Jim Clark Rally about to hit roads again after two years off

This coming weekend sees the return of the Jim Clark Rally to Berwickshire’s roads for the first time since 2019 and only the second time in the last eight years.

By Darin Hutson
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 10:54 am
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 12:29 pm
Sunday's Jim Clark Reivers' Rally is hosting the Scottish Rally Championship (Photo: Eddie Kelly Motorsport Photography)
Sunday's Jim Clark Reivers' Rally is hosting the Scottish Rally Championship (Photo: Eddie Kelly Motorsport Photography)

More than 240 drivers will compete on stages totalling 115 miles on closed public roads from Friday to Sunday as the rally reverts to its traditional May slot in the calendar.

This year’s event is hosting the top-flight Motorsport UK British Rally Championship for the first time since 2014, along with the Protyre National Asphalt Rally Championship and an array of regional series.

Sunday’s Jim Clark Reivers’ Rally will see competitors in the Scottish Rally Championship race on asphalt for the first time this season in the Borders and they too will be joined by drivers contesting various regional rally championships.

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Sponsored by Alloa-based firm Beatson’s Building Supplies, the rally, first run in 1970, is returning after two years off due to the coronavirus pandemic, with activities centring on Duns.

Crews will be flagged away from the town on Friday at 7pm for two passes of the rally’s Longformacus stage.

Day two sees a move to the south-west, with tests at Eccles, Westruther and Scott’s View, east of Melrose, being run twice or, in the case of the British championship, three times.

Sunday’s Reivers’ event will set off from Duns at 10am and head north-east for stages at Fogo, Ayton and Edrom.Number one seeds Osian Pryce and Noel O’Sullivan are among the favourites to win the rally overall, the former having finished runner-up in the British championship in 2021 and having notched up a round-one win this season in his Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 in Essex.Duns is well represented too, with Euan Thorburn contesting his first event since 2020 in his Ford Focus WRC, with Paul Beaton on the notes, and he will also tackle Sunday’s Reivers’ Rally.

He’ll be up against fellow Duns driver Garry Pearson, driving a Fiesta Rally2 and with Dale Furniss alongside him, and the reigning Scottish rally champion will be hoping to secure his first British championship win on home turf.

“I drive some of the stages throughout the year through work or leisure, so it all helps as you’re familiar with the surroundings and that gives you confidence that you know where to push and where not to,” said Pearson, 30.

“I’m looking forward to it as the stages are all great.

“It’s brilliant. The locals love it. There is such a good buzz around the place when the rally comes to town.

“It’s fantastic for the local economy too. It’s a really important event for a small place like Duns.”

The Reivers’ Rally is hosting the Scottish Rally Championship, sponsored by Aberdeenshire’s KNC Groundworks, and 2011 winner David Bogie will be among the leading contenders, driving a Mini JCW W and with John Rowan as co-driver.

Currently joint series front-runner, Bogie, of Dumfries, will be out to edge ahead of his nearest challenger, Cornhill-on-Tweed’s Michael Binnie, in a Mitsubishi Evo, starting at four with Duns’ Claire Mole as co-driver.Dale Robertson, another Duns driver, is tackling his first rally since 2019 and he has World Rally Championship co-driver Stuart Loudon alongside him for both the Jim Clark Rally and Reivers’ Rally in a Ford Fiesta R5.For more information, go to www.jimclarkrally.co.uk