THE Border hills could soon be alive with the sound of throbbing motorbike engines thanks to a trio of Jedburgh men.
The Borders TT Race of the Reivers is the brainchild of retired policeman and motorcycle enthusiast Andy Hadwin, and since mooting it with like-minded pals Glenn Ferguson and Mark Degnan, the idea has taken wings and flown.
Indeed, if Mark has his way, the inaugural event would be held as soon as August 2013. Realistically, however, the group are looking at the same month the following year to get their project of the ground and already have the backing of local MPs, businesses and several major names on the motorsport circuit.
And none of the trio are looking to profit – it is purely to show what can be achieved as a community.
“This will help regenerate Jedburgh and show the wider public what the Borders has to offer,” explained Andy.
“It will also show that we can do things together as a town.
“Figures from Castletown in the Isle of Man, which is smaller in size than Jedburgh and holds the Southern 100, say it attracts 20-25,000 visitors to the area. The Relentless North West 200 race attracts 100,000 visitors.
“We realise that these figures are high, but it is something to aim for. Alan Shand from Scottish Auto Cycle Union/Sports Scotland and Paula McDonald from Event Scotland have stated that for these types of event each person visiting the area will spend £100-£200 each. The simple maths make this a conservative extra income to the area of £150 x 15,000 visitors which is £2,250,000.
“Any profits made from entries and sponsorship etc would be put straight back into the next one and anything left over would be given to help local clubs or charities, so it’s a win-win all round.”
Among the group’s many backers already are motorcycle clothing manufacturer Red Torpedo, Edinburgh Woollen Mills, Glasgow Ducati, Borders Breweries and Duke Video, to name a few.
Michael Moore MP and John Lamont MSP are also backing the idea, along with Jedburgh Councillor Jim Brown, while Margaret Hislop has given her consent for using her son’s name for the naming of a race – The Steve Hislop Memorial Race.
The event itself would include a series of TT (Tourist Trophy) races, featuring a range of superbikes and a sidecar event. It would be held on an 11.1-mile course starting on the A68 at Jedburgh, roaring along the A698 and the B6358, before heading back to town. Diversions for the route are commonly used for other events and roadworks, while emergency service access is viable should an incident occur.
“The Irish road racing fraternity, among others, are keen for this to go ahead and have even expressed an interest to include it in their yearly race calendar,” added Andy.
“The dream of this becoming a large event in its own right is a possibility, with financial gain for businesses and the area as a whole on a large scale.”
Of course, the group is well aware that there is a “plethora of legislation” to overcome before the Race of the Reivers can become a reality, but while plans to establish an event in the area are still in their infancy, support is strong.
“Our area is renowned for rearing motorcycling greats, such as Jim Guthrie, Jim Clarke, Steve Hislop and Stuart Easton, not to mention past Scottish champion Kevin Brown,” said Andy.
“We feel that staging an event like this would be a great tribute to them, as well as bringing no end of benefits to the region.”
z On Saturday ,Charterhall, near Duns, will be the main focus for local motor enthusiasts.
As well as the main event, the Charterhall Stages Brick and Steel rally, the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge will also take place. Action starts at 9am, with the first car due to finish around 4.45pm.