2009 WRCA display of extraordinary local generosity and determined organisation has been recognised with the Abu Dhabi “Spirit of the Rally” Award at Repco Rally Australia, which finished yesterday.

The shires of Tweed and Kyogle in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales worked together to deliver a World Rally event that was embraced by a local community that had no prior association or familiarity with the sport, organisers said.

“The two shires put on a show that packed out the usually quiet local towns of Kyogle and Murwillumbah, creating a rally buzz, with an overriding feeling of family spirit and local community character,” they said.

“Thousands of local enthusiasts flocked to the main towns to witness a variety of entertainment, including thrilling high speed Super Special Stages, the Speed on Tweed festival and a carnival celebration during the final regroup at Kyogle.

“Shire members gave generously of their time, committing to make the events successful and providing a spectacle worthy of appreciation by not only East Coast Australia, but worldwide audiences.”

The Abu Dhabi Spirit of the Rally award, created by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) is presented at each World Rally Championship (WRC) round in recognition of an outstanding feat of leadership, integrity, respect or teamwork.

“ADTA is committed to delivering experiences which enrich the lives of residents and visitors alike and this has been mirrored by the activity of the Australian shires,” said Ahmed Hussein, Deputy Director General, ADTA.

“The award recognised their integrity and community spirit that have brought pleasure to so many.”

The award was accepted by Tweed Shire Mayor Joan Van Lieshout and the Mayor of Kyogle Shire, Ross Brown.

“Its’ been fantastic, we’ve never had a crowd like this before,” said Cr Brown.

“The influx of people that have come and gone through our town, it’s just been a great excitement for the community. Full credit of course to the volunteers, that’s what this award is about”.

The Abu Dhabi Rally Program is an initiative of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which is one of the title sponsors of the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, Official Destination partner of the World Rally Championship, and creator of the Abu Dhabi Junior Driver Development Programme.

PICTURE: Cr Joan Van Lieshout, Alexander Gueschir of WRC promoter ISC and Cr Ross Brown.