Five times Scottish Rally Champion and former British Champion David Bogie heads the entry for Sunday’s Jim Clark Reivers Rally.
The 2015 event will be returning to the forests for a one off event under the Jim Clark Reivers name and running on the traditional Sunday as there will be no closed road event until 2016.
The rally’s ceremonial start will take place at Kelso’s Springwood Park with the 80 crews heading down into the famous Kielder Forest complex for a number of challenging stages with the last stage 12.5 miles long.
David Bogie, from Dumfries, co-driven by Jedburgh’s Kevin Rae, in a Ford Fiesta R5+, has two of his main rivals for the 2015 title right behind him - Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas) in a Subaru Impreza and Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge) in a Mitsubishi Evo 9.
The number four seed is Newcastle’s Peter Taylor in a Ford Fiesta S2400, but he’s no stranger to this area as the family holiday business is based in Jedburgh.
The number five seed, Banchory’s Bruce McCombie in a Mitsubishi Evo 9, is actually the current leader of the Scottish Rally Championship after three rounds. Consistency, with one second place and two fourths has given McCombie a healthy lead at this early stage of the national series, but Bogie is only 20 points behind.
Jedburgh’s Louise Rae will be on the notes once again for Malton’s Steve Bannister in the very rapid Ford Escort Mk2 at No 10.
Carrying Berwickshire’s hopes is Duns driver Dale Robertson in his Mitsubishi Evo 9. Co-driven by Tranent’s Paul McGuire, Dale is seeded at No 17.
Other Borders competitors include: Ian Baumgart (Hawick) and Mike Dickson (Galashiels), Subaru Impreza; Scott Mabeth (Rosemarkie) and Callum Atkinson (Lauder), Vauxhall Nova; Garry Wilson and Scott Young (both Duns), Mitsubishi Evo 5; Gordon Murray (Perth) and David O’Brien (Duns), Ford Escort Mk 2; Peter Humphrey and Douglas Humphrey (both Dunbar), Opel Kadett Coupe; Colin Aitchison and Richard Simmonds (both Duns), Vauxhall Chevette HSR; James Gibb (Kilmarnock) and Iain Robson (St Boswells), Subaru Impreza; Walter Aitken and Sean Liddell (both Duns), Ford Escort Mk 1; Iain Heard and Alastair Maxwell (both Ancrum), Ford escort Mk 2; Carin Logan (Kelso) and Christine Sanderson (Berwick), Citroen Saxo VTS.
An added attraction for the 2015 Jim Clark Reivers Rally features the return of the Forces’ Land Rovers. The Armed Forces have long supported the ‘Closed Road’ Jim Clark Rally in previous years as the event provides excellent training in teamwork, navigation, time-keeping and fast driving.
Throughout the year, in their own night-navigation exercises, drivers from all three armed forces compete to win the chance to contest a small number of motor rallies throughout the UK. Not for them Subaru Imprezas or Ford Escorts, they compete in Land Rover Wolf diesel powered 4x4 utility vehicles.
Specially adapted to compete on special stage motor rallies, these great lolloping and lumbering beasts are surprisingly agile in the hands of their experienced ‘pilots’ and provide a treat for spectators as they bring up the tail end of the field. Often regarded as the golden retrievers amongst a field of greyhounds, the Land Rover squadron is well worth watching.
Flying the flag for the Borders in the Land Rovers is Selkirk driver John Hickinbotham who will be co-driven by Chris McCarthy.