Shock news tonight. There will be no Jim Clark Reivers Rally on 5th June. Following a club organisers meeting tonight, the reluctant decision was taken by a bitterly disappointed team, but really they had no choice. With insufficient entries received as of yesterday's 5pm deadline, the club would have suffered a substantial loss.
Considering the amount of time and effort expended on this year's event over the past 12 months it's a bitter blow to the whole team, especially in light of recent events. With just three weeks to go, three major re-routes had been forced upon them. "First we had to change the route to avoid a pair of nesting Goshawks in Wauchope Forest," said Dan Wright, club chairman, "then another pair was found close by another stretch of road forcing another major re-route. And a final re-think was underway to accommodate another rally event in three weeks time in the same area."
The club found themselves in a similar position to the late lamented McRae Forest Stages which found itself in similar circumstances last year.
Each stage rally in Scotland, and the rest of the UK, is organised by a dedicated team of volunteers representing an amateur car club and if an event is not financially viable, then it would be unfair to expect the club membership to cover the losses. It's a simple case of economics. If there aren't enough entries to cover the cost of staging a rally, then it is the amateur car club which has to pick up the shortfall and that's unfair on the individual members.
The club does have limited funds in the bank but these are being held in reserve for next year's event when the Jim Clark Rally will return to a closed road format which is the club's primary aim.
"It was a very difficult decision to take," said Dan, "and yet it was relatively easy. We had no choice. To carry on and run this year's event at a loss would jeopardise next year's return to the event's traditional format."
First run as a closed public road event in 1997, the Jim Clark Rally can trace its roots back to 1970. That first event used a variety of farm, forest and military roads before becoming one of the UK’s premier forest stage rallies in the 1980s.
The event reverted to a forest rally format following the tragic events in 2014 and the subsequent investigation. An accident claimed the lives of two media personnel and a guest travelling with them - and NOT spectators as is so erroneously reported in many sections of the media!
A ruling from the Lord Advocate was expected earlier this year, but he is still awaiting one final report. The organisers are confident once this has been completed that the event can revert to its more traditional format.
The club is grateful for the many messages of support received not just from rally fans but from the Borders folk themselves who have supported this event since it started.
Note: All competitors who had entered this year's event will receive a full refund as the club greatly appreciates their support.