The organising team for the Begonia Rally 2006, including ourselves as past and current Clerks of Course, announce with great regret the withdrawal of our services from the event. We recognise that this will prompt the event’s almost certain cancellation from the 2006 Victorian Calendar.

We have formally advised the Ballarat Light Car Club of this decision today and make the following observations:

1.    The position of the organising team has become untenable after many weeks of dialogue with the Club Committee.

2.    In 2005, the event was widely perceived by competitors and more than 250 volunteer officials to be one of the most successful and profitable events in the season, with one of the largest fields of competitors in a Victorian event, a broad base of support while attracting literally hundreds of spectators to its day and night time forest spectator points in and around Ballarat.

3.    The 2006 Begonia route has already been set at this time and Permit applications have been lodged with DSE and through them, other agencies for more than 3 months.

4.    The 2006 route again featured more than 170km of competitive Stages. Road Director Steve Richards - himself a former Director of the Begonia – says that the new route had eliminated almost all of the potentially troublesome sections with the addition of some exciting and smooth roads – including bitumen!

5.    We believe that it is unfortunate that the Ballarat Light Car Club Committee apparently feels the need for closer control of the Event in 2006, with evidence of lack of trust in the capability of the organising team. Some onerous and/or unacceptable conditions have recently been imposed on the operation of the event.

6.    In these circumstances there is no alternative but to stand down and return the event to the Club Committee.

Stuart Lister comments:

"After a gap of several years when the event was not run, the 2005 Begonia Rally was put together by Ian Crook working closely with past Directors, Steve Richards, Tim and Vicki Collins and supported by a very large number of individuals from within and outside the Ballarat Light Car Club.

With this organising team running the event last year, my job as Clerk of Course was simply to provide oversight in the lead up and then to run some activities in rally headquarters on the day.
In my view and from my experience of more than 30 years in rallying, they delivered an outstanding event that was admired by all parties except, it would now appear, certain sections of the Ballarat Club Committee.

The 2005 organising team had produced a large event that ran on time without significant incident, delivering a solid financial surplus for the Ballarat Light Car Club.

The same team had developed outstanding plans for the 2006 event. However, with key members now feeling that it is impossible to go ahead with the event under current circumstances, there is no other option but to return it to the Ballarat Light Car Club.

Key sponsors - including Garry Harrowfield’s Gardon Subaru and the Ballarat City Council - are now being advised of our decision and regret.

Other sponsors, officials and supporters will be advised as speedily as we can get the word out to them.

Ian and I find now ourselves in the unusual position of notifying ourselves as Victorian Rally Panel Chairman and Deputy Chairman that, as organisers of the 2006 Begonia, we are unable to proceed!"

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