A photographer gets an extreme close-up of Al Qassimi’s driving style at the CTEK West rally stage in Kyogle yesterday.
A photographer gets an extreme close-up of Al Qassimi’s driving style at the CTEK West rally stage in Kyogle yesterday.

Big finale for Repco Rally

THE final day of the Repco Rally Australia was Kyogle's turn to shine as thousands flocked to the shire to catch the exciting finale.

Kyogle's main street was converted into a remote service centre for about one hour which attracted an estimated 3000 people.

Kyogle mayor Ross Brown believes it will go down as one of the biggest days in the small town's history.

“Without a doubt it's one of the biggest days we've had,” he said.

“We've had some other big days with other events, but this was equal to them all.”

Mr Brown was ecstatic with the event and the positive impact it had on the business sector.

“I think it's been fantastic,” he said.

“It's been a great weekend and the town's well and truly had a great spectacular viewing area here and the people are excited.

“Nobody really knew what to expect.

“We didn't really know what would happen, didn't really know how many people would get here and whether it would be beneficial.

“We've still got the review process to go through of course, and there are some issues to address, but I think without a doubt, overall, the vast majority of the population would just say let's bring it on and let's keep involved with this event.”

The mayor said the tourism sector - hotels, motels and cafes - received the most benefit.

The owner of the Kyogle Bakery, Max Kassebaum, said he had experienced three phenomenal business days.

“Business was up 300 to 400 per cent per day,” he said.

“We were having a minimum of 1500 people per day coming into the shop.

“I've only been here 20 months and it's something I've never seen before.

“It's been a bit overwhelming.”

The largest spectator stage was CTEK West, a stage that ran along Webbs Road and then Hillyards Road, south of Kyogle.

Crowds at the spectator point were at least 2000 on Sunday, with some saying it was double that number on Saturday.

Repco Rally Australian chairman Garry Connelly was a relieved man last night as he declared the event an unprecedented success.

“I'm very pleased, very pleased it's over because it was very hard work,” he said.

“And we very much appreciate the support of the local community.

“To sit in the command centre and to see from the helicopter all these properties alongside the road with parties going on, not with hundreds but thousands of people, which we unfortunately can't charge, but to see that they were having a great time just blew me away.

“When it was in Perth there were spectators in the spectator areas but even the famous Bunnings (stage) never had anything like what we saw at CTEK West.

“We've never had anything like that in a rally any time in Australia.

“Nothing like that, and all the other points were packed.”

Final crowd figures will be released tomorrow.

WHAT WERE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE RALLY? Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948

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