Amid a drama-filled top-10 shootout at last weekend’s Leadfoot Festival, Hayden Paddon pulled off a runner-up result in his ‘‘pocket rocket’’ Semog Crosskart.
The 1.6km sprint up ex-pat Rod Millen’s driveway in Hahei, Coromandel, saw the host leave the tarmac in his Toyota Celica. After Millen emerged from the car unhurt, the shootout continued with Australia-based Scottish rally star Alister McRae posting a time of 48.31sec.
Although Rotorua's Sloan Cox had the glory of setting a new record in the international hillclimb of 47.86sec, earlier in the two-day event he also went off the road in the run that counted.
The two crashes gifted McRae his fourth consecutive victory in the late Possum Bourne’s Vantage WRC Subaru and Paddon with second place, having clocked 49.8sec.
‘‘What a result for the 750cc machine. We took on some famous drivers and cars today. All great build-up for the Ben Nevis Station Golden 1200 Hillclimb,’’ Paddon said of the inaugural event he is running in Central Otago next month.
Built in Portugal and fine-tuned and developed at his Highlands Motorsport Park base, Paddon’s Crosskart weighs just 300kg and puts out 160bhp at 14,000rpm from its GSX-R 750 motorbike engine.
While it has ‘‘all the bells and whistles of a traditional car, such as hydraulic brakes, a handbrake, adjustable suspension, reverse and competition components’’ that make it enjoyable to drive, the Crosskart is also very low maintenance, Paddon said.
Fearless BRM1000 Superquad wrangler Ian Ffitch, of Amberley, said he ‘‘didn’t want to get on the podium this way’’ (following the two crashes), but earned a well-deserved podium spot with a time of 50.96sec.
- Catherine Pattison
Photo: Geoff Ridder