2024 Rally of the Bay cancelled

July 11, 2024 7:29 am in by
20 - Bethany Cullen and Mel McMinn in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6.5 (4WD) at the Rally of the Bay - 29 Jul 2023

The 2024 Rally of the Bay has been cancelled just weeks out from its July 27 start date.

The annual NSW Rally Championship event, brings more than 500 people to the region during winter, a time when towns on the South Coast could use an economic boost.

John McCredie from North Shore Sporting Car Club, told ARN Bega Bay they tried to postpone the event but in the end had to cancel it due to issues finding enough undamaged road to race on.

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“We’ve had to cancel the event for 2024. Not something that we really wanted to do, but unfortunately we’ve had some issues with the weather down there and some land slippages on a couple of the roads that we planned to use and we’ve had some decisions made for us and can’t use those roads anymore,” McCredie said.

“That took quite a chunk of kilometres out of the event which meant we had to scramble to try and find some new roads with a big search of the area and unfortunately we just couldn’t find enough kilometres to make the rally viable,” he said.

Mr McCredie said the North Shore Sporting Car Club are concerned about the the economic impact of not coming to Batemans Bay.

“Every year we bring 50 to 60 teams and some of the team bring 10 people with them, so from an accommodation point of view and from an economic point of view, it makes a big impact in the middle of winter to a little town like Batemans Bay,” McCredie said.

“That was one of the main reasons we spent so much time trying to find a reroute for the rally but we’ve also got to provide value to our competitors and the longest stages that we could come up with just didn’t suit the NSW Championship requirements.”

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He said calling the 2024 Rally of the Bay off wasn’t a decision that was made lightly.

“Oviously there’s many contributing factors to it and many stakeholders that we needed to consider including, council and forestry whose roads we’re using, they’re very generous with us in the roads that they allow us to use, so we’ve got to make sure that we don’t damage them,” McCredie said.

“With some of the weather that we’ve had down there, the last thing we want to do is damage roads in the area. One of our things is we like to tread lightly and make sure that we leave the roads in the same condition we found them.”

Peter Dimmock and Pete Hellwig in their Datsun 240Z (2WD/C3) at the 2019 Rally of the Bay

Organisers did look to postpone the event until later in the year, but finding a weekend that didn’t clash with other events was difficult.

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“When there’s multiple rounds of a championship, you got to leave a bit of time between events to allow teams to prepare their cars, and unfortunately there just wasn’t another weekend where we could move it to, which worked for our stakeholders as well as for our competitors,” McCredie said.

And while it won’t be going ahead on the last weekend in July this year, the Rally of The Bay will return next year.

“There won’t be a replacement for it this year, but we are in the planning process for 2025, so we will be back.”

Images: Rally of the Bay