Will Paddon be teed off at Millbrook?
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Rally driver Hayden Paddon is swapping steering wheel for golf clubs as a celebrity guest at the ISPS Handa NZ Open from Friday to March 4 at Millbrook, Queenstown.
You are playing in the ISPS Handa NZ Open? How do you rate yourself as a golfer?
Pretty average, but I really enjoy the game. My grandfather was a greenkeeper so I grew up around the sport quite a lot and it’s a good way to have a release from rallying. In terms of my game, let’s just say that I find driving a car easier than a golf ball!
You’ve just returned from Finland and Sweden? Is it hard to adjust to normal road driving after rally driving?
Not at all. In fact, it’s my relaxing time as things generally are quite busy. It’s nice to get in the car for a longer trip, turn up the music and just relax.
Which Hyundai do you drive when you’re back in New Zealand?
I love driving the Kona when I’m in New Zealand but I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the soon to be released i30 N which is pure awesome.
Who taught you drive?
My father taught me a lot, driving on the farm on his lap, turning the wheel while he controlled the pedals. This started at the age of three, and when was I was four, I got my first motorised small go-kart powered by a windshield wiper motor, so not so fast! And when it came time to sitting my licence, I got it first time. I had a lot of pressure to do so as my first rally was five days later and I needed to pass the licence to do the rally.
What was your first car?
A Toyota DX Wagon coloured brown (nicknamed Turd). I loved it, and I did lots of back road mileage, going sideways. I learnt a lot of things through trial and error. It was a great car and a lot of fun to drive being rear-wheel-drive.
Any cars you’ve owned that you have regretted selling?
When I was first going to Europe, I needed more money to simply live, so I sold my re-shell project of my first race car — a Mini that I rolled about six years earlier. It was always the plan to rebuild. I regretted it the minute it left the property but I had the opportunity to buy it back 12 months later. I didn’t think twice, but it cost me $1000 more to get it back, so lesson learnt.
Your most memorable road trip?
I have been lucky to drive some exotic places in the world, but nothing beats a road trip from Christchurch to Taupo. Through the South and North Islands, the ferry crossing, the Desert Road, etc. I love it as we live in the most beautiful place in the world.
If you could go on a road trip anywhere with any sports great?
I’m keen to do a bit of a road trip through the USA incorporating some iconic motorsport events such as NHRA drags, NASCAR, monster trucks, etc. I’d ask Roger Federer along as he is a true machine, a humble guy that I think you could learn a lot from. He’d have a lot of stories to share, too.
Do you have a favourite car scene from a movie or TV show?
I loved the scene from the most recent Pork Pie movie near the end where the local Mini club comes out in a large group to save the day. I love my Minis, and to see heaps of them like this in a classic Kiwi movie is priceless.
What music do you listen to when you drive?
Pretty mellow stuff. I enjoy things like Coldplay, Snow Patrol and random chill/relax music.
If you could change one NZ road rule, what would it be?
Not necessarily a road rule but I think drivers could be more aware/considerate of others such as only using the right lane for passing, not speeding up at passing lanes, etc. I think under-passing (passing on the left on a dual carriageway) should be illegal, but until the first point is covered then that is maybe more difficult to enforce.