Rally set to return to its roots

This year’s Jim Clark Rally will return to its roots.

For the past 17 years, the world-famous event has been contested over closed public roads in the late Formula One champion’s home county of Berwickshire.

But in a change to the format, this year’s event, on Sunday, May 31, will run on private Forestry Commission gravel roads.

Previously a three-day motor sporting extravaganza, this year’s rally will also revert to a one-day competition, ahead of a more ambitious programme for 2016.

The changes to the normal format are a result of a ruling that the rally could not be held on closed public roads this year, as official investigations into the accident which saw three people killed at the 2014 event were not yet concluded.

Clerk of the course Colin Smith confirmed the changes, saying: “The ‘Reivers’ part of the annual Jim Clark Rally is traditionally a separate national event run on the Sunday after the international part of the rally on the Friday/Saturday, so we are sticking with the Sunday run, ahead of a return to the usual format next year.

“We are planning to have five special stages in Kielder Forest.

“The rally will start from Kelso in the morning, before heading south over the border into Northumberland, and returning later in the afternoon for the rally finish, back in Kelso.”