South Scotland

Jim Clark Rally: Event cancelled after crash deaths

Police car near scene of the incident
Image caption The Jim Clark Rally has been cancelled for May next year after three people died at this year's event

The Jim Clark Rally has been cancelled for May next year after three spectators were killed in a crash at this year's event.

Scottish Borders Council said the move had been agreed after talks with Police Scotland and other groups.

Chief executive Tracey Logan said it was not a decision which the authority had "taken lightly".

She said "every effort" had been made to allow the event to be held but it had "regrettably" not been possible.

Iain Provan, 64, Elizabeth Allan, 63, and Len Stern, 71, died on a stage near Coldstream, leading to a nationwide review of motorsport safety.

The decision to cancel the event was made after Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland met the rally organisers.

"The rally is of significant importance to the Borders and we have reiterated our support for the event, and will provide every assistance we can to ensure that the rally takes place in the future," Ms Logan said.

"The possibility of delaying the event to later in the year has been discussed and is being explored by the rally organisers."

Supt Angus MacInnes of Police Scotland said it had been involved in talks around planning of the rally.

"Having provided advice as part of those discussions, we support the decision made by the local authority and believe it to be the only sensible course of action," he said.

"Investigations into the tragic events of the 2014 rally are still ongoing and these would need to be concluded before detailed planning for the 2015 event could begin to allow all parties to have a clear understanding of the full circumstances of the incident."

Ms Logan said a "vital part" of planning the event was a debrief from the previous year.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Elizabeth Allan died along with John Leonard Stern and Iain John Provan in the crash at the Jim Clark Rally

"This is all the more important given the circumstances surrounding this year's rally," she added.

"However, such a debrief simply cannot take place, and will not be allowed to take place by the investigators until their work is completed, which may not be until well into next year.

"The deaths of three spectators at this year's rally were a tragedy that hit all those associated with the Jim Clark Memorial Rally and the wider Borders community very hard.

"The safety of the public at future events is of paramount importance to us all."

'Bitterly disappointed'

She said the rally was a "well-loved event in the Scottish Borders' sporting calendar, providing a £3.5m boost to the region's economy".

She added that the cancellation for next year had "no impact on the legislation allowing it to run in the future".

Rally organisers said that two of the people who died at the event had been working for a media outlet and the third victim had been travelling with them.

They claimed that meant that to describe them as spectators was "misleading".

"Public safety is always a priority at motor sports events," added clerk of the course, Russell Blood.

He said the organisers hoped to meet Scottish Borders Council to review the decision to cancel the event after a nationwide review of motorsport safety was completed.

Conservative MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire John Lamont said: "I know the organisers of this will be bitterly disappointed.

"The event is huge for the Berwickshire economy, and businesses will undoubtedly lose out as a result of this.

"However, I know the council has worked hard to try and get this to go ahead, and the priority now has to be to make sure it continues in future years."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites