Kyogle ready to host world car rally race

REV up Kyogle: The World Rally Championship is coming!

After almost a year of closed door meetings, it was officially announced yesterday that Kyogle and Tweed Shire would co-host the biggest sporting event ever held on the Northern Rivers.

Set down for September 3 to 6, the Repco Rally Australia 2009 will see the likes of world champion Sebastien Loeb and Australian Chris Atkinson burn rubber through up to 16 stages around Kyogle, Mullumbimby and Murwillumbah.

The deal, announced yesterday, will see five rallies in the region over the next 10 years, and is expected to inject $100 million into the NSW economy.

While the event will be run from the Tweed, two days of the racing will be held on dirt roads to the north and to the west of the Kyogle.

Kyogle Council General Manager Arthur Piggott said it was too early to say exactly where the racing would be.

“There are about 10 potential stages we've earmarked already, but we can't reveal them at this stage,” he said.

“We make suggestions and they make the final decisions based on the length of the course, condition of the road and how challenging it will be and the scenery it will travel through.”

But regardless of the route, Kyogle Mayor Ernie Bennett said the event would generate unprecedented publicity.

“It will be viewed by more than 50 million people in 180 countries,” he said.

The Northern Rivers rally will be one of 12 in the World Rally Championship, which includes events in Europe, South America and Asia.

Considered the highest profile four-wheeled motor sport after Formula One, the championship will provide a much-needed injection into the Kyogle economy.

“This will create a whole lot of economic benefits, both direct and indirect in the whole region, not just Kyogle,” Cr Bennett said.

“In 2005, Kyogle lost a large number of local jobs (after the Norply fire) and we see this event as providing an opportunity to return to a more stable employment base, retain young people in the area and attract additional business and industry. It's all about bringing people here and creating short-term jobs and seeing if we can grow that into the future.

“It's something to really kick-start our economy and we're going to have this exposure right around the globe. We just don't know how big it's going to be at this stage. But it's going to be big.”

The Star reported in August last year that the rally may come to the region, but it was not finalised until last month.

Cr Bennett said Events NSW contributed funding to bring the event to the region.



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