The world is watching Tweed
REPCO Rally Australia will roar into Tweed for the first time ever tonight.
After months of planning, the massive machine that is the World Rally Championships will hit the streets for four days of burning rubber and flying gravel.
With the eyes of 60 million global television viewers upon us, one anti-rally group is determined to spread its message to the world.
On the eve of the rally, No Rally Group members were yesterday distributing flyers urging residents to take part in one of six planned protests.
“There is now no option but action,” the flyer read.
“Help us show a global audience that the people of the Northern Rivers love our home, and don't accept that our rights could be so easily stripped away.”
Despite Tweed councillor Katie Milne's defeat in federal court as late as last week to halt the rally, No Rally Group has planned peaceful protests, starting with one at Byangum Bridge on Kyogle Road tomorrow morning.
The group has plans also to protest the rally's ceremonial finish at the service park at Cudgen Leagues Club on Sunday.
But it was not dampening the spirits of Repco Rally Australia general manager Gary Upson, who was busy with preparations last night.
“We won't be putting our feet up yet - there is still a lot of work to be done, even after the event is over,” Mr Upson said.
“Ten months of planning will soon come together for a global audience.”
Tonight will feature a concert on Wharf Street, Murwillumbah from Noiseworks singer Jon Stevens, autographs with the drivers and an up close experience with some of the rally cars.
Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers said today would be a terrific moment for Tweed.
“It has been a long trip to this point and I'm really looking forward to it,” Mr Villiers said.
“Opportunities to show the Tweed off like this don't come around often.
“Most of the people attending are coming from out of the region which is terrific for us, but there are also locals who have purchased tickets to come along.”
Home town racer Glenn Brinkman, of Kingscliff, also has big plans for the event.
His goal is to finish in the top five of the 40 Australian competitors.
Mr Brinkman's pit crew, comprised of family and friends, said they could not be happier to be part of a global event
His team manager and brother-in-law Grant Coleman said to be in the Australian leg of WRC was a dream come true for them.
“Being in the service park has been great for us, we've seen all these world racers walking around,” Mr Coleman said.
“It's great to watch it on TV but it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend.”
Mr Coleman and his team were yesterday busy putting the finishing touches on Mr Brinkman's Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Nine, including rebuilding the gearbox, installing new turbo and tweaking the engine.