There was the usual rally chatter over social media last weekend as the ultra successful Border Ranges Rally was run on the roads around Kyogle. A round of the Queensland and NSW Rally Championships as well as the East Coast Classic Rally Series, the event was held over two days on shire roads close to the Northern Rivers town in NSW. The area famously held a round of the World Rally Championship in 2009, but lost its status due to a number of factors. Large groups of people protesting against the rally did not help the cause.

Henning Solberg rolled his Ford Focus at Rally Australia in 2009 but managed to continue. Photo: Peter Whitten

Protestors went to extreme lengths in an effort to stop the rally, with some even throwing rocks at the World Rally machines mid-stage. Star Frenchman, Sebastien Loeb, won the event, but he and his Citroen teammates were handed a post-event penalty allowing Ford's Mikko Hirvonen to take the win at the eleventh hour. Post-WRC, the Border Ranges has been run several times, with 2018 arguably being the most successful.

Angry protesters were not happy that the WRC was in the region in 2009. Photo: Peter Whitten

The roads, as spectacular as they were in 2009, create for thrilling action. A Facebook poll posted on Sunday by Danielle Mulholland simply asks the question: ‘do you support the rally in Kyogle?’ The answers were astonishingly in favour of the rally to the tune of 97%. Yes, the poll has some six days still to run, but with over 144 shares, already a large number of people have had their say. Though the success and support of the event looks as high as ever, a WRC return is far from likely, but it’s fantastic to see an event grow and prosper after several challenges in the past. As rally fans all know, it is a great effort to get to events, and the it's the host towns that truly benefit. Accomodation, food, supplies and petrol for a large field brings a huge economic benefit for a town, and something that has been a proven 'winner' for many towns in the past. Long may the Northern Rivers region, and Kyogle in particular, be a place for high quality rally action.

Spectator traffic was parked up for kilometres at Kyogle in 2009. Photo: Peter Whitten

Glenn Brinkman won the 2018 Border Ranges Rally. Photo: Alan McIntosh Sports Photography

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