Sunderland festival promising a rally good time

MOTOR sport fans are in for a treat this month – and two lucky Journal readers could be in the driving seat.

MOTOR sport fans are in for a treat this month – and two lucky Journal readers could be in the driving seat.

On Saturday, June 15, a specially prepared rally stage is to be installed in Herrington Country Park.

For one day only, powerful cars will race around the park driven by Britain’s top rally drivers.

It is a first for the Sunderland Festival, now in its third year, and is designed to highlight the automotive industry’s importance to the North East’s economy.

But it is hoped that the Sunderland Rally Experience could become a regular event in the city, which is considering a bid to be part of a prestigious international rallying competition.

Sky Sports F1 pundit Tony Jardine is spearheading a move to bring a stage of the FIA European Rally Championship to Wearside.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Paul Watson said: “We are always on the lookout to bring something new and exciting to our city and the surrounding area.

“With the Sunderland International Airshow, stadium concerts and the Sunderland Festival, we have shown year after year that Sunderland is a great place to hold big events.

“This rally ‘taster’ is a fantastic opportunity for people to see first hand some of the skill, dedication and preparation needed to drive a special rally stage. It also gives organisers and other interested parties a chance to sit down and talk through potential plans and opportunities.”

The popular Sunderland Festival, which this year celebrates Sunderland’s 21 years as a city, runs over the whole weekend and also offers an outdoor screening of Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup victory, a series of films and live music as well as family events.

Last year, the hugely popular open-air festival celebrated the Olympic torch relay in Sunderland, attracting 40,000 people.

Spectators for the rally are encouraged to arrive before the main event opens at 11am. The rally stage will open at 10.30am and the cars will run for approximately two hours.

Readers of The Journal have the chance to win the wildest ride they will ever take through Herrington Country Park. For full details, see the panel.

Sunderland Festival is free to attend. See

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David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer