South Scotland

Dates 'pencilled in' for Jim Clark Rally's return

Jim Clark Rally Image copyright PA
Image caption The rally has not been held on its traditional route in the Borders since the fatal crash in 2014

Provisional dates have been set for the return of a rally to closed public roads in the Scottish Borders.

The Jim Clark Rally has not taken place in recent years following the death of three people at the 2014 edition.

However, organisers have advised competitors, officials, volunteers and fans to "pencil in" 24 and 25 May.

It comes after proposals from the Scottish government of a two-stage process to allow motorsports events to be held on closed public roads.

Iain Provan, 64, Elizabeth Allan, 63, and Len Stern, 71, died at the Jim Clark Rally in 2014 and it has not been held on its traditional route since.

A fatal accident inquiry delivered its findings into the incident in 2017 and now the Scottish government is looking at ways which could allow the event's revival along with the Isle of Mull Rally.

Two-stage process

It said it recognised the need to balance economic benefit and public enjoyment with safety.

The proposals would see a two-stage process introduced with motorsports governing bodies given the power to issue permits for events to be held on closed public roads.

That would allow event organisers to approach the relevant local authority to seek a motorsports event order in the second stage of the procedures.

Analysis of public consultation into the proposals was published at the end of last month.

'Overwhelming desire'

Rally organisers said it showed there was an "overwhelming desire" to allow closed public road rallying in Scotland.

They said they had been "maintaining contact" and had continued working with Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland in "hopeful anticipation" that rallying could return "sooner rather than later".

"Arrangements and plans are already in place to facilitate a quick resumption of the sport on completion of the parliamentary process," said a statement on their website.

"Potential rally competitors, officials, volunteers and fans right across the UK are therefore advised to 'pencil in' two important dates, 24 and 25 May 2019, and plan their routes to the eastern Scottish Borders.

"With a bit of luck and goodwill, it should soon be possible to allow those interested to confirm the date in ink."

New regulations

They added that no further comment would be made until legislation allowed.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: "We published our analysis into motorsports on closed roads, which received 3,788 responses, on 25 February.

"This analysis concluded that there was clear support (98%) for the introduction of a two stage application process to allow motorsports events to be held on closed public roads.

"This feedback, coupled with the vital input we have had from key stakeholders such as Police Scotland and Motorsports UK, has allowed us to finalise new regulations which have now been laid in parliament for scrutiny."

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