Author(s): Rod Millen
One of New Zealand's greatest rally drivers and a hill-climbing superstar tells his inspiring story for the very first time. Rod Millen was a hero of New Zealand rallying in the 1970s. Having won several championships he quickly established himself as New Zealand's number one driver. But thereafter Millen went on to do what very few Kiwis have achieved, finding podium success in American motorsport. He won the North American Race and Rally Championship in 1979, 1980 and 1981, then in 1989 Millen achieved perhaps his greatest feat, winning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, America's second oldest motor-racing event. Writing his name into history, he went on to win the race more times than any driver. The hill-climb is often referred to as 'Millen's Mountain'. Rod Millen is also a highly successful businessman. As a continuation of his off-road driving interests, he founded Millenworks in California in 1980, specializing in cutting-edge light tactical vehicles, armored and off-road vehicles and subsystems for the US military and theme parks. Millen has recently returned to New Zealand, building a 140-acre, ocean-front estate at Hahei with a racetrack as a driveway, modeled on his favourite hill-climb corners around the world. He's also established Leadfoot Festival, a unique weekend held every two years at the estate, bringing together a mix of classic cars, vintage motorcycles and motorsport legends, inspired by the famous British Goodwood Festival of Speed. Aside from rallying, Rod is well known for other forms racing such as super touring, drifting and extreme off-road races like the Baja 1000 (often considered the most dangerous race in the world) and Transsyberia rally (which he won in 2007). Rod also won the Race to the Sky hill-climb in New Zealand in 2002 and posted the fastest time at the 2002 Goodwood Festival of Speed in England - and he still has the record up his own front driveway. The Cutting Edge is Rod's story, in his own words, of a life lived pushing the boundaries, of record-breaking off-road driving, working at the forefront of motorsport technology, and of creating the ultimate petrol-head heaven, right in his own backyard.
Rod Millen is a Kiwi motorsport legend, American hill-climbing superstar and founder of Millenworks. He lives between Newport in California and his ranch on the Coromandel. Rod grew up in New Zealand and began getting serious about off-road racing as he travelled the back-country roads in search of the best surf breaks. He went on to be New Zealand's best rally-car driver, winning the New Zealand rally championship in 1975, 1976 and 1977, before leaving for the USA. He won the North American Race and Rally Championship in 1979 and 1980 and back-to-back SCCA National Rally Championships in 1987 and 1988, but he is perhaps best-known for his hill-climbing, a branch of motorsport in which drivers compete against the clock to complete an uphill course. It's one of the oldest forms of motorsport - and still one of the most dangerous. Millen is internationally renowned for his dominance at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, the best-known hill climb in the US and the country's second oldest auto racing event. It's an event that has been entered by many internationally recognised drivers and multiple world rally champions. Millen won the overall title six times, and still holds certain records at Pikes Peak (it's recently been paved), also known as the 'Race to the Clouds' and 'Millen's Mountain'.