Opponents put Repco Rally at risk
ORGANISED opposition to next year’s Repco Rally Australia could sink the event, according to Rally Australia chairman Alan Evans.
But the No Rally group suspects this is an empty threat designed to build local sympathy.
Mr Evans has confirmed there was a strong possibility the event would not run in the area in 2011 if anti-rally organisations did not come to the negotiating table.
He wanted to ensure there were no repeats of the “incidents we got at last year’s rally”.
“At this point I think it’s more likely we will end up going somewhere else,” Mr Evans said.
“A rally in the Northern Rivers is not 100 per cent confirmed to go ahead.
“We want to run the rally there, we’re keen to run it there, but what we need to do is make sure we don’t get a repeat of the incidents we got at last year’s rally.”
The Australian leg of the World Rally Championships made headlines internationally last September, but often for the wrong reasons.
Most noticeable were allegations that rocks were thrown by protesters on a Byrrill Creek stage.
Police said there was no evidence to support the claim.
Mr Evans said he was ready to sit down with anti-rally groups to discuss an independent review of the 2009 event tabled in the NSW Parliament last month.
“Unless we get positive feedback from community we will take the $30 million economic input and go somewhere else, and the anti-rally groups will be left to explain why that has happened,” he said.
“We’ve already begun looking at alternative venues. I’m not prepared to put the lives of drivers and spectators at risk.”
No Rally spokesman Michael McNamara said the group had rejected an olive branch from the Homebush Motor Racing Authority, which provided help with the approvals for the rally, to discuss the 2011 event.
He said the preferred option was that it doesn’t take place in the Northern Rivers.