Rally drivers warming up for visit to Jedburgh

Top rally action comes to Jedburgh on Saturday (picture by John Lindsay Photo Sport).
Top rally action comes to Jedburgh on Saturday (picture by John Lindsay Photo Sport).

The eagerly-awaited Border Counties Rally will play host to the opening round of this year’s KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship this weekend, as some of the quickest rally drivers in the country head to Jedburgh on Saturday.

The popular rally – back after a weather-enforced lay-off in 2018 – will welcome almost 80 crews to the region for 42 miles of competitive driving in the Kielder and South of Scotland forest stages.

The event, organised by Hawick and Border Car Club and Whickham and District Motor Club, has undergone a significant overhaul in 2019, which will feature a new format and new stages.

After the pre-event formalities tomorrow (Friday) in Jedburgh, the rally will start under the town’s 12th Century Abbey at 8.30am on Saturday, before crews head out to tackle six stages in the forests.

In a change to previous years, the event will run the two-wheel-drive crews first on the road to allow them to take advantage of the best possible road conditions before the four-wheel-drive heavy hitters follow on.

After a full day in the forests, crews will begin to arrive in Abbey Place at around 4pm with the now-traditional Jedburgh Royal British Legion Pipe Band signalling the finish celebrations in the street.

Winning the National B event in 2017 allows two-time Scottish Rally Champion Jock Armstrong to have the coveted number one on the door this year. Joined by Cammy Fair, the Castle Douglas man will be aiming to take the hat-trick of titles this year and open his account with a repeat of two years ago.

The competition lining up to wreck that plan is impressive, however, with entrants including Duns drivers Euan Thorburn and Garry Pearson, Dale Bowen (Wales), the WD40 team of Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson (Durham), plus the Inverness-based Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer.

Another notable entry comes from Alistair Brearley of Galashiels, co-driven by Paul Barbet in a Ford Escort MK2. Brearley won the event overall in 1973 and 1976 and was a popular sight on the stages of the Scottish Championship in a Vauxhall Chevette HSR and Metro 6R4.

Full spectator information and a full list of entries are available at www.bordercountiesrally.co.uk.