The Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally lived up to its reputation as one of the finest stage rallies in the UK as a thrilling weekend of motorsport action unfolded on the closed public roads near Duns [May 24-26].

Named in memory of two-time Formula 1 world champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Clark, the Scottish Borders-based event has been running for years, regularly thrilling competitors and onlookers alike, and 2024 was no exception boasting the most crews, most stages and the most competitive miles of the last decade.

Based in the market town of Duns – which entertained spectators all-weekend long with start and finish ceremonies, regroups and live action broadcast on big screens – 21 demanding tests were staged throughout Friday and Saturday’s Jim Clark Rally and Sunday’s Jim Clark Reivers Rally, with a world-class entry of 270 cars testing their mettle against the clock.

Sponsored for a third year by leading construction merchants Beatson’s Building Supplies, the Jim Clark welcomed thousands of spectators who watched crews from the Probite Motorsport UK British Rally Championship, Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship and Asset Alliance Group Scottish Rally Championship, as well as several regional championships, slug it out for glory.

Running as the first car for the main two-day event, 2019 European Rally Champion Chris Ingram and his co-driver Alex Kihurani were quickest out the blocks on Friday evening, but the going was far from straightforward as rain on the lead up to the event, and showers throughout the first leg, ensured the stages were particularly demanding.

Four-time British Rally Champion Keith Cronin was the only man capable of keeping Ingram honest, as he and co-driver Mikie Galvin recovered from a conservative tyre choice on the first loop of stages to close to within 10s at the rally’s overnight halt.

Sunny skies greeted the region on Saturday with a red-hot battle set to commence, but Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 pilot Ingram ran wide due to a slow puncture on the day’s second stage, clipped a tree and broke his suspension – ending his victory hopes on the spot.

That left Cronin out front, and after a difficult start to his campaign in the British Championship the Irishman got the job done on the Borders lanes to record a 19.1-second victory over Junior World Rally Champion William Creighton. Cronin’s win moves him to the top of the Jim Clark Rally winners’ list with fellow Irish driver Andrew Nesbitt.

“It’s been a really long time coming,” said a relieved Cronin. “This win gives us a fighting chance again, but it’s still a long championship.

“I really didn’t think this would be possible after the first loop last night as we’d made a wrong tyre choice, but we went out on the wet tyres for the last two last night and made some real good time back.

“It didn’t feel like we were doing anything extra special, but everything was working really well in the car. It was unfortunate to lose Chris this morning, which left us the lead which we’ve had to manage. “

Euan Thorburn upheld local honour in his VW Polo, lifting his pace as the event progressed to secure a terrific third place finish – his second in as many years. The Duns driver was also fastest on the final stage alongside co-driver Paul Beaton.

There was more Duns delight as Garry Pearson and co-driver Daniel Barritt stood on the British championship podium in third place, securing sixth place overall to boot after a mature drive in his Ford Fiesta Rally2.

Max McRae, the latest talent from the McRae family dynasty, had never driven a Rally2 car at night before the Jim Clark, and was low on mileage compared to his rivals around him. But the 19-year-old demonstrated why he’s set to be Scotland’s big rallying talent of the future with a measured run to seventh place overall and fourth place in the BRC.

Top Asphalt championship points were awarded to James Ford/Neil Shanks in their Citroen C3 Rally2 (fourth overall), closely followed by Callum Black/Jack Morton (fifth overall) and David Henderson/Chris Lees (seventh overall).

Sunday’s Reivers Rally staged the second round of this year’s Scottish Rally Championship, as crews tackled the reworked Westruther stage three times along with two passes of the famed Scott’s View and Eccles tests. But persisting rain showers made life very testing for the competing crews.

Victors last year and out to make it a record-equalling four Reivers Rally wins, Thorburn and Beaton rekindled their fight with Henderson and co-driver Chris Williams from a year ago, trading seconds with each passing stage.

Henderson held the advantage into the afternoon but Thorburn was closing, only for the pair of them to make separate mistakes on the penultimate stage which grew Henderson’s lead to 8.9.

But a simply supreme stage time on the final stage from home hero Thorburn, some 12.9s quicker than Henderson, earned him a record-equalling fourth Reivers win.

“This feels really good,” said a delighted Thorburn.

“I had nothing left, that was all on the line on that last stage. We had a few moments, but we knew we had it in us to pull it off.

“We really wanted to win this one, and after the podium yesterday it’s been the perfect weekend.”

Neil Roskell/Patrick Walsh guided their Fiesta Rally2 to third on the event, while Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry took third in the Scottish Championship and fourth overall.

A one-hour highlights show of the Jim Clark Rally will be broadcast on ITV4, first televised on Wednesday June 5 at 8pm. A repeat programme will be shown on Sunday June 9 at 7.55am, and available to view anytime on the ITVX streaming service.