Kyogle's turn to grab share of the limelight

AFTER more than two years waiting, Kyogle officially became a leg of the World Rally Championships when the first special stage of the Repco Rally Australia was conducted yesterday.

Kyogle residents have been teased all week as the Tweed hosted most of the pre-event activities and the first stages around the streets of Murwillumbah on Thursday night.

However, Bush Turkey country was officially put on the map yesterday with three stages, two along the Old Cob O Corn Road and one near Toonumbar Dam.

While there was a good crowd in the spectator point on Old Cob O Corn Road, west of Kyogle, the crowd was outnumbered by emergency services at the start line as WRC driver's championship leader Mikko Hirvonen kicked his Ford Focus into gear.

The only other spectators were a couple of bemused horses and cows, and one landowner taking his dog for a walk.

Marshals and rally officials were nervous as this was the first gravel stage, but everything ran on time and to plan. Two minutes later it was the turn of Sebastien Loeb and then Dani Sordo.

Mayor Ross Brown, who missed the opening stage, is excited with Kyogle set to take centre stage over the weekend, including tomorrow's service centre running in the main street.

“I was flat out working but we've been checking up on things and we had very good spectator levels which bode well,” he said.

“There has been an increase in activity in the town, but it hasn't been the level we expected.

“Sunday will be a big day for Kyogle, and we're looking forward to a reasonably large crowd in town.”

The mayor also condemned the actions of some protesters who threw rocks, forcing the abandonment of two stages along the Byrrill Creek Road near Uki.

“That would be extremely dangerous for the drivers and the protesters so I'd hope that would not happen,” he said.

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