Sunday, 22 April, 2018
England’s first-ever car rally on closed public roads drew thousands of spectators to Tendring today.
The Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring and Clacton saw 106 rally cars take on three laps of a five-stage course around Tendring. Drivers used open, public roads to access the closed-road rally sections.
Spectators were able to watch the action from viewing areas in Bradfield and Great Bentley, while the service and central base area on Clacton seafront was also open to the public.
Early estimates suggest there were around 6,000 people watching the event.
Tendring District Council (TDC) supported rally organisers Chelmsford Motor Club during the event planning to ensure it went smoothly.
Mick Skeels, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, lifted the flag on the rally and said there had been a wonderful atmosphere around the event – which was a boost for the District.
“Speaking to spectators around the start in Clacton there was a real buzz of excitement about the rally coming to our District,” he said.
“Some were local residents, many not motor sport fans usually but who were keen to watch something different right on their doorstep. There were also rally fans who had come from far and wide to Tendring especially for this event, and we know anecdotally that hotel rooms have been extremely hard to come by this weekend.
“Other businesses, not related to tourism, have also benefited – such as tyre and fuel supply firms in Clacton and Harwich who have been selling to competitors throughout the weekend.
“Helped by the brilliant weather, the whole rally is a wonderful advert for Tendring. We hope that those who came along to watch, or who see our beautiful countryside and scenic coastline on the TV and media coverage, realise what a great place our District is and come back to visit again – maybe for the Clacton Airshow on August 23-24.”
Andrew Morgan, a resident of Marine Parade West, Clacton, which was closed for the weekend for the rally, said it had been “absolutely brilliant”.
“The organisers, mechanics, everyone has been friendly, explaining what is going on, and the set-up is good,” he added. “We’ve had no problems with noise or cars, and all my neighbours I have spoken to, and passers-by, everyone has been positive.
“This is really good for Clacton, Tendring and the community, because people get involved. I’m not particularly a motor sport fan but this is great to see.
“The pubs and cafes are full up on a weekend they would not usually be, it is rejuvenating and is all money – thousands of pounds – going back into the local community.
“The police presence has been great too, low-key but they have been engaging with the public.”
Tony Clements, event director from Chelmsford Motor Club, said: “I’m like a little boy whose birthday has come on Christmas Day with how well this event has gone. All the years of planning have paid off, and we have a delivered a brilliant event.
“It has been great to see all of the competitors, officials, spectators and passing members of the public really enjoying and engaging with the rally.
“The feedback I’ve had from the competitors is that they are overwhelmed with the hundreds of people, including families with their deckchairs and picnics, lining the open road sections between the stages to watch the cars as they drive past. It shows great support for the event.”
Navigator Simon Howlett, based in Lavenham, Suffolk, and who guides his brother Ben, said the event had been really well-organised.
“The route and countryside is great, a good mixture of roads, and it has run like clockwork,” he added.
“It has been fantastic to support. We have been doing this since 1985, averaging five or six a year, and we do a lot of similar events in Belgium, France and Germany – it is a lot nicer doing this just 30 miles down the road.”