It’s one of the biggest weekends in British motor sport - the Jim Clark and Reivers Rallies (Friday, May 30, to Sunday, June 1).
The rally have more cars contesting more miles than last November’s Rally Wales GB, Britain’s counter in the World Rally Championship.
Even more impressive is the fact that from top to bottom, the event is being organised and managed by amateur enthusiasts from many car clubs across Scotland and the north of England, and even further afield. This is a ‘professional-free’ zone.
It’s remarkable that so much can be accomplished by so few in their spare time. The organisation of the majority of rallies across the UK is in fact carried out by amateur enthusiasts for whom the 24 hour clock was surely invented. That in no way infers that the organisation of such events, especially this closed public road Jim Clark Rally, is anything less than professional in presentation and management
Indeed the organisers have well over 40 years of experience on which to draw since Russell Close won the first Jim Clark Rally way back in 1970 driving a Mark1 Ford Escort.
Since then, the event has been transformed and grown into one of the most important and prestigious rallies in the British club calendar. Over two days and one evening, this year’s events will have 26 Special Stages totalling some 197.6 miles compared to Rally Wales GB’s 22 Stages and 194 stage mile duration.
Drivers to watch out for this year include 21 year old Welshman, Osian Pryce, who won the opening round of the British Rally Championship in Carlisle less than a month ago. That event was run over the gravel roads of Kielder Forest whereas the Jim Clark features a complete change of surface with nothing but asphalt under their wheels.
Having won the Jim Clark National Rally for the past two years local hope Euan Thorburn heads the REIS MSA Asphalt Rally Championship entry in his Ford Focus WRC ahead of current series leader, Subaru Impreza driver Steve Simpson (from Radcliffe).
Sunday’s Jim Clark Reivers Rally will see Thorburn (from Duns) back in action again battling for honours with Scottish champion Davuid Bogie (from Dumfries). And here’s another tantalising treat. Running at number 7 in the entry list is Dom Buckley from Kelso. His grandfather won the Jim Clark Rally back in 1984 and his father won it in 1998. No pressure then on the latest generation!