Classics fight for top spot at Leadfoot Festival

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Stunning competition machines and rare classics entertained crowds at the Leadfoot Festival in New Zealand from 22-24 March.

Held on the grounds of Pikes Peak winner Rod Millen’s estate on the Coromandel Peninsula, cars covering everything from a 1964 Austin A40 Farina to a 1973 McLaren M23-01 and a 1969 Mini Cooper ‘S’ tackled the 1.6km Hillclimb.

Fastest classic at the event was Clark Proctor’s ferocious 1973 F5000 March 73A.

It easily qualified for the Top Ten Shootout and, with a time of 51.60 secs, was only narrowly behind the 50.92 secs time posted by Millen’s 1994 Pikes Peak-prepared Celica.

Fastest time of the day for the pre-1975 class was posted by Neil Tolich’s 1970 Ford Perana V8 (a South African Ford Capri), which completed the course in 55.69 secs.

Ford proved the dominant force in the category, with second and third-placed times going to Paul McCarthy’s Escort RS 1600 (55.95 secs) and Roger Townshend’s 1972 Cologne Capri (56.60 secs).

The event attracted numerous European sports cars including an Aston Martin Vantage Zagato, Ferrari F40 and Maserati Trofeo, while the oldest car at the event was Anne Thomas’s 1906 Darracq. The latter was built to compete in the first Grand Prix at Le Mans and featured a 14-litre engine.

Non-competitive displays included a tribute to the Bonneville Salt Flats and Chevrolet’s Corvette, meanwhile ZZ TOP frontman Billy Gibbons brought an air of celebrity and with it his 1958 Ford Thunderbird, ‘Mexican Blackbird’

Find out more on the event’s website.

Words and pictures: Mark Holman

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