The blackest of days for the Borders

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If tragedy strikes when people are enjoying themselves, it seems to make the horror all the harder to bear.

And so it was on Saturday, when three spectators watching one of the Borders’ most popular events died, while a number were injured, during the Jim Clark Rally.

This was the 44th running of the event, named after the Borders’ most famous sporting son, and which has previously boasted an excellent safety record.

Police Scotland is now investigating Saturday’s two accidents, which have also triggered a government review of all motorsport event safety.

Last Saturday’s events have left not only the families and friends of those killed and seriously injured distraught, they will have a life-long impact on the crews of the cars involved, for rally organisers and for those who witnessed them.

It has also had a massive impact on the community of Jim Clark’s home county of Berwickshire, in which much of the rally is proudly staged.

So it is only right that a review is held to see what, if any, lessons can be learned from Saturday to reduce the risk of repeating these dreadful events. But there have also been calls against any knee-jerk reactions of the sort urging that the rally be scrapped permanently.

Rallying, like all sports involving high-powered cars, bikes and boats, is both thrilling and dangerous. That, after all, is part of the attraction.