Let the games begin
AS the sun went down the noise went up as Repco Rally Australia announced its presence in the Tweed with a massive party in Murwillumbah.
Thousands of local, national and international visitors poured into Wharf Street to welcome the World Rally Championships on a night no one will soon forget with music, dancing, autograph hunting and even remote-controlled cars.
But the rally cars and their drivers were the real attraction of the night.
Despite the presence of world class racers, none could rally up a reaction like the one the crowd gave Kingscliff racer Glenn Brinkman and his co-driver Harvey Smith when they appeared on the main stage.
Mr Brinkman, who owns Accent On Stone in Tweed Heads South, said despite his extensive time in the Tweed his knowledge on the rally track is limited.
“The first time I saw them was on Tuesday with all the other racers. I've probably delivered kitchen parts out there in the past though,” Mr Brinkman told the crowd. Following an appearance from all the drivers, a huge crowd of enthusiastic fans young and old lined up for hundreds of metres down the road just for an opportunity to meet and greet their heroes.
Despite the long wait to meet his icons, Gold Coast resident Mick Hodgson said it was well worth it.
He attended his first World Rally Championship event back in England in 1989, and has been to a handful of others since then.
“This is a similar vibe to all the events I've been to,” Mr Hodgson said.
“I'm really looking forward to all the stages, I'm not really into the other stuff.
“We will be camping out in Kyogle in a few night's time.”
Former Noiseworks and INXS singer Jon Stevens took to the stage about 5pm, performing hits like Relax, Reach Out and The Doors.
With the party raging on, it was time to put pedal to the metal with the first official races: Tweed Super Special Stages 1 and 2 just up the road from the party. Thousands of spectators tried every vantage point possible, some were perched in trees and standing on park benches to catch a glimpse of the cars as they roared past