Thorburn tastes National joy, but Reivers heartache

BRC national winner from Duns Euan Thorburn.
BRC national winner from Duns Euan Thorburn.
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A super-cool Finn, a home-town favourite and seasoned winner all emerged triumphant from this year’s Jim Clark Rally.

Jukka Korhonen took his second successive victory in the British Rally Championship on the blistering-fast Berwickshire roads, while Duns driver Euan Thorburn won the Jim Clark National Rally for the second year in succession.

But it could have been so much better for Thorburn when leading the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship race by 20 seconds, only for a small fire at the end of the penultimate stage to hand victory to Dumfries’ David Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae of Hawick for their fourth Jim Clark Reivers Rally win in five years.

And there was further Borders success in the Challenge Rally as the St Boswells crew of Ross Hunter and Gary White celebrated victory on Saturday night in their Peugeot 205.

Korhonen was made to sweat in another thrilling shoot-out in the BRC.

He saw a 38-second lead whittled down to 0.1secs by Welshman Tom Cave, but the Scandinavian held his nerve to take the stage by just two seconds after 135 miles of high-speed battling.

“We made it tough on ourselves,” Korhonen, co-driven by Marko Salminen, said.

“We knew early in today’s first stage that we had made the wrong tyre choice and that, combined with a spin, cost us a lot of time.

“But we regrouped and managed to get everything right in the final stage.”

Duns driver Garry Pearson was up to eighth place overall in his Ford Fiesta when he was forced out of the event after hitting a tree stump on the Ayton stage.

Driving a Ford Focus WRC, Thorburn dominated the National Rally from start to finish and won by a comfortable 20 seconds from Radcliffe’s Stephen Simpson in a Subaru Impreza WRC.

He said: “It’s great to win the rally for the second time against some of the top ashpalt drivers in the country.”

There was a lucky escape for Duns driver Dale Robertson and his co-driver Paul McGuire from Tranent. Their Mitsubishi Lancer burst into flames on the Ayton stage. They both managed to escape the blaze without injury, but the car was totally gutted.

Robertson said: “The flames were coming up into the car between Paul and I, and Paul couldn’t get his door open so he had to clamber through the flames to get out the driver’s side.”

Duns co-driver Dave O’Brien escaped unhurt along with driver Keith Robathan when their Ford Escort MkII rolled on the Swinton stage.