Neal Bates and Coral Taylor will make a welcome return to Murwillumbah for the first time since last year’s Rally Australia when they take part in the Festival of Speed on Tweed later this month.
The four-time Australian Rally Champions will run their Corolla Super 2000 rally car against some of the most unique and historic racing machinery ever assembled in Australia.
Speed on Tweed was first run in 2002 and is a celebration of classic automobiles and race machinery similar to the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Bates and Taylor will run a number of hot laps to see how their naturally-aspirated car stacks up against the classic machinery. They will also entertain fans with demonstration laps around the event’s traditional one-kilometre course.
On his last visit to the northern New South Wales town Bates was enmeshed in a tough battle for World Rally Championship points, though is hoping for a far more enjoyable outing this time around.
“I am really looking forward to Speed on Tweed because I haven’t done a lot competition this year and can’t wait to go and have a play in our car,” Bates said.
“Coral and I have never taken part in the event before so it will great to be a part of it. It’s is a great course and should be good fun.
“I also can’t wait to get up close to some classic machinery as I am a huge car buff.”
Festival chairman Bill Larkin was pleased to have a front-running rally car attending after crowds got a taste of the action last year when the event ran alongside Rally Australia.
“There is now a real buzz in this part of the county as the event has grown significantly in recent years,” Mr Larkin said.
“We are thrilled to have Neal and Coral coming and it is going to be great to have them here. They will lift the profile of the event – and what rally drivers can do behind the wheel is quite amazing.
“There is also going to be a large contingent of serious hill climbers and a number of other racing categories so there will be some stiff competition alongside the fun.”
Speed on Tweed runs between 10-12 September. Organisers have more than 180 confirmed entries.