Norway's Peter Solberg with British co-pilot Philip Mills get their Subaru Imprezza WRC airborne during the Terranova special.
Norway's Peter Solberg with British co-pilot Philip Mills get their Subaru Imprezza WRC airborne during the Terranova special. The Northern Star

Rallying for Kyogle

THE venue for the 2009 Rally Australia has been through more twists and turns than an actual rally but Kyogle is looking increasingly likely to host some stages of the World Rally Championship event.

As reported in The Northern Star last year, Kyogle was being considered as a big part of the new Rally Australia that was expected to be held this year.

The original idea was for the event to be centred on the South East Queensland International Motor Sport Precinct near Yatala, with a large portion of the dirt road stages being held around Kyogle.

However, for various reasons the rally fell through.

A renewed attempt by organisers has reinvigorated the idea but the Motor Sport Precinct will not be built in time.

Earlier this week CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) chief executive Graham Fountain said the event would be held in Northern NSW.

"We have an event planned in NSW and that's the extent of what we're willing to announce at this stage," he told Auto Action magazine.

A Kyogle Council spokesperson said Kyogle had met with organisers in recent weeks.

"Council has had preliminary talks with them (rally organisers) the week before last but nothing concrete has been submitted," the spokesperson said.

"We haven't received anything in writing but obviously they seem keen to hold the event in the northern region."

Lismore City Council was approached last year by organisers for help with accommodation and infrastructure but has had no further talks with rally organisers.

Richmond Valley Council has not been contacted.

While Kyogle seems likely to host some dirt stages of the rally, there is continuing confusion about where the event will be based.

According to CAMS media co-ordinator Alison Macqueen, in order to host the event an area needs a hotel with a minimum of 600 rooms and there also needs to be additional accommodation in the surrounding area.

Furthermore, the headquarters of the race is often based at the host hotel and there also needs to be a two- to five-hectare area cleared of flat land which would contain the official service park.

Considering there are no facilities like that in the local area it seems a possibility that the Tweed Coast could become a contender to host the Rally.

However, a spokesperson for the Tweed Shire Council said they had not been contacted by Rally Australia organisers.

The organising committee chairman of the event is Garry Connelly, who was the driving force behind Perth hosting a WRC event from 1989 to 2006.

Last year he told The Northern Star that the Western Australia event pulled in between $10.5 million and $22 million per year to the State.

A WRC event is usually conducted over a distance of 1200km with about 350km competitive dirt stages.

The venue for the 2009 Rally Australia will be announced later this year.


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