Trailblazing Tendring street rally now underway
The first ever closed road rally to be held in England is sweeping through Tendring today – with up to 10,000 spectators expected to be cheering on the drivers.
The trailblazing Corbeau seats rally is now underway, with competitiors set for a whirlwind ride through sunny Essex.
Ship Hill in Bradfield is the main zone giving panoramic views of the route, while those watching from the second at Wick Road, near Great Bentley, will see cars sweep round a tight hairpin bend.
Between 5,000 and 10,000 people are expected to attend, more than 100 drivers are signed up and tourism bosses are predicting the televised rally – the first of its kind in England – will attract national and even international attention.
Challengers compete against the clock in a series of timed tests across the district, with the main hub on Clacton seafront.
Experienced drivers are started one at a time, at 30 second or one minute intervals and are timed over the course.
The five “special stages” cover a total of approximately 15 miles and the cars will travel over them three times during the day.
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Event director Tony Clements, from Chelmsford Motor Club, said: “The rally is the first closed-roads street rally in the country and we’re proud to be bringing it to Tendring.
“The best thing about this rally is that people can watch from the roadside, within a safe distance of course, and really get up close to the action.”
Tendring council leader Neil Stock said the rally was a fantastic opportunity for the area.
He said: “This event will really put Tendring on the map and help to raise our profile nationally, and even internationally.”
Research by Sheffield Hallam University has estimated that such rallies could be worth £40million a year.
Clacton MP Giles Watling added: “Along with the brilliant Tendring Hundred Show and Clacton Air Show, this is going to give us a real boost.
“I myself travelled to the Isle of Man to watch a rally there, so I know how thrilling they can be.
“I think it is a great event and will bring real investment here.”
Some concerns have been raised to council chiefs about the rally event, with residents worried about noise and travel disruption.
Certain roads need to be closed to accommodate rally stages, which has prompted complaints to Clacton MP Giles Watling and council leader Neil Stock.
There are also fears that noise generated by the event will affect communities.
Mr Stock and organisers from Chelmsford Motor Club said they were doing everything in their power to minimise disruption.
“We understand there have been some concerns from residents along the routes, and the organisers have been working alongside us and other partners to manage, mitigate and minimise all the points raised,” he said.
“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.”
Keep up to date with live results throughout the day here.