IT HAS turned out to be another bumper year for the Jim Clark with more than 200 entries for what is billed a great rallying weekend, writes Sandy Brydon.
The ever-popular event, run over Saturday and Sunday, is made up of six rallies and plays host to the MSA British, Asphalt and Scottish Rally Championships.
As top seed, it is Irishman Mark Donnelly’s Renault Clio that gets the honour of wearing the number one plate in front of a pair of Citroens and a pack of hungry young rallying hopefuls.
Scraping in with a last-minute entry, twice British Rally Champion and winner of the last round, Keith Cronin starts at number two and hot Finnish driver Jarkko Nikara is off third, while current championship leader Elfyn Evans gets the fourth slot in a Ford Fiesta R2.
With drivers from around Europe and even the USA, most of the season’s front runners are listed for the International Championship’s first asphalt rally of the year.
There is a full entry for the National section of the rally as the 2011 winner Damian Cole heads a list of the fastest cars of the weekend.
With John Indri’s low-slung Darrian standing out in a long list of World Rally cars, the competition is going to be hot and the event’s running order will be determined on the streets of Duns tomorrow night.
The Reivers Rally entry is also full to capacity and this, the Scottish Championship portion of the event, joins the fray on Sunday ,running from its base at Duns.
For the second year running, Hawick’s Kevin Rae will co-drive triple Scottish champion David Bogie, who will be behind the wheel of his family’s MG Metro 6R4.
This season, Bogie and Rae have notched up three straight wins in the championship in his more familiar Mitsubishi EVO 9. The duo have been quickest through 12 of the 15 stages completed so far, sharing the fastest time on another, and will aim to continue the unbeaten run with a fourth successive victory at the midway point in the series.
Second seed Euan Thorburn will be hoping local knowledge counts as he takes to the Berwickshire lanes in his Ford Focus WRC ’01, alongside navigator Paul Beaton from Inverness.
Kelso’s Dom Buckley, co-driven by past Jim Clark Rally winning co-driver Doug Redpath from Duns, are sure to spring a few surprises in their Subaru Impreza.
Steve Bannister, co-driven by Hawick’s Louise Sutherland, will be fighting for two-wheel drive supremacy.
A full list of numbered entries can now be found on the Jim Clark Rally website www.jimclarkrally.com.