South Scotland

Jim Clark Rally returns five years after fatal crash

Clark rally Image copyright John Fife
Image caption The rally has not been held on closed public roads in the region since 2014

The Jim Clark Rally is returning to action on the roads of the Borders five years after a fatal crash.

Iain Provan, 64, Elizabeth Allan, 63, and Len Stern, 71, were killed at the event in May 2014.

An inquiry held in 2017 said the deaths could have been avoided if people had been clearly banned from standing in the area where the crash happened.

Regulations were later introduced that paved the way for closed-road rallies in Scotland to return.

Scottish Borders Council formally issued a motor sport order to allow the Berwickshire event to go ahead last week.

Image caption Elizabeth Allan, Len Stern and Iain Provan died at the rally in 2014

Rally chairman Dan Wright said rigorous steps had been taken to ensure a high level of safety and scrutiny at this year's event.

"We've introduced systems for much tighter control of spectators and for media providing much more secure and comprehensive spectator areas with much tighter control on where people can go," he said.

He said media attending the rally had to produce their own risk assessments and declare exactly where they would be.

Mr Wright added that they would then be "policed" and anyone spotted where they should not be would be moved.

Image copyright John Fife

Mark Rowley, executive member for business and economic development with the council, said it was satisfied with the arrangements in place.

"The council's very happy - of course all of the safety work has got to be done by the organisers - but a couple of years' work has gone into organising this," he said.

"There's a ton of information on the Jim Clark Rally website that tells you how to be a safe spectator, where to get the best view, where to park and how to behave when you're out on the course."

He said he believed it would be a "really good comeback".

Image copyright John Fife

It has been previously estimated the rally brings about £3.5m to the Scottish Borders economy every year.

Rally organisers hope to return to their traditional May date next year.

Driver Garry Pearson, of Duns, said it was a special moment for the region.

"I've done the event six times but I've been around the event all my life," he said.

"It's obviously been absent for the last few years so I can't wait to get it back.

"The hairs go up on the back of your neck coming through the town centre on that start ramp, it is absolutely brilliant."

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