Champion rally car driver Hayden Paddon has proved why he is among one of the best in the business.
Paddon, who is based in Cromwell, claimed top honours at the launch of the Ben Nevis Station Golden 1200 Hillclimb in Central Otago last weekend.
The overall leaderboard was determined by adding a competitor’s best time from day one to their best time from day two. That left Paddon in first place with a combined time of 5min 49.3sec.
Sloan Cox, of Rotorua, finished second in 6min 13.5sec and Job Quantock, of Kaiapoi, took third in 6min 18.5sec.
The trio took the top three places overall and in the open 4WD class.
Paddon also set the course record of 2m 52.8s on his final run on Saturday.
Paddon, who helped organise the event, was pleased with the results, but admitted he “probably had an unfair advantage”.
“But you’ve got to take it when you can,” he said.
“Huge thanks to everyone who’s been part of it.”
He said the event would not be a one-off and there was plenty to learn from when planning for the next event began.
“There’s certainly a lot more we can improve on for the future to be bigger and better.”
He said strong finishing times had helped set a “benchmark” for next year.
Cox was also pleased with the results and enjoyed the location.
“It’s an awesome bit of road. We had no idea what the car was going to do and it’s the longest road the car’s done in a long time, as we [are] used to 1.5km not 6km.
“[It] was a new experience with this car in the rain and it was pretty wicked, heaps of grip. I’m definitely looking forward to more events like this.”
Quantock was also impressed by the way his car handled the conditions.
“They were challenging conditions today and the car’s been like an animal.
“The event has run really smoothly so credit to Hayden and the organising team.”
Paddon’s brainchild attracted 90 competitors across 12 categories of cars, quads, motorbikes and off-roaders within a few days of entries for the event opening late last year.