Jim Clark Rally back for 2019?

Friday night, Duns town centre stage of 2014 Jim Clark Rally
Friday night, Duns town centre stage of 2014 Jim Clark Rally

The Jim Clark Rally could return to Berwickshire in May if Scottish Government draft legislation is passed in time.

The rally, held on closed roads around Berwickshire, has not taken place since three spectators were killed during the 2014 event.

Following that the Scottish Government reviewed the safety of rally events in Scotland and consulted on proposals designed to improve safety.

The proposed safety measures have been received positively during a public consultation period and the draft legislation to cover the new rules for applying for and putting on motorsports events has just been published.

However, it is understood this legislation is expected to take several weeks to be scrutinised and passed by the Scottish Parliament.

Jim Clark Rally organisers have continued to work with Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland on resuming the event which is a major contributor to the local economy, but the timeline is going to be tight for all parties to process the necessary applications for the rally which they hope can take place on May 24 and 25, this year.

A statement from rally organisers said: “The organisers of the Jim Clark Memorial Rally have been greatly encouraged by recent developments in the Scottish Parliament to help overcome the barriers to closed public road rallying in Scotland.

“Such a move will bring the country in line with other parts of the UK.

“The recently concluded public consultation on the new proposals proved there was an overwhelming desire for such a move which would benefit not only motor sports fans but also many other sporting interests and pursuits.

The public consultation process attracted 3,788 replies of which slightly more than

continued on page 3

98% were positive.

“Business and commercial interests, as well as local authorities, also welcomed these positive steps especially on the Isle of Mull and in the Scottish Borders which led the way in establishing the sport on ‘mainland’ UK.

“To that end, the organisers of the Jim Clark Memorial Rally have been maintaining contact and continued working with Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland in hopeful anticipation that rallying could return sooner rather than later. Arrangements and plans are already in place to facilitate a quick resumption of the sport on completion of the parliamentary process.

“Potential rally competitors, officials, volunteers and fans right across the UK are therefore advised to ‘pencil in’ two important dates, 24 May 24 and 25, 2019, and plan their routes to the eastern Scottish Borders.

Borders MP John Lamont has welcomed news that this year’s rally may be able to go ahead but has cautioned organisers that it is going to be a race to get the legislation passed in time.

Mr Lamont said: “The Jim Clark Rally was a major contributor to the Borders economy and the loss of the event for the past few years has been a big blow to the organisers, local businesses and motor sports enthusiasts alike.

“I know that Scottish Borders Council is very supportive of the event and will do everything they can to try to ensure it takes place this year.

“However, the new rules have only just been published and the legislation needs to go through the Scottish Parliament. We are only 11 weeks away from the proposed rally date, which means the race is very much on to get the new rules implemented and to process the application to hold a rally.

“The Jim Clark Rally is a major event and making sure the legislation is right and the event is run safely has to be the priority. Given the commitment of the council to do all it can, I am hopeful that the rally will return to the Borders soon.”