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KUMHO RALLY OF THE BAY MEDIA SHAKEDOWN PRODUCES SOME SPECACULAR DRIVES

Kumho Tyres Rally, South Coast, NSW

Leading competitors had a taste of the rally ahead today when they tackled a fast and spectacular media shakedown stage at the Kumho Tyres Rally of the Bay on the NSW South Coast.

Local media and VIPs sampled some of the action on the specially selected 5km stage in the forests north of town riding with some of the leading drivers including NSW Championship contenders Mike Harding and Gavin Croker as well as the fast and spectacular Charlie Drake who is running as a safety car this weekend.

Drake who is a regular competitor in the Bosch ARC said he wouldn't miss the chance to sample the magnificent coastal forestry roads around Batemans Bay and thrilled  the media and spectators today with his wild style behind the wheel of his Mitsubishi Evo 9.

"The stages are fantastic and I had to come down and have a go even it wasn't in a competitive way," said Drake.

The Media Shakedown stage was not all smooth sailing for some of the competitors with the Mitsubishi Mirage Mivec of Darren McLanders breaking rear trailing arm and losing a wheel, with the car coming away from the incident remarkably unscathed. McLanders will repair the Mirage overnight and will be on the start line on Saturday

The 57 rally competitors will face the starter after Canberra driver John Stilling's Lancer Evo 9 suffering a melted piston at the shakedown before the car turned a wheel in anger.

The field will be flagged away from Corrigans Beach Reserve at 12 noon on Saturday 1 September tackling a total of nine special stages over more than 135 km of competitive running in the forests before the finish back in Batemans Bay at around 8.30pm.

There will be an array of activities and fun at the start tointerest visitors of all ages. These include truck and gear displays by NSW Fire & Rescue and the Rural Fire Service as well as the SES and personnel and boat display by NSW Marine Rescue not to mention some fascinating displays by the local Hot Rod Club and the Eurobodalla Classic and Veteran car club.

In addition there will be Kumho helium balloons and face painting for the kids, a display by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service with its chopper and the Batemans Bay Basketball club is holding a "shoot the hoop" competition with prizes including a number of dinners for two at the Bay Waters Resort.

As well as all that the Lions Club will have a sausage sizzle, the Rotary Club will be manning a donut van, the Coffee Driven Mobile Café will have espresso coffee on hand and Reggies Ice Creams will have its ice cream van on site to add to the carnival atmosphere.

Batemans Bay and surrounding areas is set to reap a windfall of more than a half a million dollars in economic impact from the Kumho Rally.

The rally will deliver more than 1000 bed nights over the weekend at a time when tourism numbers are at their lowest, providing a major boost to a range of Bay businesses.

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