York responded warmly to host competitors in the Sydney to London marathon car rally which stopped in town overnight on Easter Monday.

Cars started arriving in York at about 5.00pm and leaving at 7.00am the next morning. Residents and businesses joined forces to welcome the cars as they arrived. The York stopover gave crews a well earned rest after 800 kilometres of rallying from Kalgoorlie including a 120km competitive special stage, the longest in the 19,000km event.

Maurice from Cafe Bugatti said it was great to see the main street alive on a Monday night. Local people took the opportunity to mingle with teams and inspect the cars taking part in the rally. About 50 people took advantage of the street barbecue put on by the cafe. Most eating places and some other businesses were also open, he said.

"It shows what York can do when it works together. "The rally teams were blown away by the welcome they received. "In some places they'd visited there had not been anyone to greet them. "Local co-ordinator, Les Eather and the Shire of York did a wonderful job organizing and promoting the event.  "A number of people commented on how good it was to see York alive at night," Maurice said.

Peter Harbin at the York Motor Museum had 93 visitors through during the day on the Monday and 24 paying visitors in the evening. Rally participants didn't pay so weren’t counted.  The event was a big success, he said.

The first of six London to Sydney marathons was held in 1968 and the 2014 event is being contested  by 33 vehicles  including 1960’s Mustangs, Cortinas, Volvos and Porsches along with 20 support vehicles. The event started in Sydney on  April 12 and will finish in London  May 11.

In Perth the cars were loaded onto a Russian Antonov aircraft and transported to Turkey to start the 6,000 kilometre European stages on the way to London. This year's event is to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2004 event but is being run in reverse from Sydney to London.

Rally organizers thanked the York Shire Council and Shire representative, Gail Maziuk, for their co-operation and help in hosting the event in York. For more details visit www.transworldhistorically.com

Lindsay McNeill

TOP: A York resident chats with a team member from this distinctive green Porsche in Avon Terrace during the stopover.

BELOW: There was a festive atmosphere in the main street as the rally cars arrived in York.  (Photos: David Hovell)