This week’s International Rally of Whangarei in association with the Brian Green Property Group brings a financial boost to rural community groups as the event traverses roads across the Whangarei and Kaipara districts 18-19 May.
Members of the Maungaturoto co-operative, made up of eight separate community groups assist the event by providing marshalling and course preparation services in exchange for a half share of spectator ticket returns.
The first event for the 2013 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) brings teams from Finland, France, India, Japan, Australia and around New Zealand to the Northland region. Each of the 16 special stages used will be manned by members from a mix of the Maungaturoto Country Club, Paparoa Lions, Maungaturoto Country Club, Mid Western Lions, Maungaturoto St John Ambulance, Marohemo Hall, Kamo Lions and Kaipara Hunt club’s.
“They do the whole stage preparation, from distributing notification letters to the road residents in the months prior to taping up gates, driveways and junctions on the day to marshalling intersections and even providing food stalls at some of the major spectator points,” explains Maungaturoto co-operative chairman Vern Dark.
“In the twenty years the co-operative has been operating at this level we have received nearly three quarters of a million dollars, that’s been returned to the community. So for us the rally is an important part of our fundraising for local projects.”
Additionally the Kamo Lions club run the family fun day held at the William Fraser Memorial Park on Pohe Island, Saturday 18 May. Significant improvement by the Whangarei District Council to clay cap, grass and improve the venue has provided excellent under-foot conditions where fans can move easily between areas and the on-going Lions Club family fun day activities. Attractions include 4WD challenges, Shetland pony rides, miniature car rides, a bouncy castle, Police dog obedience demonstrations and a number of food outlets.
Entries for the 2013 event have drawn high profile competitors such as three-time winner Hayden Paddon from Geraldine driving a Mitsubishi and the highly acclaimed Esapekka Lappi from Finland, driving a Skoda Fabia. Along with 51 other teams tackling the roads in a variety of late model to early era makes and model of car the field is split in to two categories. The internationally registered teams and cars run first, followed by New Zealand crews competing in the NZRC, Top Half Rally Series or for the opportunity to have fun.
Spectating at the start, finish and Quayside Town Basin service areas are free with access to rural viewing points costing just $10 per adult. Children under the age of 15 are free with a paying adult and paddock parking is available at some locations for a gold coin donation. Access to the Pohe Island super special stage and family day is $10 adult. Children under the age of 15 are again free, with a paying adult.
A rally map, with clearly-marked spectator viewing points, is available free to download from the event website www.rallywhangarei.co.nz, or it can be collected from rally headquarters at Quayside Town Basin (from 16 May) or found in the rally insert published in the Northern Advocate on 15 May.
Further news and ticketing information can be found on the www.rallywhangarei.co.nz website, or follow the event on Facebook.