Motorhome rally: What can Bingara expect?

December 13, 2007

Bingara may be able to look forward to traffic lights on the Bridge as 1000 motor homes make their way to the showground, if anticipated numbers prove correct for the Campervan and Motor Home Rally, coming to Bingara next October. Councillor David Rose, who is the Liaison Councillor for the rally, said that this will be a “big event for the area and particularly for Bingara.”

Close to 50 people attended the community meeting held at the Council chambers, to hear about plans for the rally. Chairs were in short supply as people overflowed into the hallway leading from the Chambers, to catch what was being said.

John and Judy Chaffey, residents of Bingara, who have attended most of the rallies, were able to provide some advice on a number of questions which were raised at the meeting. However, rally managers, David and Lyn Fricke will be in Bingara in January. They intend holding a meeting with town residents and business houses to discuss the event. They will then return in July, intending to stay until October when the rally will take place. They are hoping there will be around 1500 motor homes in Bingara for the rally, which will be the biggest one yet. All the visitors will have pre-registered as there is a limit to how many can attend.

The Campervan and Motor Home Club has 22,000 financial members, 70% of whom live less than a day’s drive from Bingara. The average age of members is 68.

Fourteen days prior to the rally, 250 maintenance men will arrive at the showground to make sure all is in order. Amenities blocks will be erected as well as a bank of portable toilets. A marquee with capacity for 2000 people will also be erected for the evenings’ entertainment. In the weeks leading up to the rally, motor homes will start arriving in Bingara and surrounding districts. They will not, however, be allowed onto the site until the opening day of the rally.

There will be about 80 exhibitors at the showground with everything from new motor homes to solar powered systems and everything associated with motor home living in between. Local businesses can apply for a stand as an exhibitor. An Open Day is held during the week which is the only opportunity for those outside the Motor Home Rally community to visit the showground unless they have business to conduct.

There will be buses running from the showground into town all day as the “motor homers” generally like to eat out, the meeting was told. There will also be a variety of day tours available for the visitors which will take them to neighbouring towns as well as the local tourist attractions. Town walking tours are also on the agenda.

The local clubs will have the opportunity to meet the visitors as they are usually keen to participate in an organised golf and bowls day. More details of what is possible to organise should be available when meetings are held with David and Lyn Fricke.

The Motor Homes Club publishes a magazine in which Bingara business houses can advertise after the next rally in Broken Hill at Easter. Bingara will be promoted at that rally and a presentation will be made by a representative from Bingara.

Some concern was expressed at the meeting that Bingara may not be able to cope with the influx of so many people. Simple matters like storage room for the amount of dairy foods that are going to be required, shelf space for the hundreds of loaves of bread as well as the issue of having enough money in the ATMs were all raised. The answer seemed to emphasise the importance of planning and preparation for the numbers involved. Refrigerated trucks might have to be hired, the Medical Centre is going to have another locum on duty. The meeting was told that when David and Lyn Fricke arrive, they will have figures from the two most recent rallies and it will be up to shopkeepers to stock up and prepare suppliers accordingly. The organisers are mindful that the rally will put a big strain on the resources of Bingara and they will do all they can to assist, the meeting was told.

When asked about the impact on the town’s power supply, Cr Rose responded that facilities at the showground will be upgraded. “It will handle it,” he said. The point was also made that Council has to supply a maximum of 300 powered sites, which will be metered, most motor homes being self-sufficient in power.

An exciting aspect of the rally is that the visitors like to donate something to the host town. It may take the form of a donation to the hospital or charity group. Neighbouring towns also benefit from the motorhomers’ largesse. The meeting was told that David and Lyn Fricke would welcome suggestions as to which charities should benefit from funds raised throughout the rally.