This year so far has been a crap one for me on the cars front. The racecar’s only just come back from the panelbeater after I had a 100mph tankslapper in October. I’ve been too busy at work to get the Golf fixed up to sell like I planned. And for one reason or another I’ve missed every car-culture event on the summer calendar so far. But the one event I damn well wasn’t missing is Leadfoot.

A hillclimb up the driveway of 90s Pikes Peak champion Rod Millen’s farm, it’s billed as as a Southern take on the Goodwood Festival, but takes itself a lot less seriously. It’s a whole pile of fun, up close with some amazing cars and a surprisingly small crowd.

I’ve posted about Leadfoot previously, so I won’t cover the background again, and I won’t even go too far on posting new photos of the usual suspects. This year I didn’t get a day to myself to go camera crazy, so the photos are just what I could snap, but whatever, cool cars are cool cars.

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This year, Saturday started off wet. Really wet. Which kept the pits busy, and the drivers uncomfortable...

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Of course the upside of a wet track is serious slidey action, of both understeer...

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...and oversteer varieties.

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Eventually it dried out a bit and things straightened up, and sped up.

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Among the serious contenders this year were Rod’s son Rhys Millen in his Global Rallycross Hyundai:

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WRC driver Alastair McRae in an ex Possum Bourne Impreza:

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..and our host, and every-time-so-far-winner, Rod Millen, a man with a massive home court advantage, a 900hp 4WD Pikes Peak Celica wrapped around him, and not a little competitive spirit:

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Normally, I’d have expected 3 times NZ rally champion Joe McAndrew to be tussling for the top of the leaderboard too, but this year he has a new toy, a Group B Quattro S1, and he was struggling with it: untidy and surprisingly slow. Gravel trim won’t have helped, but still, it’s a freakin’ GROUP B car - SLOW???

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Of course a dry track doesn’t stop some people getting loose...

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The Millens have figured out in the last couple of events that drifters are crowd pleasers, so now we get half a dozen of them.Last year’s best, Mad Mike Whiddett’s quad rotor RX7, broke the diff this year, but this vid from last year’s well worth a listen.

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More than most events, the carpark at Leadfoot’s well worth a cruise. There’s a special zone for interesting cars, which keeps all the good stuff concentrated. Plus it’s always a giggle to see what the parking marshalls consider “interesting”. For reference, this year we turned up in a spit-new V8 Commodore, which didn’t qualify. The owner was disappointed - 24 hours with his new toy and he’s already being told he’s not one of the cool kids.

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As usual, the competitors were a mix of the (locally) famous, the interesting, and the odd: this is an invite only event, and the criteria seem to be either (a) be a racing associate of the Millens, (b) have a historied or interesting car, or (c) have something grossly inappropriate and be prepared to give it a whirl up the hill.

Here’s Indycar’s Scott Dixon and his mum, driving a 1906 Darracq, the first car to ever take a chequered flag:

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...this Railton was the first to lap Brooklands at 100mph.

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And while as inappropriate cars go, a Superstock dirt-track oval sprint car isn’t a patch on the top fuel dragster that tried to get up the hill a few years ago, it still provided lots of sideways laughs while achieving a ludicrously bad time: turns out they turn right about as well as you’d expect.

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Tanner Foust’s nitro boosted LS7 powered RWD Formula Drift “Passat” fixes everything that’s wrong with VW’s Camry - and when he’s not going sideways in it does a pretty credible impression of a grip racer....

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While this Ford V8-powered Citroen is so wrong in every way, I can’t even.

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Still, dat ass! You can bastardise Tractions as much as you like and the beauty still shows through...

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OK, dem asses.

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And speaking of pretty cars, I can’t resist subjecting you again to Rob McNair’s Tiger Moth powered Riley special, which is the most gorgeous (and best executed) thing I’ve ever seen.

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Though this Mclaren M10B runs it pretty damn close. The early wing-era open wheelers were just so elegantly brutal....

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And to close, here’s some detail shots I liked.

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By the way, Rod didn’t win this year, for the first time ever. He fluffed a gearshift in the top-ten shootout run, leaving victory to Rhys, with McRae second. No doubt he’ll be back next year, and this time he’ll really be mad...