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The sight and sound of historic racing cars in the popular Festival of Speed on Tweed will return to the streets of Murwillumbah as part of the Repco Rally Australia entertainment program in the New South Wales Northern Rivers next September.

Speed on Tweed, in which around 200 historic racing cars of many types and some of Australia’s best drivers of past years race against the block on closed public roads, will be staged on 5-6 September, organisers announced today.

The event will be run on a one-kilometre temporary circuit, similar to that used in previous years, which also will be used on three nights as a Super Special Stage by competitors in the Repco Rally Australia World Rally Championship round on 3-6 September.

Founded in 2002 by driver Roger Ealand and the Rotary Club of Murwillumbah, the Festival of Speed on Tweed quickly became one of Australia’s most popular historic motor racing events, attracting almost 30,000 spectators each year, but the organisers decided they did not have the resources to continue it after 2008.

Rally Australia general manager Gary Upson said the rally had provided the opportunity for Speed on Tweed to return.

With the highly-regarded Mr Ealand retiring to focus on his racing, Speed on Tweed would be run by a committee of Rotary club and rally representatives, with experienced motorsport administrator Steven Brow appointed as Event Manager.

“This is a great outcome for everyone, including fans and competitors. By combining resources, we have been able to ensure the continuation of a widely-supported historic motor racing event and add a major attraction to our program in Murwillumbah,” Mr Upson said.

“As well as being able to see three days of World Rally special stage action out in the rural areas of Tweed and Kyogle shires, spectators will enjoy three nights of Super Specials in Murwillumbah, plus Speed on Tweed and runs by cars competing in the Australian Tarmac Challenge and Outback Classic Rally.

“The Murwillumbah precinct will be geared to provide full entertainment facilities, including great viewing with grandstand and corporate hospitality options, food and drink and a Rally Show.

“The Murwillumbah Rotary Club and Roger Ealand have done a superb job in developing Speed on Tweed. While Roger is stepping back, he has provided advice and encouragement in the transition to the new organisation.

“We pay tribute to his vision, which created this event, and look forward to the Festival of Speed on Tweed becoming an even more successful attraction for the Northern Rivers.”

Roger Ealand said he was delighted to see Speed on Tweed continue.

“This Festival is just too good not to continue. It brings a huge financial boost to Murwillumbah and develops a real community pride in presenting the Tweed in such an excellent light. I can see it going from strength to strength,” he said.

Speed on Tweed has attracted many legendary drivers over the years, including Sir Jack Brabham, Vern Schuppan, Frank Gardner, Jim Richards, Kevin Bartlett, Dick Johnson and John Goss.

Sir Jack’s Repco-Brabham was one of many grand prix cars to have graced Murwillumbah’s streets, along with numerous Bathurst winners, Le Mans sports cars and many others that told the story of Australia’s motor racing history.

The non-profit event also raised more than $160,000, which has been given to national charities such as the Childrens Cancer Institute, the Peter Brock Foundation, service clubs, schools emergency services and hospitals.

Full details of the Festival of Speed on Tweed, including competitor information and ticket prices, will be announced over the coming weeks.

People wishing to compete or volunteer to work at Speed on Tweed should contact Event Manager Steven Brow on (02) 6676 7029.

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