End of an era for Charterhall circuit

Des Campbell and Alex Orrdunring Charterhall Stages Rally
Des Campbell and Alex Orrdunring Charterhall Stages Rally

This Saturday sees the last ever running of the Border Ecosse Car Club’s Charterhall Stages Rally at Charterhall airfield.

The old circuit, once graced by the likes of Jim Clark, is starting to feel its age and this year’s rally is the last to be run there.

After the war ended in 1945, Charterhall airfield lay free, only used by farmers for crops. The first Charterhall race meeting was held on Saturday May 31, 1952. The aerodrome was a natural location for a race track. A two-mile circuit was easily marked out on the land using parts of the runway and this led to a seemingly endless straight which helped overtaking manoeuvres.

This was not, however, the first official motor race meeting in Scotland. In 1950 three locals were looking for somewhere to practice before taking part in English events. The three, Alec Calder, David Swan and Jock McBain used Winfield a neighbouring wartime aerodrome.

The circuit was in use for 12 years hosting various events ranging from formula 2, formula Libre, Formula Junior and many other types of motor racing. Charterhall was also used by Ecuree Ecosse as a testing ground for their cars over the 12 years.

The circuit at Charterhall was driven by many of the worlds top drivers through its time including Sir Stirling Moss, Roy Salvadori, Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina and the Borders’ very own Jim Clark who was also world Champion 1963 and 65. Jim saw his 1st ever race at Charterhall where he then spent a lot of time competing.

A couple of years after the circuit was put out of action to motorsport racing in 1969, Major Trotter began managing the estate. Until this day the Trotter family have been in command of the famous aerodrome. The first rally was held here in 1986 and won by Martin Elsdon and Dave Robson.

The event is a counter in the Borders Rally Championship, Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship, Border Ecosse Car Club Championship and the Brick and Steel Junior 1000cc Challenge. The action starts at 9am.