Well, that was a blow. After the International and National competitors got their two runs through the town centre stage in Duns, the rest of the runners didn’t. The start of this year’s Jim Clark Rally was delayed clearing spectators off the stage and then a more serious delay occurred when an ambulance had to be called to a pregnant woman. The excitement must have been too much for her.
That meant the organisers were running out of Road Closure time and had to curtail the evening’s entertainment much to the annoyance of the Challenge, Historic and Land Rover crews.
It was a great pity, the town centre was packed and it was quite warm in the sunshine although cold in the shade.
As it was, Jarkko Nikara was fastest over the two 1.2 miles in his Citroen, the Finn nearly 2 seconds quicker than Keith Cronin’s Citroen, but Keith was OK about that: “You can’t win a rally in a stage like that, but you can easily lose one. The rally starts tomorrow.”
Callum Black was third ahead of Jukka Korhonen and Peter Taylor whilst the latest hot shot to hit the stages down south, young Arron Newby in the Skoda was 7th fastest. Ruary MacLeod was 15th in the Fiesta while Garry Pearson was 22nd in the Twingo.
Stephen Simpson was the fastest of the Nationals in his Subaru – by Point 1 of a second from John Stone with John Indri half a second behind them.
Top Scot was Euan Thorburn in the Focus behind Damien Cole with Barry Groundwater 10th, Dale Robertson 11th and Alistair Inglis 13th.
But times meant little tonight. Tomorrow’s 8 stages total some 95 miles, although the weather is set fair, according to the forecasts, so fingers crossed for some high speed fun – and no more incidents.
By the way, spotted amongst the crowds were a couple of weel kent faces, Andrew Cowan and Louise Aitken Walker, while Eric Bryce was out and about too. Eric was virtually Jim Clark's personal photographer in the early days and has some stunning images from club rallies and Charterhall races and then followed Jim's career into F1. And he's still a bloody good photographer.