Kyogle gearing up for World Rally Championship

IF you get a letter from the Kyogle Shire Council in the next few days, there’s a good chance the FIA World Rally Championship will be racing past your door.

Council General Manager Arthur Piggott yesterday confirmed all residents who will be affected by road closures on the proposed route will be notified by mail in the coming days and invited to public consultation meetings.

The rally’s organising committee chairman Gary Connelly said the September 2009 race would include 24 special stages with up to 19 of those planned on gravel roads around Kyogle.

The exact roads remain a secret, but are expected to be revealed during next Friday’s meeting at the Kyogle Memorial Hall and at a similar meeting in Murwillumbah on Thursday.

“There are two meetings set down...for residents who are actually located on the route of the rally or who will be impacted by the competition stages,” Connelly said.

Connelly declined to reveal the route, and said it would not be finalised until after proper consultation with the community and appropriate government departments.

“We’d rather not say until we meet with the residents,” Connelly said.

“We feel we should discuss it with the residents first.”

Rally Australia have set up headquarters at Murwillumbah and appointed former Rally New Zealand boss Gary Upson as the event’s general manager.

Upson was still settling into the office when approached by The Northern Star this week but Connelly helped keep the ball rolling by urging locals to join in.

“We are going to need hundreds and hundreds of local people to be officials at the event,” Connelly said.

“You don’t need any experience whatsoever – we’ll conduct training programs in the area.

“We start the training programs early in the New Year but we need people to register as soon as possible.

“We’ve got almost 500 people registered already – in Western Australia we had about 2000 officials.”

There are also some specialist positions where skilled people can be put right among the action.

“People with mechanical experience can be scrutineers to examine cars in the refilling areas,” Connelly said.

“We need people with fire-fighting experience.

“We are looking for journalism students to go to every competition stage and get quotes from drivers when they finish each stage and send them back to the media centre.”

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