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Motorcycle vs. Car Drift Battle 3: Behind the Scenes

The Driftpocalypse has arrived! 30 million+ viral video views leads to Team Empire’s third installment and we have the inside scoop.

Sean Russell
Jul 2, 2013
Photographer: David Avila

Smoking tires. Wide open throttle. Highly modified vehicles professionally driven at the limit. Three items gearheads, whether they drive cars, ride bikes or do both, appreciate universally. Combine the three, inject some jokes, find asphalt nirvana and document the madness with an army of top-tier cameras and remote controlled rigs and you have the makings for a seriously viral video. Team Empire Freestyle riders Nick Apex and Ernie Vigil in conjunction with Icon Motosports, Triumph and Monster Energy have found repeated success in the form of 30+ million YouTube views with this formula through the Motorcycle vs. Car Drift Battle videos. Recently, Drift 3: The Driftpocalypse released.

Dan Brockett 1991 Nissan 240SX drift Photo 41/52   |   Dan Brockett 1991 Nissan 240SX Drift

While motorcycle-based minds put this series together, all involved get loose on four wheels. Universally appealing to gearheads through viral video campaigns means serving horsepower in many forms. And in the case of Motorcycle vs. Car Drift Battle 3, turbo bikes, drift cars, straight-line beasts, an all-terrain monster and remote controlled ‘copters all came together. So we hit up those involved with Team Empire Freestyle’s Drift 3: The Driftpocalypse to find out the details, interview the key players and show you some behind the scenes photo porn. Do you think this vid has what it takes to virally scorch across the web like the last two? Why or why not? Leave us your comments.

Driver/Rider Interviews

Dan Brockett race face Photo 2/52   |   Dan Brockett Race Face

Name: Dan Brockett

Film Role: Main Drifter

Vehicle: 1993 Nissan 240SX personal drift car


Tagline: “If drink interferes with business, cut out business.”

Give some background to what you were driving in the vid?

“I ended up driving my personal 1991 Nissan 240SX coupe for the whole shoot. Motiva Performance tuned it to make around 575hp on an RB25det, Garrett GTX30R twin scroll setup and a bunch of other custom fab. done by ARD and Car Crafters. Originally, it was supposed to be in just the Albuquerque, NM downtown scene, but circumstances led to me having to use her for the whole ride. The car (other than rod knocking at the end) was flawless. The S13 is always a great drift platform, and this one is well set up to do so. The only issue I saw with using the 240SX was its lack of sex appeal. People want to see sexy, and my car is far from that. I mean, I plasti-dipped it with spray cans in my driveway.”

How’d you get involved with these vids?

“I got involved with the series through Ernie Vigil (another Abq. local), who invited me out to the track to watch Jim Guthrie and Nick film the first one. I was actually the flag girl at the end of the video with the rad long hair. While I didn't get a chance to drive the RX-7 in number one, I got the chance to drive in the second video after Jim crashed hard at a past Formula D Irwindale event and broke his neck. He had the Mustang painted and asked me if I could do the video instead of him. I accepted and Officer Dan was born.”

Sideways Nissan s13 Photo 3/52   |   Sideways Nissan S13

Coolest driving moment while filming?

“For me, it was getting to mob a big chunk of downtown Albuquerque from midnight to 6am on a Friday and Saturday night, legally. Knocking the box (34 second mark) out of Nick Apex’s (stunt rider) hands was super fun, and we actually pulled it off first try. The parking garage scene was probably my favorite as it had a jump and we just did hot laps around it. My car was open down pipe and on anti lag, so to say it was loud was an understatement. I believe we racked up some 700+ noise complaints over the two nights of shooting. Boss mode!”

Buckshot Racing X2R jump Photo 4/52   |   Buckshot Racing X2R jump

Hairiest car vs. bike moments?

“In the chase scene, when I spun the gray 240SX out in front of everyone for sure. The premise was Nick cut me off and I spun out, so I did so, and Buck (Buckshot Racing X2R truck driver) nearly ran my car over. He was so close to my bumper that when he came back over, my paint had rubbed off onto his sidewall. Talk about awesome. Watching him jump over the boys was pretty rad too.”

Describe the call-out for tuners/drifters out in NM for the shoot?

“We had some other pro drivers lined up to help, but the filming took place during the week of Formula D round one, so I put the feelers out there to get some people close to New Mexico to come on down. We ended up getting Travis Avery (LS1 powered FC RX7) and Kasey King (2JZ powered SC300) from Colorado, and Andy Barrow (LS1 powered FD RX7) and Aoki Chan (my daily SR20 powered 240SX) from Albuquerque to help out with the drifting downtown. There was also Trent Durham in his 1,000hp plus Vette doing a burnout. I'm pretty sure they all had a blast filming. I think between those cars and the bikes we were over 3,000 total horsepower.”

Drift 3 lineup Photo 5/52   |   Drift 3 Lineup

Any ‘after the cameras stopped rolling’ moments like when you rolled your 240SX with Ernie in Drift 2?

“Thank goodness not this time. That was one hell of an expensive "let's go one more time" maneuver I pulled last time. There were tons of other off screen antics that happened including my haircut, and a whole Cribs type scene we shot. Maybe those scenes will see the light of day, maybe they won't. All I know is working with everyone on the crew is always a blast and I can't wait to do it again.”

Drift 3 night shot Photo 6/52   |   Drift 3 Night Shot

Who is more insane: those who drift bikes or those who shred four wheels of rubber?

“I have to give it to Nick and Ernie on this one. I can make a mistake (see end of Drift 2) and walk away because of my cage. These guys have to be beyond perfect to make this magic happen. One tiny slip up and broken bones, or worse. I remember Ernie asking me to ride his bike during the shooting of Drift 2, and I responded with, "Do you want to have a bike to finish the video with?" Much respect to those that drift on bikes, that shit is crazy.”

Anything else you want to add?

“If you go to a Formula Drift event this season, come see me and get a high five or two. I have been recruited as Danny George's spotter for the season, so I've been tagging along with them on some grand adventures. Other than that I started a clothing company called Whiskey Garage, buy some to help me fund my dream!”

Name: Nick “Apex” Brocha

Nick Apex 675R turbo drift Photo 7/52   |   Nick Apex 675R Turbo Drift

Film Role: Freestyle stunt rider

Vehicle: 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R turbo drift bike


Tagline: “Trust me, it’ll work….”

Any close calls during the car vs. bike action sequences?

“This round we pushed ourselves in the car/bike aspect more than the previous videos. Mostly because everything that could go wrong on the production did and we were scrambling to make up shots and content when cars were breaking and shots were falling apart. There were a couple of times Dan and I got real close, and by close I mean he hit my rear tire with his front bumper. There's still a lot to develop with the video concept as we never really have time to work on it. We always just build a bike head to a location, and shoot.”

Drift 3 hot pursuit Photo 8/52   |   Drift 3 Hot Pursuit

As a tuner enthusiast, how do the two disciplines compare in fun factor?

“Being a bike guy with a car problem (I have 4fi vehicles) I can say I like them both equally. It may be the same thing from a concept standpoint but the sensation and experience is totally different. The major difference in a car is you get to feel more like a spectator to what's happening. On the bike, you're so involved it's hard to sit back and enjoy it.”

What cars are in your garage?

“I currently have a 1993 RB25 Nissan 240SX that's always in some state of disrepair. Hopefully one day I'll actually be able to drive the damn thing like it's intended. It has a Garrett GT30R, Fortune Auto coil overs, ADV.1 wheels, Cipher seats, and looks like hell. My daily is a supercharged 2003 Mustang that puts down 525whp. And a 1993 Supra that I share with Ernie Vigil, and by share, I mean we both have spent a LOT of money on a Toyota paperweight. It's a 2JZ 6sp with a GTX35R, Fortune Auto coils, Cipher seats, ADV.1 Wheels, there's a pattern there!”

Drift 3 night drift scenes Photo 9/52   |   Drift 3 Night Drift Scenes

How did you round up the many cars seen in the vid?

“There was never an open call for cars in Albuquerque, but being a big little city it didn't take long to gather the local tuner crowd no matter how hard we tried to hide. Everyone came and checked out the cars and bikes slated for the video and the response was really good. After all, who can't love a turbo bike setup to get sideways?”

Why do car vs. bike vids work so well?

Motorcycle vs. Car Drift Battle 3 Photo 10/52   |   Motorcycle Vs. Car Drift Battle 3

“We set out to make entertaining videos that showcased having fun with the marriage of our two loves. There's been a lot of car V bike videos that didn't go anywhere, so don't think having cars helped the video to be honest. Or having bikes for that matter. I think the concept and execution of the projects have been what gained it's success. We're just all really happy we've found a medium to keep reinventing the wheel as we go. We've been changing the concept substantially with each round, same with the cars and bikes. Hopefully we can just find a way to keep going. The day before it launches is like every other day before, I get nervous it'll fail, cross my fingers, and hope for the best.”

Who is more insane: those who drift bikes or those who shred four wheels of rubber?

“I think the question of who's crazier in a car verse bike sideways argument is simple. If your wallet is a concern, a hugely expensive drift car is a terrifying thing to lose. However, if your life and/or health is a concern those on a bike have a lot more to lose. Everyone knows the risks of being on a motorcycle, take that idea then ask for trouble, that's moto drifting.”

Ernie Vigil on 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R Turbo Photo 11/52   |   Ernie Vigil on 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R Turbo

Name: Ernie “Edub” Vigil

Film Role: Freestyle stunt rider

Vehicle: 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R turbo drift bike


Tagline: “Tired bikes with ratty motors speak the language of my throttle hand.”

Explain what you were riding:

“I rode a 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R with a turbo kit running 5.5psi. It makes 204hp at 10psi. The unit was built at Fuel Forged in Las Vegas, NV by Chris Hukle. All tuning was done by Dynojet. The bike in unruly fast. Boost comes on at 5000rpm like a freight train!”

Any close calls during the car vs. bike action sequences?

“The action was intense. It’s on city roads so you never know what might be thrown your way. You can hit an oil spot at 80mph and be game over so it’s always tricky. And once that happens it usually creates a snowball effect of mayhem right behind you. Luckily, we didn't have any close calls with the bikes and the cars. One quick smash with car on car that was just a misunderstanding that ended in damn near two totaled cars but other than that it was just good old fashioned tearing ass!”

1000hp Corvette Photo 12/52   |   1000hp Corvette

How was the response of tuners in New Mexico?

“The response was amazing. We have a local shop here called Motiva that is big in the tuner scene here. They have a slew of 1000+ horsepower cars that we were able to use. The good thing about the video is it gave the scene here in NM some notoriety. NM has always been a really big Mustang city. We have a huge group of guys here doing 6's on radials, which is insane. This video was more towards the drift /tuner scene but it was still really big. I think once it releases the scene will grow even bigger. It’s amazing what a little video can do for an entire city. I’m just happy I was able to help build the scene here in my city. Always been a real big dream of mine to help anyway I could.”

Drift 3 street scene Photo 13/52   |   Drift 3 Street Scene

As a tuner enthusiast, how do the two disciplines compare in fun factor?

“I’m going to have to say they're both equally good times. I’ve been in plenty of drift cars and I’m gonna have to say the size of the smile on my face is about the same. Cars are a little more expensive but the bikes will put you in the hospital quicker so it’s hard to say. As long as tires are roasting, the mph gauge is constantly increasing and your having a good time, at the end of the day that’s all that matters. "

What cars are in your garage?

“Right now about the only thing in my garage is a shit ton of bikes. Like 15 or so. I do have a sweet Ford E150 van though lol. I do plan on getting back into cars. I’ve had everything from a 1972 Chevy Nova to a Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4. I think my next purchase will be like a 2006 Z06 though. I want something that you can romp on constantly and still gets good gas mileage. I’d say it’s about the most affordable purpose-built race car you can buy.”

Drift 3 night drifting Photo 14/52   |   Drift 3 Night Drifting

Who is more insane: those who drift bikes or those who shred four wheels of rubber?

“That one is easy. Bikes. We don't have any fancy roll cages or really any means of protection. Something goes wrong and be prepared for the ride of your life. Full cartwheel end over end until you either run out of speed or smash into something. Sure, leathers help but at 120mph a high side can feel like the most intense thing in the world. I have nothing but respect for those who slide cars cause it is indeed a skill but when it comes to protection and just getting nutty I’d feel a hell of a lot safer with a chromoly cage and 5-point harness wrapped around me.”

Buckshot X2R and 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R turbo bikes Photo 36/52   |   Buckshot X2R And 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R Turbo Bikes

Who Made it Happen


Drift 3 burnout Photo 37/52   |   Drift 3 Burnout

Name: Ernie “E-Dub” Vigil

Ernie Vigil Photo 38/52   |   Ernie Vigil

Role: Rider, Producer, Mechanic, Creative Production

Vehicle: 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R (white/orange): custom turbo system built by Fuel Forged and Nick Apex, tuned by Dynojet, electronic PC5 and LCD, Garrett 2052 Turbo, external wastegate, water-cooled intercooler, custom blow off valve, 4” over swingarm by Myrtle West Cycle, Hotbodies race tail. painted by Outlaws Customs, paint design by Icon

Overview: “From the Birth of the series we’ve been really hands on in the development. For the third installment we completely took over the production and creative side. From there all we had to do was to was to get as shitty sideways as we could. I’m ready for Drift 4!”

Sponsors: Icon Motosports, Monster Energy, Triumph Motorcycles, Castrol, Avon Tires, HT Moto, Galfer, Empire, Outlawz Customs, Freestyle Ingenuity, PSR

Nick Apex on 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R Turbo Photo 39/52   |   Nick Apex On 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R Turbo

Name: Nick “Apex” Brocha

Nick Brocha Photo 40/52   |   Nick Brocha

Role: Rider, Producer, Writer, Mechanic, Fabricator, Runner, Financier, Slave to the life

Vehicle: 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R (gray/neon yellow): custom turbo system by Fuel Forged and Nick Apex, tuned by Dynojet, Electronic PC5 and LCD, Garrett 2052 turbo, external wastegate, water-cooled intercooler, custom blow off valve, Myrtle West Custom 4” over swingarm, Hotbodies race tail, paint by Outlaws Customs, paint design by Icon

Overview: “Drift 3 was a test of Murphy's Law and from the time the concept was created till the last day of shooting my role was to help keep the production moving. These projects consume our lives, love it.”

Sponsors: Monster Energy, Triumph Motorcycles, Icon Motosports, Castrol Oil, Avon Tires, HT Moto, Galfer, Dynojet, Garrett

Dan Brockett 1991 Nissan 240SX drift Photo 41/52   |   Dan Brockett 1991 Nissan 240SX Drift

Name: Dan Brockett

Dan Brockett Photo 42/52   |   Dan Brockett

Role: Drifter, driving coordinator for other drift cars

Vehicle: 1991 Nissan 240SX with an rb25det motor, rear mount radiator, fully gutted and caged for competition

Overview: Reprises his role as Officer Dan, this time with a better mustache and multiple cars at his disposal.

Sponsors: Whiskey Garage, Car Crafters, Advance Racing Design, Motive, Radium Engineering, Performance Fuel Injections, Cipher Auto,, Lucas Oil, Racefab

Motorcycle vs. Car Drift Battle Buckshot X2R Photo 43/52   |   Motorcycle Vs. Car Drift Battle Buckshot X2R

Name: Andrew Buck

Role: Stunt driver, Actor

Andrew Buck Photo 44/52   |   Andrew Buck

Vehicle: Buckshot X2R by Buckshot Racing

Overview: Officer Buck is the newest challenge for the bike drifters. With a 900hp vehicle that can go anywhere it wants and an officer with an attitude to match the bike drifters may have a difficult time getting away this go around.

“Great experience good location and producer. Had a lot of fun driving downtown with the streets closed”

Sponsors: Monster Energy, Buckshot Racing and Icon Motosports

Align Trex 700E DFC RC Copter Photo 45/52   |   Align Trex 700E DFC RC Copter

Name: Alan Szabo Jr.

Alan Szabo Jr Photo 46/52   |   Alan Szabo Jr

Role: R.C. Helicopter Pilot

Vehicle: Align Trex-700E DFC RC helicopter

Overview: Role in the video was to be part of police chasing the bike around a rail yard. The area was too small for the truck to continue to chase them so a helicopter drone was deployed to continue the chase.

“My experience with the video was awesome. Was able to meet some of very professional people and know how to have a good time while working! I definitely hope to work them in the future on some other projects.” Sponsors: Align Helicopters, Spektrum RC, Thunderpower Batteries

Behind the Camera:

Drift 3 cast and crew Photo 47/52   |   Drift 3 Cast And Crew

Name: Sky Pinnick (Rage Films)

Sky Pinnick Photo 48/52   |   Sky Pinnick

Role: Director of Photography

Overview: Lead camera man for the shot. He also made a quick cameo in the video.

“Check out my cameo Homes.”

Motorcycle vs. Car Drift Battle shot list Photo 49/52   |   Motorcycle Vs. Car Drift Battle Shot List

Name: Doug Reynolds

Doug Reynolds Photo 50/52   |   Doug Reynolds

Role: Location Manager

Overview: Doug works with the city officials, property owners, and police officers throughout the project. He is responsible for getting permission and permits for the locations; along with coordinating with police to locking down the streets during filming.

“Albuquerque police were a pleasure to work with.”

Motorcycle vs. Car Drift Battle helicopter filming Photo 51/52   |   Motorcycle Vs. Car Drift Battle Helicopter Filming

Name: Matthew Brown Sanders (Phlewid Films)

Matthew Sanders Photo 52/52   |   Matthew Sanders

Role: Co-Producer, Director, Editor

Overview: Matt has worked with Nick and Ernie on the prior Motorcycle vs. Car Drift videos. He makes sure all the shots that are required to make the video have been shot then strings it all together in post production to make an amazing video.

“First never expect things to go as planned. The key is knowing when it’s time to scrap the old plan and move on. Secondly, huge thanks to everyone who spent time working with us on this project. It was a crazy week with a great bunch of people.”

By Sean Russell
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