Bay racers head to Leadfoot

Tauranga’s Cole Armstrong is just one of many BOP drivers competing at this year’s Leadfoot Festival.

The Leadfoot Festival is back for 2019, bringing with it a unique mix of classic cars, vintage motorcycles and motorsport legends.

Each year, New Zealand racing legend Rod Millen opens his private grounds at the Leadfoot Ranch to host more than 150 champion and competitive race participants.

The 150-acre ocean front and farm estate on the Coromandel Peninsula features a mile-long driveway that winds through the property, specifically designed to be the perfect hill climb.

Drivers race up the driveway over two days of action in the hope of becoming the new champion.

Tauranga’s Cole Armstrong will be competing in his 1999 Nissan Skyline R34. The 2017 and 2018 D1NZ drifting champion has been involved in competitive drifting for 10 years in New Zealand and across the globe.

The Nissan G35 Skyline has a five-speed sequential gearbox, Holset turbo, and over 800hp at the wheels.

Rotorua’s Sloan Cox will be competing in his 2004 Hillclimb Special Evo 8. Sloan started competing in the New Zealand Rally Championship at 15-years-old. At the 2015 Leadfoot Festival, which was also Sloan’s first event in this car, he finished fourth, and a year later finished on the podium in third.

Over the last two years, Sloan has finished second overall behind Alistair McRae and will be looking to knock Alistair off top spot.

The 2004 Hillclimb Special Evo 8 has a six-speed sequential Holinger gearbox, a Borg Warner EFR Turbo and weighs 1000kg.

Glen Raymond is a branch manager from Tauranga and will be competing in his 2011 Land Rover Tomcat. Over the years, Glen has competed in the 4WD Winch Challenge and various off-road racing events.

The 2011 Land Rover Tomcat was imported from the UK two years ago and it took 14 months to get it to comply and registered for the roads in New Zealand.

The Land Rover runs a 4.2 litre 320hp TVR V8 engine and boats a five-speed manual gearbox.

Tauranga’s Ben Thomasen is a sponsored driver for Polaris New Zealand and will be competing in his 2019 Polaris RZR Turbo S. Ben has competed in the ORANZ off-road racing championship for the last six years.

He won the championship overall in 2015 and 2017, and has been involved in Motorsport all his life, including motocross, drifting and rallying. Ben had a top 10 finish at Leadfoot 2017.

The 2019 Polaris RZR Turbo S is the latest and most revolutionary model of RZR side by side yet. It is also the biggest width of 72 inches and 16 inches of ground clearance. The engine is a 925cc Turbo charge twin 168hp.

The 2019 Leadfoot festival takes place on February 2-3.

To view more of this year’s competitors or to buy tickets, visit: www.leadfootfestival.com