What a great event this is, we can see from the entry list that there will be 2 Minis competing this year so it would be rude not to be there to support them in 2019 - Mini's 60th Birthday.
Club Captain Steve & I were committed to go - any other Mini club members interested ? We meet at Clevedon for lunch before heading off on the Miranda coast road. The trip to Leadfoot is part of the enjoyment of the weekend and I enjoyed following Steve & his dad in the white 911 on the nice flowing roads to Miranda and then over the Kopu Hikuai to Tairua where we were staying for the night. Steve's wife Rachael and the rest of the family followed at a more leisurely pace. My brother Ralph joined us at Tairua in his Rover Cooper S with his son Kelvin & Son in Law Snowy following in Snowy's Series 1 RX7. Saturday morning we meet Steve and headed off in convoy over the Tairua hill to Whenuakite which was the meeting place noted on the club website. We were meet there by new MCCoA member Ben Yordon and his wife & 2 sons in their 1975 Mini 1000 and then headed to Rod Millen's Leadfoot Ranch at Hahei where the hill climb runs up the drive to his house overlooking the Pacific. The first runs of the day were already underway when we arrived and parked in the "Classic & Cool Cars Car Park".
There was an amazing variety of cars competing - some unique & expensive cars, too many to describe, some ultra competitive, some there for the joy of taking part. And then there were the drifters.
Total entry was 112 cars/bikes/sidecars/quads.
Stand out car for me was the Mk11 BDA Masport Escort rally car - a genuine Ford Works Escort as driven by Ari Vatanen & Hannu Mikkola & Bjorn Waldegard amongst others. Was the JD number plate for Jim Donald ? They say it is the most original Works Escort in the world and it had just undergone a full restoration. Well known racer Andy Booth was driving the Escort with the owner in the passenger seat, the sound of the BDA in the forest at the top of the hill brought back great memories of following the international rallies in the 70's & 80's.
The Orange Mini Cooper S also sounded great going up the hill, not quite enough HP to match the Escort. We had meet the owner/driver Bevan Wright at the Wellington Mini Nationals last year and stopped into the pits to say hi during the day. He was hoping to crack a 60sec run (his best was 60.99sec) We had previously meet Bevan at the Nelson Nationals where he had broken the Coopers crankshaft on the hillclimb there - so he would have been very happy to complete Leadfoot in one piece before heading off home to the Wairarapa.
The other Mini competing was a Minibusa driven by Steve Midgley. This Mini has a Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 motorcycle engine in the boot and goes like the clappers, doesn't sound much like a Mini as screams up the hill. His best time was 55.55sec.
After 2 days of competition the top 10 shoot out was won by Alister McCrae (again) in the ex Possumm WRC WRX (47.99sec) from Sloan Cox in his Evo 8 hillclimb special (48.67sec). Rod Millen's best time was 48.91 sec so he still has great speed (& knows every inch of his driveway).
And then there were the drifters - it may not be my thing but these guys put on a great show although we couldn't see much because of the tyre smoke. They were all on the road at the same time for their last run and that was impressive, how the guys following could see where they were going is anyones guess.
A great weekend, well worth attending for the variety of cars taking part, being able to get right into the pits to look at the cars - one last favourite, a tiny sports car, think miniature Canam car with a 1.5lt V4 2 stroke Johnson outboard motor in the rear with 4 megaphone exhausts sticking way out the back - who knows why but it was extraordinary and lime green !!
And this is my story