Rotorua's Penny Rd was filled with the sound of roaring engines on Sunday.

Twenty-five drivers put their speed and skill to the test during the Penny Rd Hill Climb, with Tauranga's Ben Quin coming out on top in his Mitsubishi EVO6.

Each driver had a practice run and three competitive runs to try to achieve the best time overall.

In his practice run, Quin completed the ascent in 1m 49.83s and steadily improved with each of his next three attempts, finishing with the fastest time of the day, 1m 31.538s.


He was almost four seconds ahead of Rotorua's Eddie Pinkham in second.

Quin, who also raced in the Raglan Rally of the Coast the day before, said the day went smoothly and he was pleased with the win.

"It's quite a nice, challenging hill. I thought Eddie [Pinkham] might've actually been a bit quicker than us. We did the rally in Raglan on Saturday, so I guess I was nice and fresh in the car after spending all day Saturday in it. We were 23rd in Raglan."

In such a short, sharp race, he said minimising errors and getting to know the track were key.

"I just did a nice clean job of driving and didn't jump the start. It was a warm, dry day, so it wasn't too slippery in the 4WD going up that hill. Like all hill climbs, it's a good challenge and you just sort of build to your best run at the end of the day. You learn the road as you progress through your runs.

Cars form a convoy back to the start line at the Penny Rd Hill Climb. Photo / Stephen Parker
Cars form a convoy back to the start line at the Penny Rd Hill Climb. Photo / Stephen Parker

"Hill climbing is quite an art form, you have to turn your brain on fairly quickly. That particular hill was very fast at the bottom and quite technical when you actually hit the hill. When you're trying to find half a second, it's the little bits here and there that count.

"We did this race last year and ended up about fourth I think, but we've done a bit more development in the car since then, so it's going a lot better now. You never know who's going to turn up to these things - lots of young guys having a go and just club level cars, which is what we want to see. That's why I made the effort to come, because I wanted to support the club," Quin said.

Motorsport Bay of Plenty secretary Linda Loughlin said the event was previously run by the Rotorua Car Club, but was resurrected by Motorsport Bay of Plenty last year.


"This is the second time we've run it. The driving was very good, we had no incidents at all."

She said the key to doing well in hill climb events was practice.

"It differs quite a lot [from a flat track]. On a track you can see what the conditions are and what's coming, but on a hill you discover all that on your first run. It's quite different in terms of the way you approach it."

She said Penny Rd had everything required for a good hill climb, in particular the support of the residents living there.

"It's a reasonable distance from both Tauranga and Rotorua and the residents are very kind to us. It's always really good to have their support, they were excellent. The interesting shape of the road makes it good for racing on too. The more technical it is, the more it challenges you."

Next on the calendar for Motorsport Bay of Plenty is the Taupō Dual Sprints at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park on November 4.