Report set to decide Repco rally
THE review of a controversial motor rally in Northern NSW, which attracted global attention after allegations that rocks had been hurled at rally cars, is expected to be tabled in the NSW Parliament next month.
Minister for State and Regional Development Ian Macdonald said he would table the report in late June.
A stage of the Repco World Rally Championship near Murwillumbah was cancelled in September 2009 after officials and police discovered boulders had been rolled on to the course, and a race marshal heard a spectator say rocks were being thrown at rally cars.
Superintendent Michael Kenny, the commander of Operation Palisade set up to oversee the rally, said he would have no concerns about public safety if it returned to the area in 2011.
“Not at all. The spectators around the Tweed and Kyogle shires were extremely well behaved and most of the protesters were protesting in what I thought was a reasonable fashion,” Supt Kenny said.
Secretary of the No Rally Group (NRG), Andrea Vickers, said they had no idea who placed boulders on the course, and were satisfied police established no rocks were ever thrown at rally cars.
“The No Rally Group never sanctioned anything that put anybody at risk,” she said.
“The very reason why people opposed this event was because it promotes unsafe behaviour – that speeding is unsafe behaviour.”
Chairman of Repco Rally Australia, Alan Evans, said the sport’s governing body had placed the rally on its approved calendar for September 9 to 11 next year, subject to the review into the 2009 event.
Supt Kenny said the allegations of rock throwing followed the discovery of several large boulders which had been deliberately rolled on to the course.
“I then got a report through at the command centre of a marshal who had heard that rocks were being thrown at rally cars,” he said.
“As soon as we heard that report we cancelled the stage in consultation with officials.
“The marshal didn’t see any rocks being thrown, the rally car drivers didn’t see any rocks being thrown and we were not able to find any witnesses who saw rocks being thrown.
“In the absence of proving there was rocks thrown, you could say if you were (the NRG) that no rocks were thrown.
“But it was always my belief that what was paramount as the commander of that operation was the safety of the drivers and spectators and all involved in the rally.”