Local residents warmly welcome amateur drivers at Geko Ypres Rally
Throughout its almost 50-year long history, the Geko Ypres Rally has always been eager to offer amateur teams a warm welcome and tried to make their registration and participation as easy as possible. The organizers are well aware that one of the main hurdles for foreign amateur teams to register are the rising costs for accommodation and lodging.
Just like previous years, the Geko Ypres Rally can offer a limited number of free stays with local people in the Ypres region, the perfect opportunity for local residents and foreign teams to get closer to one another. Even former winner Henrik Lundgard enjoyed this local hospitality when he clinched victory in 2000.
Free lodging for amateurs is made possible thanks to the Ypres Rally Invitation Club. Established in 1993, the Rally Invitation Club coordinates between drivers and residents and in this way greatly contributes to the magic of the rally. Luc Dehaene, the current Ypres town Mayor, is the godfather of this initiative.
Alain Penasse Rally Manager, Geko Ypres Rally said: "As organiser we fully understand how difficult it is to find the necessary budget to go rallying. Therefore, we have a group within our organising committee who deals with the enthusiastic local population to convince them to welcome privateer rally drivers. Through the years, we have seen several friendships coming out from this initiative and that is what makes our sport so popular ! "
Luc Dehaene Ypres Town Mayor: Since decades, the Geko Ypres Rally is the sports billboard of our town. Ypres and its rally have almost become synonyms. Besides the professional drivers, it is key that the rally offers enough chances to young talented drivers. These young pilots deserve our support and each year, the Rally Invitation Club offers a special and important support: free accommodation of these teams with local people in the Ypres region. This is an important money saver on the budget of these teams and is even more important for the personal contacts between the participants and the host families. Long friendships have grown out of this and we as town council consider this just as important. This is why I accepted the godparenthood with pleasure.