A scorcher in the Ha­hei hills

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide News - Words and Pho­tos: Mar­cus Gib­son

Bumper crowds packed onto the hill­side of Rod and Shelly Millen’s beau­ti­ful Ha­hei es­tate over Wai­tangi week­end for the largest Lead­foot Fes­ti­val to date. The some­what eclec­tic mix of ma­chin­ery strut­ting its stuff up the hill ranged from the beau­ti­fully re­stored ex–ann Thomp­son 1906 Dar­racq pi­loted by four-time Indycar cham­pion Scott Dixon through to mod­ern-day ma­chin­ery im­ported es­pe­cially for the event, in­clud­ing the Global Ral­ly­cross Hyundai of Rod’s son Rhys. Early on Satur­day, the wet weather made for tricky con­di­tions as many had their first ex­pe­ri­ence run­ning up the drive. Targa vet­eran Leigh Hop­per found out the hard way that this is no or­di­nary drive­way when he pushed his Evo III Lancer be­yond its lim­its and squared off with a tree through the faster sec­tion one. Thank­fully, both driver and ma­chine would bat­tle on. This was the only real mishap on the Satur­day, and Sun­day proved a stun­ner weather-wise, which meant driv­ers could push and the times could tum­ble.

In the Pre 1960 class, it was the Tiger Moth–pow­ered 1931 Ri­ley 9 Spe­cial of Robert Mcnair that earned top hon­ours in the Pre 1960 top-10 shoot-out with a time of 1min 4.1s. Mcnair nar­rowly beat the V8-pow­ered Citroën Light 15 of Peter Jor­dan, by only a few splits. Third place went to Steve Alder­s­ley, with his su­per­charged Austin 7 Spe­cial.

The hotly con­tested Pre ’75 class went down to the wire, thanks to a hand­ful of very fast ma­chines. Rod Millen’s own 13B PP RX-3 rally car was pushed hard to third place in the shoot-out, nar­rowly be­ing beaten by Paul Mccarthy in his ex-cover-car Ford Es­cort. Rick Bone man­aged to just sneak in with the win fol­low­ing a fault­less drive to a 54.18s in his Dat­sun 1200 cir­cuit car.

The big­gest show­down of the week­end was be­tween the over­all top 10, fea­tur­ing two Mil­lens and a Mcrae, af­ter Alis­ter Mcrae man­aged to match Rod Millen’s own per­sonal best early on Sun­day, set­ting the up the first coin toss to de­cide run­ning or­der. The Scots­man lost the toss and was forced to run ahead of Millen. How­ever, it was the younger Millen, Rhys, in his 485kw Global Ral­ly­cross Hyundai, who set the pace, run­ning slightly quicker than Alis­ter with a 49.31s. Rod Millen lined up in the Celica for the last run of the day, hop­ing to bet­ter his son, but it wasn’t to be af­ter a miss shift in sec­tor one cost him a few sec­onds and knocked the Celica into fourth over­all. Rhys was in first, Mcrae se­cond, and young ris­ing star Sloan Cox was third.

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