South Scotland

Jim Clark Rally: Organisers plan to stage event next year

Rally crash Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Promoters of the Jim Clark Rally say they plan to hold an event in May next year

Promoters of the Jim Clark Rally have announced they plan to stage an event in May next year after Scottish Borders Council said it could not be held.

Three people were killed while watching this year's event.

The local authority said the rally could not be held in May 2015 as detailed planning could not begin with investigations still ongoing.

However, a statement from rally promoters said they planned to stage an event on the weekend of 30 and 31 May.

Iain Provan, 64, Elizabeth Allan, 63, and Len Stern, 71, died on a stage near Coldstream at this year's event, prompting a review of motorsport safety.

Last week, Scottish Borders Council said the rally could not be held next May as vital planning could not start while investigations continued.

A Facebook campaign has gathered thousands of supporters looking to see the event reinstated.

Promoters have now released a statement saying they intend to stage a rally.

"As yet, the format of this 45th running of the rally has to be decided," it said.

"The organising team are working with MPs, MSPs and other relevant authorities to ensure that an event worthy of the name and reputation of twice F1 World Champion Jim Clark will be staged in his home county of Berwickshire.

"The huge team of volunteers behind the organisation of this event have been greatly encouraged by the amount of public support, both locally and nationally, that they have received for the event to continue."

They said they had been "greatly heartened" by the support from both MSP John Lamont and MP Michael Moore.

Promoters said the statement had been welcomed by the Scottish Rally Championship and the Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship.

"Planning for the 2015 event is already under way, although the final format of the event has yet to be decided as the promoters are considering numerous options," they added.

"Further information will be available in due course."

A Scottish Borders Council spokesman said they needed to hear more detail of what was being proposed.

"The decision on the running of the Jim Clark Memorial Rally in May 2015 was not taken lightly, and followed discussions and advice from Police Scotland," he said.

"In relation to an alternative event, we would need to hear what the organisers are proposing before we can consider whether that is possible or not."

'Tragic deaths'

Meanwhile, Mr Lamont has urged the Scottish government to help secure the future of the 2015 Jim Clark Rally.

He asked a topical question about the event.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Lamont said: "The tragic deaths at the rally this year had a huge impact on the Berwickshire community and I support the efforts to prevent another accident like this occurring in the future.

"The announcement last week that the rally would not go ahead has come as a surprise, not least because I understand the organisers have found it difficult to arrange meetings between the council and the police to discuss the event.

"I have now asked the Scottish government if they can intervene and specifically if the Crown can issue guidelines making it clear that plans for a 2015 rally can proceed without prejudicing the ongoing police investigation."

Sport Secretary Shona Robison said the decision not to go ahead was one for SBC and she understood it would be "disappointing" for many in the Borders.

"While it is not for the Scottish government to intervene in this decision, I have offered to facilitate a meeting between John Lamont and the Lord Advocate," she added.

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