Max Motors Wellington Family Speedway in Upper Hutt over January 12-13.