Scottish Borders: Jim Clark Rally preview

Jim Clark Rally Ready to Run The biggest motorsport event to hit Scotland kicks off tomorrow (Friday) as the Jim Clark Rally 2009 gets underway. The 39th Jim Clark Rally will feature around 300 cars competing over Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th...

Jim Clark Rally Ready to Run

The biggest motorsport event to hit Scotland kicks off tomorrow (Friday) as the Jim Clark Rally 2009 gets underway.

The 39th Jim Clark Rally will feature around 300 cars competing over Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th May - making it arguably the biggest-ever weekend of rallying to be staged in the UK.

Since 1997, the Jim Clark Rally has been mainland Britain's only special stage rally to use public roads, specially closed under Act of Parliament, for flat-out rally competition.

This year the event will begin in Edinburgh -- where Scotland's late double world racing champion Jim Clark was schooled -- with a spectacular ceremonial start at the FountainPark(correct) leisure complex.

The capital's Lord Provost George Grubb will flag away the UK's top rally drivers from FountainPark following an all-action show with drift cars, stunt bikes and live entertainment. The show will run from 4pm to 7pm and feature autograph sessions with the stars of the British Rally Championship, the Radio Forth Roadshow, appearances from Hearts mascots Teenie and Tynie Tiger, and a wide range of fun activities including rally simulators and a mobile climbing wall. Another of Scotland's motorsport champions will also be honoured at the event, as Colin McRae's British championship-winning Subaru Legacy will also be on display at FountainPark.

After the ceremonial start in Edinburgh the focus of the rally will switch to the Borders. Over the three days, spectators can choose from 25 special stages set throughout Berwickshire, ranging in length from the nearly 13-mile long Leitholm test to the shortest stage, at just over one mile. In a first for the rally a 1.2 mile sprint will take place through the streets of Duns - the market town just a few miles from what was the family home of the world champion the event commemorates. The stage will be run twice on Friday night, and once more on Saturday afternoon, providing a uniquely atmospheric spectacle for visitors to the rally.

The special stages starting in the market square in Duns will also be preceded by entertainment including more trials bike demonstrations and racing cars. On Friday and Saturday there will also be stalls and other entertainment in Duns.

All the action featuring the top crews in the 2009 MSA British Rally Championship's third round, the Jim Clark International Rally, will be shown on Sky Sports Xtra at 10pm on Bank Holiday Monday (May 25).

Jim Clark Rally Manager Colin Pagan said:

"We have worked very hard this year to add even more entertainment to what was already a very exciting event. We're delighted at the support we have received from Event Scotland, FountainPark and the city of Edinburgh in making the rally even more accessible for visitors of all ages. Hopefully everyone will enjoy a fantastic bank holiday weekend of action, and the event will once again be a fitting testament to Scotland's greatest motorsport competitor Jim Clark."

Lord Provost George Grubb said:

"I am delighted that Edinburgh is playing its part in the Jim Clark Rally - a fantastic event in memory of one of motor racing's true greats. The ceremonial start here promises to be spectacular, as does the remainder of the race through the Scottish Borders."

FountainPark General Manager Mary Turner said:

"We are really pleased to be hosting the ceremonial start for this prestigious event in the rally world, and are confident that a city centre start will bring new fans to appreciate this exciting sport. It is a great event for all the family, allowing people to see firsthand exciting entertainment plus great rally cars."

Jim Clark biography:

Born on 4 March 1936 in Kilmany, Fife, Clark was educated at Loretto School, Edinburgh. He left at 16 and went to work on the family farm in the Borders. Clark joined the Border Reivers racing team and enjoyed his first successes on the rural roads of Berwickshire, before going on to join the Lotus grand prix team where he won two world championships. He was also given an OBE for his services to motor racing in 1964.

His death in 1968 shocked both the racing world and his home town. Despite more than 40 years passing since Clark's death he is often cited as an inspiration by many professional and amateur racing drivers -- and the Jim Clark Rooms museum in Duns still attracts thousands of visitors each year.

-credit: jcr

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Series BRC
Drivers Jim Clark , Colin McRae