REV IT UP: Kyogle Councillor Kylie Thomas, Jo Sodiro from Dave's Bakehouse, mayor Danielle Mulholland, Clr Hayben Doolan, Clr John Burley and Scott Facey from the Commercial Hotel at the Border Ranges Rally practice day at Wiangaree.
REV IT UP: Kyogle Councillor Kylie Thomas, Jo Sodiro from Dave's Bakehouse, mayor Danielle Mulholland, Clr Hayben Doolan, Clr John Burley and Scott Facey from the Commercial Hotel at the Border Ranges Rally practice day at Wiangaree. Susanna Freymark

What's it like to do 170km/h as a passenger in a rally car?

THINGS can get blurry in the passenger seat of Neal Bates' rally car. It could be because my eyes were shut as he sped along the dirt track off Lynches Creek Rd.

"How many times have you crashed," I shout out as he hits 170km/h.

Bates is relaxed. He slides the rally car around the corners and over the single-lane bridge as if he was born to do this.

He was Australian Rally Champion four times and for 20 years, rally driving was his full-time job.

"At school the careers advisor asked what I wanted to be," he said.

"I said a motor car racer. "They sent me to the principal's office."

Friday at Wiangaree was a day for the media, sponsors and council staff to see firsthand what it was like in a rally car.

Kyogle councillors lined up for a drive. Cr Kylie Thomas was champing at the bit - the faster the car went, the better.

Deputy mayor John Burley said, "age was no barrier," as he donned the suit, hair net and helmet every driver and passenger has to wear.

Cr Hayden Doolan squeezed into a small car, giving a smile and nervous wave as the engine revved up.

When he returned from the 3km drive, he was all smiles.

"It was awesome to feel and see what it's like in a rally car," he said. "I'll be out with the RFS at Hillyards Rd on Saturday doing fire protection."

General manager Graham Kennett loved the ride while mayor Danielle Mulholland gave her support from the sidelines.

Border Ranges Rally organiser John Careless said they had more than 145 volunteers helping along the rally routes today and tomorrow.

Today's four 'shortish' road stages will be conducted three times at one minute intervals totalling 103km of competitive racing and will include passes through Hillyard's Spectator Point.

Tomorrow is the longer runs but unless you live on the route, viewing is more difficult.



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