Jim Clark Rally brings a bumper weekend of motorsport to the Borders

The Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally made a welcome return to Duns in the Scottish Borders this weekend [27-29 May], as the popular motorsport event blasted back into action with three days of top-level rallying in the region.

A sensational array of drivers from across Europe and the UK took part in both the Jim Clark Rally and Reivers Rally, with around two hundred and forty crews tackling the closed public roads in Berwickshire.

Sponsored by leading construction merchants Beatson’s Building Supplies, the rally returned after a two-year sabbatical but retained many of the features of past events which has heritage back to 1970.

Friday and Saturday’s Jim Clark Rally would play host to round two of Britain’s premier rally series, the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship [BRC] as well as the Protyre National Asphalt Rally Championship and several regional championships.

It was the BRC contenders that would predictably see the biggest battles played out over the first two days as some of the best drivers in the country and beyond went head to head on the tricky Borders roads for the first time this decade.

Friday night provided a double run over the Longformacus stage and it was Irishman Keith Cronin who set a blistering time over the first pass, eight seconds faster than round one winner Osian Pryce. Winner of the event in 2012, Cronin and co-driver Mikie Galvin were in a league of their own by the time the stage ran again in the dark, heading into day two with a 40 second lead in their Volkswagen Polo GTi R5.

Saturday saw him maintain that gap to his nearest challengers James Williams and Dai Roberts in their Hyundai i20 R5, who would take second spot after a gutsy drive, whilst the podium places were rounded out by Duns driver Garry Pearson in his Fiesta Rally2 and co-driver Dale Furniss.

“It feels great, it’s so nice to get a BRC win again,” said Cronin at the finish celebrations in Duns town square.

“Last year didn’t go one hundred per cent to plan for us. So, it was encouraging to see the pace at Clacton and after we started so well here [Jim Clark Rally], it was all about managing the lead.”

“We had to keep our pace up. Today we weren’t quite as flat out as last night, you just can’t let go of the concentration with the level of competition in the British Championship. You start hearing noises & listen out for punctures but it all came good, it was nice to get the win.”

The race to be the top non-BRC crew home centred around the National Asphalt Championship and it would be Steve Wood and Dale Bowen who took the win in their Fiesta WRC.

However it was Duns ace Euan Thorburn who led for most of the day before a hydraulic pipe failure forced him out on the final stage of the rally. Having been out of the driver’s seat for over two years, the local ace would be able to repair the Focus WRC to contest Sunday’s Reivers Rally.

Mark Kelly and Neil Coleman took second with Stephen Simpson and Neil Shanks rounding out the top three.

Pearson would have the honour of the leading Duns driver home, with fellow local Dale Robertson enduring a tough day in his Fiesta Rally2 to finish down in 45th after getting stuck in a ditch. Cornhill’s Michael Binnie took Duns co-driver Claire Mole to sixth in their Mitsubishi whilst St Boswells resident Ross Hunter finished just outside the top 10 in eleventh with Martin Woodcock alongside.

With the Jim Clark Rally done, attentions turned to the Reivers Rally on Sunday and the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship contenders would be all aiming for a maximum points haul on their first visit to asphalt in 2022.

But it was Euan Thorburn who was looking for redemption after his last-minute retirement the previous day, stopping the clocks on an equal time with Rory Young in his Fiesta Rally2 on the first stage of six.

Heading into the mid-point service halt, Thornburn and co-driver Paul Beaton opened out a 13-second lead to David Bogie and John Rowan in the raucous MINI WRC and the two crews would fight it out over the final three tests.

Thorburn did enough to keep Bogie at bay in the afternoon loop taking a superb win on his home event, adding to his 2012 victory on the rally. Bogie’s result would also give him maximum points in the Scottish Rally Championship.

Steeped in history, the Jim Clark Rally first ran in 1970 and has remained one of the most prestigious stage rallies in the country. Names on the winner’s trophy include Roger Clark and Ari Vatanen. The event is named after Jim Clark OBE who was a two-time Formula One Champion, a winner of the Indianapolis 500 and a host of saloon and touring car races and hailed from Chirnside.

Jim Clark Rally set for spectacular weekend of action

The Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally will welcome a dazzling list of rally crews to Duns this weekend [27-29 May] as the best drivers in the UK and beyond head to the Scottish Borders for the revitalised event.

Over two hundred and forty drivers will tackle the closed public roads in Berwickshire across three days of motorsport action, bringing the sport of rallying into the heart of the community. The Jim Clark Rally will play host to the top-flight Motorsport UK British Rally Championship for the first time since 2014, as well as the Protyre National Asphalt Rally Championship and a host of regional series.

Sunday’s Reivers Rally will see contenders in the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship make their first foray onto asphalt this season in the Borders and will once again be joined by an impressive list of popular regional rally championships.

Sponsored by leading construction merchants Beatson’s Building Supplies, the rally returns after a two-year sabbatical due to the pandemic but enjoys a fresh look, more akin to past events. On offer, will be three days of competition of over around 115 miles of special stages, using classic tests from previous editions, coupled with new twists to challenge the crews to the limit.

Centred around Duns, the market town hosts the Rally HQ and service areas, and the Town Square will see the Ceremonial Rally Starts and Finishes take place on the famous cobbles. Crews will be flagged away from the town on Friday at 19:00 with two passes of the Longformacus stage ahead of them, the latter of which will be under the cover of darkness.

Day two sees a move to the southwest of Duns with Eccles, Westruther and the Scott’s View tests being run twice throughout the day with the British Championship crews tackling Eccles for the third time. The popular rally ceremonial town centre finish celebrations, presentations and champagne spray, will take place from 16:00.

Sunday’s Reivers event is a shorter but no less impressive blast and once again enjoys a ceremonial start at 10:00 from Duns and heads northeast for the popular Fogo, Ayton and Edrom stages before the finish celebrations at 14:00.

Steeped in history, the Jim Clark Rally first ran in 1970 and has remained one of the most prestigious stage rallies in the country. Names on the winner’s trophy include Roger Clark and Ari Vatanen and aiming to stamp their name alongside the legends of rallying are number one seeds, Osian Pryce and Noel O’Sullivan.

The British Rally Championship heavy hitters join the Jim Clark Rally on Friday and Saturday, and Pryce was the runner up in the series in 2021. The Welshman is looking to go one better in his Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 this season and is on track after a round one win in Essex but has a former Jim Clark winner hot on his heels in Irishman Keith Cronin.

Cronin and co-driver Mikie Galvin will look for their first BRC win since 2017 and will also be in a Polo R5. Making it a top-four Volkswagen affair, Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson start the event at number three, making their BRC1 debut in a Polo, whilst teammates Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke join them at car four.

Duns is strongly represented too with local ace Euan Thorburn contesting his first event since 2020. Driving his familiar Ford Focus WRC, the Scottish Champion has Paul Beaton on the notes and will also tackle Sunday’s Reivers. But the fight for bragging rights will be on between him and fellow Duns driver Garry Pearson. Driving a Fiesta Rally2, Pearson will be putting all his local knowledge to the test and could well secure his first BRC win on home soil. He has Dale Furniss in the co-driver’s seat.

James Williams and Dai Roberts round out the top five in their Hyundai i20 R5 and will be searching for more BRC podiums after a Clacton third overall. Behind them, a blistering array of crews and cars all eager to sample the Border roads as it returns to its May slot for the first time since 2014.

The Reivers Rally also sees a sensational entry thanks to the Scottish Rally Championship, headed by 2011 rally winner David Bogie. Driving a fan favourite Mini JCW WRC, Bogie and John Rowan will be using the machine on asphalt for the first time, as they resume their SRC bid. Currently, joint leader of the series, Bogie will hope to pull out a lead on nearest challenger, Cornhill’s Michael Binnie in his Mitsubishi who starts at four with Duns co-driver Claire Mole.

Another Duns driver Dale Robertson tackles his first rally since 2019 and has World Rally Championship co-driver Stuart Loudon in the co-driver’s seat for both the Jim Clark and Reivers Rally. They will use a Fiesta R5, as will Freddie Milne and Patrick Walsh would round out the top five.

Spectators will be well catered for across the rally weekend with plenty of opportunities to catch the action on the stages and get up close to the stars and cars during event formalities.

The Town Centre of Duns will host the Start and Finish celebrations with commentary by Knockhill’s Duncan Vincent and a big screen showing the action from the stages. Mid-event regroups will also take place in the centre, meaning cars will never be far away throughout the weekend.

Spectator access to watch the action is available on many stages in the rally, with full information available on the rally website and in programmes which are available throughout the town of Duns during the rally week.

The Jim Clark Rally is also a round of the AS Performance North of England Tarmacadam Championship, ANECCC SG Petch Rally Championship, HRCR Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship and the Armed Forces Rally Championship. The Reivers also welcomes the Burnside Piling Scottish Tarmac Championship and Fuchs Lubricants RACRMC Asphalt/Rally2 Mixed Surface Rally Championship.