New motor sport regulations passed by the Scottish Parliament last week mean that plans for the Jim Clark Rally to resume can start in earnest.
A fatal accident during the 2014 Jim Clark Rally in which three people died, plus the death of a spectator at the Snowman Rally in 2013, prompted the Scottish Government to look at safety during motor sports events. The Motor Sport on Public Roads (Scotland) Regulations 2019 now brings Scotland into line with regulations in the rest of the UK.
Following the conclusions of a fatal accident inquiry the Scottish Government recognised the need to balance economic benefit and public enjoyment with safety. The new proposals introduce a two-stage process, with motorsports governing bodies given the power to issue permits for events to be held on closed public roads. That allows event organisers to approach the local authority for a motorsports event order.
Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton welcomed the passing of The Motor Sport on Public Roads (Scotland) Regulations 2019, which could enable the Jim Clark Rally to go ahead later this year. She also asked the Transport Secretary to provide additional funding to the rally to help with health and safety related costs.
Ms Hamilton said: “The Jim Clark Rally is important to the Borders economy, especially in Duns and the surrounding area. That is why I asked the Cabinet Secretary for further assistance and resources to be made available to help the operation of the rally.
“With the new museum opening in Duns this year, it is fitting that motor sports enthusiasts have a chance now to see the rally come to fruition.
“Whilst I welcome the passing of this legislation, I had wished it could have been done so earlier in the year, to allow for the initial provisional date in May for the Jim Clark Rally. I know that Scottish Borders Council is very supportive of the event and will do everything it can to try to ensure it takes place this year.”
Jim Clark Rally organisers had set a provisional date (May 24-25) for the re-start of the rally, in the hope that the new regulations were passed and there was time for all the legal requirements to be fulfilled. However, given the timescale, if the rally does go ahead it’s likely to be later in the year.
Ms Hamilton suggested that it is now provisionally due to take place in August, but rally organisers said this week: “At this point in time we cannot confirm a date. We are still in very close discussions with SBC and Transport Scotland.”