DUNS driver Euan Thorburn had a weekend to remember as he claimed two Jim Clark Rally titles.
Thorburn cruised to his first victory in the National Rally, before he shook off the bridesmaid mantle to take his first Reivers Rally triumph on Sunday, spurred on by his hometown supporters.
And a quality performance by Irishman Keith Cronin and co-driver Marshall Clarke, despite a broken brake pedal, saw the pair record a second MSA British Rally Championship victory of the season by taking the Jim Clark International Rally.
Thorburn denied Hereford’s Damian Cole a hat-trick of victories by taking the National.
After the two Duns stages on Friday, Cole, winner of the event for the past two years, was fastest over the first of Saturday’s stages in his Ford Focus WRC. However, Thorburn and co-driver Paul Beaton, also in a Focus, soon got into the groove and gradually stretched out a lead which was unassailable.
Other placed Borderers were the St Boswells crew of Ross Hunter and Gary White, who came home in 23rd place in a Peugeot 205. They also finished second in their class.
Brian Watson and Duns co-driver Jane Nicol were 24th overall in their Mitsubishi Evo 8, Borders crew Nick Thorne and Ian Murray 29th in their Honda Civic Type R and Kelso’s Carin Logan, co-driven by Christine Sanderson from Berwick, claimed 47th in their Citroen Saxo VTS despite having gearbox problems on Friday night.
Sunday then saw Thorburn power his Ford Focus WRC through the five special stages on the Reivers in a total time of 43 minutes and 27.9 seconds.
With co-driver Kevin Rae of Hawick, defending champion David Bogie – behind whom Thorburn had finished second on the Reivers for the past three years – saw his hopes of a fourth straight victory evaporate due to gearbox problems for his MG Metro 6R4.
“We hoped we’d get the win today – that’s what we came for,” said Thorburn at the finish in Duns town centre.
“It’s a shame David couldn’t get round, it would have been a good battle, but we’ve made up for it. The car has been fantastic, we haven’t had to touch it all weekend.”
Kelso’s Dom Buckley, co-driven by Doug Redpath from Duns, and Duns driver Dale Robertson, co-driven by Tranent’s Paul McGuire, finished fourth and fifth respectively.
In the 2WD categories, Alnwick’s Carl Tuer, with Neil Bye on the notes, took top honours in the 1600 category in his MG ZR S1600, finishing 16th, 13.3 seconds ahead of West Linton’s John Boyd and Chris Williamson in a Ford Fiesta R2 in 17th.
There were also class wins for David Wilson and Jedburgh co-driver Dave Robson in their Ford Escort Mk 2 (11th overall), David Martin and Douglas Humphrey in a Vauxhall Astra (33rd), and Bruce Hay and James Braithwaite in a Vauxhall Nova (20th).
There was a second in class for the St Boswells son and father team of Sean and Iain Robson in a Ford Fiesta ST (25th).
Hawick’s Martin Elsdon and co-driver Ian McCutcheon were third in class and 27th overall in their Ford Escort while Nick Thorne and Ian Murray from St Boswells were 40th overall in a Honda Civic Type R.
Cronin and Clarke, in their Citroen DS3, overcame their brake problems to cross the finish line one minute and 16 seconds ahead of their closest rivals, Tom Cave and Craig Parry.
Making a Citroen DS3 1-2-3, and also finishing one minute 16 seconds behind the car in front, Jonny Greer and Gordon Noble rounded off the podium positions.
A delighted Cronin said: “This certainly wasn’t the easiest of events, especially with the brake pedal problem, but I’m delighted that the result was the right one in the end.
“It’s great to win this event, especially against such strong competition and because it’s been so tough. This has really helped our chances in the championship.”
Duns driver Garry Pearson, co-driven by Craig Wallace, had his chances of taking a third junior category win scuppered when one of their Renault Twingo R1’s driveshafts took a turn for the worse on the Eccles stage, forcing their retirement.
Pearson still leads the British Rally Junior Championship and his class in the BRC, but by starting the Jim Clark Rally he has already sealed the inaugural Renault Twingo R1 UK Trophy.