Insurer's Decision Forces Cancellation of Jim Clark Memorial Rally
There will be no Jim Clark Memorial Rally in 2017 and the very future of the event is now in serious jeopardy.
In an email earlier this week to Mr Dan Wright (Jim Clark Rally Chairman), the Chief Executive of the Motor Sports Association, Mr Rob Jones stated: "Following extensive consultation with our insurance brokers and our insurers, I am able to confirm the position of the MSA regarding any proposal for the JCR (Jim Clark Rally) to be run in 2017. It would not be appropriate for MSA to issue a permit for the JCR until the FAI (Fatal Accident Inquiry) has been completed and the Sheriff has issued his findings."
The rally organisers are at a loss to understand the insurer's reasoning behind this. In other fields where FAIs have taken place, whether in the workplace or in other sports, there has been no suspension of activity.
In such cases new procedures and practices have been implemented following such accidents to allow work/sport to carry on. That was also the case following the tragedy on the Jim Clark Rally in 2014.
New rules have been introduced nationwide limiting the actions of media personnel attending rallies and also regulating those who can apply for media accreditation. A further ruling has been made advising media personnel against taking family members and friends with them when they attend events on work related duties. Much work has also been done in creating improved spectator facilities at all rally events.
In response Mr Wright said: "In any other workplace or sporting endeavour, routine carries on while FAIs are underway, so we don't understand the insurer's reasoning behind this decision. They may well have consulted extensively with their insurance partners, but the rally organisers were not consulted."
Rally Manager, Russel Blood added: "We understand that the Inquest process under English law differs from Fatal Accident Inquiries under Scots Law, so to take this decision without wider consultation, is not what should be expected from a sport's UK national governing body. This outcome has thoroughly demoralised the whole team behind the running of this major motor sports event."
Over the past two years, the organising team behind this rally has been greatly encouraged by the ongoing support of Scottish Borders Council, local Police, Berwickshire's MP and MSP plus the continuing huge and enthusiastic support of local residents and businesses, land owners and farmers.
Given this decision, a tradition of motor sports events in Berwickshire, which launched the careers of Jim Clark and Sir Jackie Stewart, Andrew Cowan and Louise Aitken Walker MBE and which stretch back to motor racing just after the second World War at Charterhall and Winfield, is at risk of coming to an end.
It is the rally organising team's fervent hope that rallying can return to the Berwickshire roads in 2018 to continue a sporting tradition which the Jim Clark Rally instigated in 1970 to commemorate the achievements of borders farmer, rally driver and world champion racing driver, Jim Clark.
Note: The Jim Clark Memorial Rally was an annual event which since 1997 had run a motor sports rally on sections of Closed Public Road within the boundary of Berwickshire. The event injected in excess of £3.5m into the local economy over the three days of its duration each year. Organised and run by trained and experienced volunteer officials, the event enjoyed huge support amongst the local business, tourism and agricultural communities and the Borders people.
Issued 10th January 2017, on behalf of the organising team