Local sponsor puts Coffs Coast rally back on map
COFFS HARBOUR businessman Sean Broadbent is similar to the man who liked Gillette razors so much, he bought the company.
Broadbent started out in 2006 by pledging a small sponsorship for an untested, rookie rally driver with big dreams, behind the wheel of a car that was well past its use-by date.
But as the talent of Nathan Quinn blossomed, Broadbent and his company became more and more involved.
So now, he's put up the money to buy the naming rights that will allow the newly-badged Daikin-Allied Air Conditioning Coffs Coast Rally regain the profile and prestige it once held in its glory years, leading up until the mid-1990s.
After falling off the radar, the event will be back in business on November 14-15, the final round of this year's Australian Rally Championship, the most hotly contested championship anywhere in the world.
“This is a great opportunity for Allied Air Conditioning and as Daikin is a key brand, we get local focus and national coverage via the rally championship,” Broadbent said.
“We have been sponsoring young Nathan (Quinn) for almost two years and supporting this young up-and-coming local has been great for our business.
“This is for Coffs Harbour and we are proud to be involved in bringing the highest level of motor sport to the city and obviously, hopeful that the Allied/Daikin car will do very well.”
In its previous heyday as an ARC event, the Coffs Coast Rally was the scene of many epic battles in the forests around Coffs Harbour.
New Zealand-born sporting legend and international rallying superstar, the late Possum Bourne, staged a string of dirt road duels against the likes of Neal Bates and Martin Quinn, father of Nathan.
Thousands used to watch the best cars in the world compete on local soil.
But from around the time champion driver Ed Ordynski arrived in town, backed with the multi million dollar resources of the Mitsubishi Motor Group in an attempt to win the race, it became apparent the event had reached a peak it found hard to climb again.
So it's fitting when the event returns next month, veteran Neal Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor - leaders of the current championship - will return as favourites.
Main challengers will be Simon and Sue Evans in a sister S2000 TRD Corolla.
Also a round of the New South Wales Rally Championship, the event allows 'all comers' and is expected to entice all the leading contenders to venture into town.
From humble beginnings two years ago, Nathan Quinn is now a big chance for NSW honours as he won the last round Myall Stages recently.
This year the rally starts from BCU International Stadium where spectators can get up close and personal with the cars and teams over two full days.
A special website has been set up for the event on www.coffscoastrally.com.au.