The Association of Scottish Motoring Writers has presented Doctor John Harrington with this year’s Ford-supported Jim Clark Memorial Award
Dr Harrington receives the award in recognition of his work raising medical standards and improving safety at rallies for almost 30 years.
Chief medical officer of the Highland Snowman Rally in Inverness since 1987, Dr Harrington started volunteering at a time when a doctor was required simply to be within a reasonable distance of rally stages.
Within a few years the Keith-based GP was applying his medical expertise and his keen interest in the sport to the safety planning of rallies. In particular, ensuring both medical and recovery teams worked closer preparing for rallies, handling incidents, holding joint debriefs and making recommendations back to the Motor Sports Association (MSA).
Dr Harrington today recruits new doctors and paramedics to the Scottish Motorsport Marshals Club, runs medically-related training for marshals and is a MSA international training instructor.
“New medics benefit from our excellent emergency medicine courses on advanced life support, for example, which most would have to do for their careers anyway, and this helps them gain confidence outside of the hospital environment,” said Dr Harrington.
“For me, this kind of contribution and improving links between motorsport and the local emergency services has become a hobby and an extra-curricular interest.
“For it to be publicly recognised with the Association’s Jim Clark Award is both a personal honour and a tribute to the skilled safety and rescue teams we have on Scottish rallies.”
Alisdair Suttie, Association of Scottish Motor Writers President, said: “At a time when rally safety is in the spotlight, we were especially pleased to present this year’s Jim Clark Memorial Award to a medically qualified winner.
“Dr Harrington demonstrates the planning and preparation that goes into motorsport events, the high levels of expertise available to competitors and the professionalism which swings into action when required.”
This was Dr Harrington’s second award linked with Jim Clark – last year he received the Scottish Motorsport Marshals Club’s trophy that is presented in honour of the Scottish Formula 1 champion killed at Hockenheim in 1968.
Previous recipients of the joint Ford and Scottish Motoring Writers’ Jim Clark Award for their contribution to transport and motorsport include Sir Jackie Stewart, David Coulthard, former Duns rally driver Louise Aitken-Walker, and Andrew Fraser – the Scottish Ford engineer who led the 680-strong team that designed and developed Ford’s award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.
Dr Harrington is the first medical doctor to have received this award.