rally1The proposed location of the main service area for cars contesting September’s Repco Rally Australia World Rally Championship round has been changed to what organisers say is a new, more suitable venue at a local sports ground.

The service park will be at Walter Peate Reserve in Kingscliff, and is set to be a major free attraction for rally spectators, Rally Australia said.

The reserve on Wommin Bay Road is home to the Cudgen Rugby League Club and local amateur cricket, little athletics, hockey and soccer clubs.

Announcing confirmation of the move, Rally Australia organising committee Chairman Garry Connelly said rally officials had contacted all the clubs and an adjacent retirement village and received approval for the use of the area, which is less than one kilometre from the previous intended service park location in Jack Bayliss Park, on the Kingscliff Beach foreshore.

“The location, layout, surface and facilities at Walter Peate Park are far better than we were going to have by the beach, but we had understood at the start of our rally planning that it would not be available,” he said.

“We are very pleased about the move now and thank the Member for Tweed in the New South Wales Parliament, Geoff Provest, along with the Tweed Shire Council Mayor Cr Joan van Lieshout and Deputy Mayor Cr Barry Longland, for their initiative in making it possible.

“We also appreciate the support of the clubs, which we are encouraging to take advantage of the service park by running fund-raising activities. We will now work to formalise the arrangement with all parties.”

The service park will be the base for the field of up to 60 cars in the lead-up and during Repco Rally Australia on 3-6 September.

Operational headquarters for the rally, including an international media centre, will be five kilometres further south at SALT Resort Village.

The service park will be a major attraction for rally fans, who will have free entry to walk among the areas occupied by Citroen, Ford and other world-class teams, Mr Connelly said.

Spectators will be able to see the drivers and cars at close quarters when they return to the service park throughout the rally for servicing, repairs or overnight garaging, Mr Connelly said.

“It will be like the pits at a Formula 1 grand prix, but with the exciting difference that entry is free and people will be able to even talk to the drivers if they are available,” he said.

“While its relocation will reduce any impact on Kingscliff and its residents, I am confident the benefits will be undiminished.

“Holiday lettings will still be heavy, restaurants will be busy and other retail outlets serving visitors should do cracking trade in line with the forecasts of our independent economic impact survey.”