Jim Clark Rally organisers reach out to spectators ahead of 2024 event

The Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally brought some of the best motorsport action in the country to the Scottish Borders last weekend [26-28 May] as the three-day closed road event took place for the 47th time.

A sensational weekend of action brought thousands of eager motorsport fans and casual followers to the region to witness some of the best drivers in the world tackle the iconic Borders roads near the Duns rally base.

But the Jim Clark Memorial Motor Club Ltd, organisers of the popular event, have issued a stark warning to spectators wishing to attend the event in 2024. Due to the actions of a small number of fans, the event was almost halted during the Reivers Rally on Sunday, when the spectators failed to move from their location and stay off the road.

As a condition of the event taking place, once the road has been closed, under the ‘Motor Sport on Public Roads (Scotland) Regulations 2019 and Temporary Traffic Restriction Order’, the law prohibits unauthorised persons to set foot on those roads closed for the rally, which includes spectators attempting to recover cars.

Despite repeated requests by event safety marshals, during the Scott’s View and Westruther stages, several spectators refused to abide by those requests and the stage was halted. A team was dispatched to the location to resolve the issue but could have well caused the cancellation of the stage, or the event.

Clerk of the Course, Jonathan Lord has issued a plea to spectators ahead of the 2024 running of the rally.

“The Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally is one of the biggest stage rallies to take place in the UK and attracts attention from across the country as enthusiasts are eager to watch the drivers in action,” he says.

“The safety of everyone involved in the Jim Clark Rally from spectators and residents to competitors and officials is our highest priority.

“Once the road is closed for the rally, it becomes an offence to walk on the road, including heading onto the road to recover or push cars, and it is a condition of use that this is policed. But a small number of people chose to ignore that and sadly we had to stop the stage to deal with their actions and relocate them. That subsequently causes delays and could stop the entire rally, spoiling it for both competitors and fans”.

Lord wishes to reiterate ahead of next year’s event, that spectators are more than welcome at the rally, but must adhere to the safety guidelines.

“It was just a small number of people who caused the issues, but we work closely with the Police and Local Authorities during the rally, and they will have no hesitation in pulling the plug on the event. But I`m confident that our like-minded rally fans will heed the advice for next year and we can continue to enjoy this ground breaking event”.

Organisers will also be looking at ways to improve the spectator experience.

“We have received some feedback from spectators that some of the viewing areas were less than ideal this year. Sadly, we don’t have the luxury of grandstands or stadiums and are working totally with the natural landscape around us and what we can utilise thanks to the generosity of local landowners. However, we appreciate that we need to review these for 2024 to ensure they can enjoy this spectacular event even more.”

A message from the family of John Dickson.

Tragically, on Friday night of the event, a spectator took unwell and passed away.

The family would like us to post this message to you all.

I would like to give my sincere appreciation to all the doctors paramedics marshals who were involved in trying to bring my father in law back last night at the spectator area. It was Johns first time at a rally and was excited to be coming along to spectate and take photos. Unfortunately he didn’t even get a chance to have his bacon roll. We lost his wife, Mum and Gran in December and as you can imagine this has been quite traumatic for myself and my wife, brother in law and grandchildren. Also my friends who were there with him.
Everyone involved including all the medical staff and staff working the coffee stall, Marshals emergency services were fantastic and all the spectators who stood in calm whilst he was worked on. From me and my family I have cannot describe the appreciation of the efforts taken by all, Including a very great friend who worked on him relentlessly.

I have been involved with rallying for a number of years whether navigating, driving, spectating or marshalling and can say John would not have wanted the rally to be stopped or cancelled on his behalf.

RIP Johnny, you will be missed greatly.

Mark Stewart.

Jim Clark Rally enjoys a blistering weekend in the Borders

The Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally brought some of the best drivers in the business to the Scottish Borders this weekend [26-28 May], as the three-day motorsport event took place on the closed roads around Duns.

The market town offered a fantastic backdrop for the rally, hosting the event service area and the centre itself seeing the cars assemble for the start and finish celebrations throughout the weekend. A big screen played live coverage of the rally to the fans who were able to get up close to the cars as they passed through Market Square.

A top-class line up of contenders from across the world gathered to contest the highly regarded rally, with almost two hundred and forty crews tackling the closed public roads in Berwickshire on both the Jim Clark and Reivers events.

Sponsored once again by leading construction merchants Beatson’s Building Supplies, the Jim Clark Rally took place across Friday and Saturday, hosting Motorsport UK British Rally Championship [BRC] as well as the Protyre National Asphalt Rally Championship and several regional championships. Sunday saw the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship contenders join for the Reivers Rally.

The British Rally Championship attracted top-level crews and it was unsurprisingly a familiar name that secured the overall rally win. The Jim Clark Rally enjoyed its traditional format of two tests during Friday night and an action-packed evening saw World Rally Championship contenders Adrien Fourmaux and Alex Coria open up a twenty-eight second advantage by the time the sun dropped over the North Sea.

The all-French Ford Fiesta Rally2 crew, are regulars on the WRC tour and as M-Sport factory drivers, would be hard to bet against. That lead, over last year’s victors Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin would be more than enough to ensure they could manage their lead throughout Saturday’s stages, returning to the Duns town centre to spray the champagne as worthy winners.

“We can be really happy with that, and the car has been in a good position all weekend so yes, very happy,” said Fourmaux.

“We were really enjoying the rally; it was really technical and slippery in places. We had a really good day yesterday and then we could just enjoy the stages today.”

“I am really enjoying [the British Rally Championship] and it is very different being on the gravel and then the tarmac. It is really interesting.”

Cronin managed to salvage second place in his Volkswagen Polo R5 whilst the Duns honours were upheld by a flying Euan Thorburn who took third place in his similar machine and Paul Beaton alongside.

The battle outside the top three was intense and a gutsy driver from Citroen C3 Rally2 driver James Ford, saw him take maximum National Asphalt Championship points and fourth overall with Neil Shanks in the co-driver’s seat. David Henderson and Chris Lees rounded out the top five in their Fiesta Rally2.

Local hopes had rested with Garry Pearson thanks to his third overall last year on the event, but the Duns driver suffered a painful weekend behind the wheel. A brush with a bale on the opening stage of the rally rearranged the bodywork of the Volkswagen Polo before he sadly crashed out for good on the very next stage.

With Thorburn claiming the podium, it was Dale Robertson who was next best Duns driver home in eighth in his Fiesta Rally2, whilst St Boswell’s Ross Hunter took 13th in his Mitsubishi Evo and the all-Duns crew of Michael Binnie and Claire Mole took 14th spot in their similar machine.

On Sunday, attention turned to the Reivers Rally and the battle for the rally win enjoyed some familiar names. Thorburn secured a win here last year and once again was fastest on the opening stage, fresh from his podium place the day before. Henderson was his nearest challenger, and the two drivers enjoyed a tit-for-tat battle for victory throughout the day’s six tests.

It was Thorburn’s time on the second pass of the Westruther test which decided the outcome, and despite Henderson’s best efforts, could not catch the local ace as he stormed to back-to-back Reivers Rally wins. Henderson had some consolation in taking maximum Scottish Rally Championship points with second overall.

Hugh Brunton and Drew Sturrock secured the third and final podium place in third in their Skoda Fabia R5. 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.

Urgent message from the organisers

The event is at risk of being halted by the authorities if spectators do not abide by the following:

• Spectators must not walk on a live rally stage – it is an offence to do so and occurrences could lead to the rally being halted.

• Spectators must NOT assist or recover stranded or stopped rally cars on the stages

• The Police and authorities are willing to make arrests and prosecute should these requests not be adhered to.

The organising team

Jim Clark Rally Statement

It is with immense sadness that we inform the community of the passing of a Jim Clark Rally spectator, who was taken unwell and pronounced dead at the scene, on Friday 26 May 2023.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 7.40pm on Friday, 26 May, 2023, police were made aware of a 73-year-old man having taken unwell at the Jim Clark Rally in the Abbey St Bathans area of Duns.

“Emergency services attended and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Officers remain in attendance.”

Jim Clark Rally Officials acted immediately to assist emergency services after receiving a notification through the command centre. We remain in contact and continue to assist emergency services.

The thoughts and condolences of everyone at the Jim Clark Rally go out to man’s family, friends and loved ones.

World-class drivers head to Duns for the Jim Clark Rally

The Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally has attracted a world-class entry ahead of this weekend’s event [26-28 May] as around 240 drivers get set to tackle the highly acclaimed three-day closed road motorsport event.

Heralded as one of the most popular stage rallies in the UK, the Jim Clark Rally has taken place for almost fifty years and continues to attract leading drivers to the Scottish Borders and the closed public roads in Berwickshire.

And this year will be no exception, as stars from across the world head for the market town of Duns to tackle the top-drawer event, competing across some of the most iconic stages in the country in a bid for the coveted rally win.

Sponsored by leading construction merchants Beatson’s Building Supplies, the rally returns with a slightly adapted format for 2023, with the three days and almost 110 miles of competitive driving split into the now traditional two-event structure. Using classic tests from previous editions, the event remains fresh and exciting with many stages being moved to alternative days.

The top-flight Motorsport UK British Rally Championship returns to the fold for the Friday and Saturday legs, with fans enjoying a glimpse into the pace of the UK’s premier rally series, as well as the Protyre National Asphalt Rally Championship and a host of regional championships.

The KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship contenders will tackle Sunday’s Reivers Rally with a bumper entry list bolstered by an impressive list of popular local rally championships.

The traditional rally base in Duns town hosts the Rally HQ and service areas, and the Market Square in the centre will see the Ceremonial Rally Starts and Finishes take place on the famous cobbles. In a repeat of 2022, 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.

However, day two sees a switch to stages in the northeast, with Fogo, Ayton and Edrom being run twice throughout the day before the fan-favourite ceremonial finish, presentations and champagne spray celebrations back in Duns, set to take place from 13:45.

Sunday’s Reivers event is a shorter day but no less impressive and once again enjoys a ceremonial start at 10:00 from Duns and heads southwest for the popular Eccles, Westruther and Scott’s View tests being run twice throughout the day, before the finish celebrations from 16:00.

Steeped in history, the Jim Clark Rally first ran in 1970 with names on the winner’s trophy including Roger Clark and Ari Vatanen, so there is no doubt the race to etch a new name alongside rallying royalty will be an intense one.

Leading the field away is Frenchman and World Rally Championship driver Adrien Fourmaux who is dovetailing a British Rally Championship campaign with his WRC commitments.

The M-Sport Ford factory driver took victory at the opening round of the BRC in March but will be visiting the Scottish Borders for the very first time in a bid to gain additional seat time behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta Rally2 and will be joined by Alexandre Coria in the co-drivers seat.

They will have last year’s Jim Clark Rally winners Keith Cronin and Mikie Galvin breathing down their necks however as they return in their Volkswagen Polo GTi R5. The breathtaking performance in 2022 underlined their asphalt pace and a repeat victory would also assist the Irishman’s quest for a fifth BRC title.

Callum Black and Jack Morton are fresh from a Manx National win in their Fiesta Rally2 so head to Scotland on form. They also lead the National Asphalt crews away and will aim to score well in both championships. Also in a Fiesta Rally2, are James Williams and Dai Roberts who will be using the Ford on asphalt for the first time this season. They took second place in the event in 2022 so will be one to watch in new machinery.

Elliot Payne and Tom Woodburn round out the top five seeds, also using a Fiesta Rally2 and managed fifth pace here last season on only Payne’s second-ever asphalt event at the time.

The Scottish flags will be flying for a swathe of home – heroes as several Duns drivers set out their stall to take a coveted home win. Leading them away is Garry Pearson who has made a switch to a Polo R5 for the remainder of his BRC campaign. He took third last year and could now have the machinery to challenge up front. The experienced Dan Barritt will co-drive.

Local ace Euan Thorburn took the Reivers Rally win last year but this time around, he will tackle both events in his Ford Focus WRC. With Paul Beaton alongside, it’s been 12 months since his last outing but don’t underestimate the Duns man in the lanes. Another Duns driver Dale Robertson makes his annual outing and has Keir Beaton on the notes and are piloting a Fiesta Rally2.

Multiple Scottish Rally Champion David Bogie brings the noise with his Ford Escort MKII and is front-running two-wheel drive with Kevin Rae alongside.

One of the most famous family names in rallying will also be represented during the weekend, with Max McRae, son of 1995 British Champion Alister contesting the event. The Australian driver will be fresh from his FIA European Rally Championship debut in Poland and will give the Opel Corsa Rally4 its UK maiden outing in the process.

Sunday’s Reivers Rally sees the Scottish Rally Championship join the lineup and will be headed by Thorburn who will be aiming for the double in his Focus. Pearson will also be looking for a clean sweep as he re-joins for the event, as will 2011 rally winner Bogie. An impressive top ten also includes SRC leader Jock Armstrong and Hannah McKillop in a Subaru Impreza, as well as Cornhill’s Michael Binnie in his Mitsubishi with Duns co-driver Claire Mole alongside.

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.

Duns will be a hive of activity during the rally weekend with commentary by Knockhill’s Duncan Vincent and a big screen showing the action from the stages and cars will never be far away during the rally.

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.

A full list of entries for the Jim Clark Rally is available HERE
A full list of entries for the Reivers Rally is available HERE
Spectator information and times are available HERE