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.”