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Organisers of the week long NZ Silver Fern International Car Rally, the first of its kind in nearly 30 years, and which is set to start this Saturday, have been able to re-organise the first part of their route following the cancellation of their first major competitive stage.
 
The stage which was proposed to take competitors 60km up the public section of the Awatere Valley Road, all the way to the gates of the famous Farm Station “Molesworth”, has been cancelled due to some of the residents concerns for animal and competitor welfare.
 
Residents’ spokesperson, Mrs Pitts, explained to organisers that the valley had had a very hard winter with lambing and calving later than usual. She also expressed concerns that with many paddocks unfenced from the roadway, and their OSH responsibilities, and knowing that they could not control all their stock, that one might stray into the path of a competing vehicle causing an accident.
 
Clerk of the Course in charge of the safe running of the event, Martin Fine, said: “We appreciate the residents’ concerns and are aware that many of the road boundaries in this area are unfenced, allowing livestock free access to roam across the road at any time.”
 
Fine went on to say: “In the light of that we have made changes, but it’s a shame for the competitors that this, the very first competitive part of their event, has had to be cancelled, but so be it.”
 
The road will now be used only as part of the un-competitive touring section to get the cars through to the second stage, which starts from the Clarence River and runs down in to Hanmer.
 
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