Set in the idyllic countryside of Hahei is Rod Millen’s farm — the aptly named Leadfoot Ranch. Every two years, Rod opens it up for the Leadfoot Festival. This is the North Island’s version of Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and action takes place up the ranch’s 1.6km tarmac driveway, starting from the gate, where it is relatively flat farmland, making its winding way up into the pine trees through a series of tight hairpins.
Several different classes of cars were invited to attend by Rod Millen — including rallying, open-wheelers, 4x4s, sports cars, karts, motorcycles, and what appeared to be a crowd-favourite; drift cars. In attendance were drivers such as Richard Mason, ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett (a renowned drifter), Anne Thomson in her 1906 Darracq, and, of course, Rod Millen himself. Rod, in fact, raced three of his cars over the weekend — a Mazda RX-3, the Toyota Celica, which he raced at Pikes Peak, and the Toyota Tundra, which his MillenWorks Racing was contracted to build for the Championship Off-Road Racing series.
The Leadfoot Festival is held over three days, with the Friday being a non-competitive day, allowing the entrants to set up their cars and familiarize themselves with the course. This day of full-on practice made for a hairy moment for many, and lots of hay-bale destruction.
We’ve put together a gallery of images, shot by Steve Ritchie Photography, to take us back to the latest Leadfoot Festival held over February 6–8, 2015. Check it out below: