The Leadfoot Festival held at the stunning property of Rod and Shelly Millen at Hahei in the Coromandel has made its mark in the domestic motorsport calendar in a very short space of time. Run over the Waitangi weekend, the event was attended by a wide range of drivers and machinery personally invited to partake in the hill-climb by the Millen’s. Star performers at the event were undoubtedly a group of top Kiwi drifters who took advantage of a course ideally suited to their hardware.
The event is aptly named a festival as it is more than a hill-climb. The stunning location affords spectators not just a great view of competitors but also a beautiful vista to take in. A wide variety of food stalls, static displays, staff and spectators in period costume, buildings and an accessible pit area certainly completes this event.
Competitors have a number of practice then timed runs up the Millen’s driveway for a couple of kms and it is not straight forward. The ‘drive’ undulates, twists and turns with off cambered corners and many trees ready for the unsuspecting driver. Halfway through there is a step climb with several switchback hairpins which caught many drivers out in the wrong gear. This is no course for horsepower, rather more for those that were prepared to take a calculated risk. This was evident when it came to the top ten shootout and drivers were really on the ragged edge.
However, while motorsport fans may have appreciated the history behind many of the racecars and drivers, it was the dazzling display of power, car control, over-steer and burning rubber that was the highlight of the weekend. Arguably from a spectacle, the course is more suited to drifting than hill-climbing. Such was the display that it alone would be worth returning for in 2017.