In a move that has shocked many, CAMS have decided not to renew the contracts of Rally Australia General Manager, Gary Upson, Operations Manager, Bob Newman, and Event Support Co-Ordinator, Sam Pearce.

The decision to hold Rally Australia in the Tweed and Kyogle Shires of northern NSW was always a contentious one, with a strong band of protesters against the event on ‘environmental’ grounds. 

Upson and his team went through a long and arduous process of consultations with the communities involved, and eventually the rally went ahead. Despite a few protestors causing disruption during the event itself, Rally Australia was hailed a huge success.  Spectators flocked to the rally in the tens of thousands – never before had crowds that size been witnessed at an Australian rally.

The future of Rally Australia now once again looks in doubt.  With three of the event’s main organising team now out of the picture, a new General Manager will have his/her work cut out starting from scratch. 

Upson, Newman and Pearce will take a huge amount of knowledge with them, and a new team will have to re-build relationships with governments, local councils, sponsors and the like.

As well as the current lack of a General Manager and key staff for Rally Australia, it is also understood the event has a number of other hurdles to overcome in order for it to run in the future. 

RallySport Magazine believes that no sponsor is tied in for future events, that funding from the New South Wales Government has not been guaranteed, nor has a guarantee been given from the ISC that future World Rally Championship events will be held in Australia.

After such a successful event in 2009, it seems a shame that Rally Australia will now need to built from the ground up again, providing all the planets align and it gets the green light to run in the future.

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