With six weeks to go until England’s first-ever stage rally on closed public roads comes to Tendring, council leaders are revving up their support for the event.
The Corbeau Seats Rally will test drivers as they compete against the clock on a series of timed tests across the District, with the main hub of the event located on Clacton seafront.
Organised by Chelmsford Motor Club (CMC) and sanctioned by the Motor Sport Association, Essex County Council and Tendring District Council (TDC) have been behind the event from the off.
Neil Stock, TDC Leader, said the rally was a fantastic opportunity for the area.
“This event will really put Tendring on the map and help to raise our profile nationally and even internationally,” he said.
“We understand there have been some concerns from residents along the routes, and the organisers CMC have been working alongside us and other partners to manage, mitigate and minimise all the points raised.
“However, the overwhelming view we have had when officers have been out on the route is a positive one, including from many farmers who are supporting the race with hay bales and land for spectator areas.”
As well as providing a spectacle Zoe Fairley, Cabinet Member for Investment and Growth at TDC, said it was driving up investment in Tendring.
Research by Sheffield Hallam University estimated nationally such rallies could be worth £40million a year.
“Before we get to visitor numbers, there are around 50 senior organisers – plus up to 500 marshals – and an estimated 600 people in the driving teams. All of these will be staying over, buying food and the like, and spending in our local economy,” said Cllr Fairley.
“This then helps to drive regeneration and investment in the area.”
Although hard to tell as it is the first road event in England, it is hoped there will be 5-10,000 spectators coming to Tendring for the rally.
Mick Skeels, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said with the rally being the first of its kind in England it could see national interest.
“An event that draws people from across the country all to Tendring has to be good thing,” he added.
“During their time here we have the chance to really showcase our District and all it has to offer. In that way, we hope that rally spectators will then come back at other times to enjoy our wonderful coastline, rural idylls and perhaps other events on offer such as the Clacton Airshow.
“I also understand that the rally itself will be televised, and this all combined means the rally has the potential to be a brilliant advert for Tendring.”
Although the first of its kind in England, such rallies already take place in Northern Ireland and National Parks, and so many of the practical challenges of staging such events are known to the organisers and routes have been designed to provide a test for competitors whilst also being mindful of the environment.
A specialist motorsport production company will be televising the event, and it will be shown Europe-wide on Motorsport TV (Sky Channel 447) from Friday, May 4. Other channels are waiting on transmission dates.