Scottish motorsport safety review after Jim Clark Rally deaths

Daniel McKenna, Jim Clark Rally 2014

The Scottish Government will commission a review of motorsport spectator safety in Scotland following the death of three people on last week's Jim Clark Rally.

The Scottish Borders round of the British Rally Championship was abandoned following the crash on the Swinton stage. Five spectators - one of whom remains in hospital - had been injured in an earlier crash.

Scotland's justice secretary Kenny MacAskill announced the review in parliament on Tuesday.

"Spectator safety must always be paramount," said MacAskill, who was briefed on the accident by Police Scotland during a meeting in Kelso earlier this week.

"In the light of the deaths at the weekend, the Scottish Government will commission a review of motorsport event safety in Scotland, for which it will draw on safety experts and the knowledge and expertise of the motorsport community.

"The review will also include Scottish Borders Council, Police Scotland, the Motor Sports Association, event organisers and other key stakeholders.

"It will include a review of the training and deployment of stewards, as well as all other safety-related controls.

"The Scottish ministers have the power to impose conditions on the rally, and the Minister for Transport and Veterans will wish to have sight of the review of motorsport event safety's recommendations before a decision is made on whether to impose such conditions."

MacAskill also stressed that he saw the value of the Jim Clark Rally and motorsport in Scotland.

"I know that the Jim Clark Rally is a long-standing event that has been part of the local community for 44 years and that it has a good safety record," he said.

"It is a hugely popular event that has brought enormous benefit to Berwickshire year after year.

"Scotland has a strong tradition and a great history in motorsport. Jim Clark's name is up there alongside those of Sir Jackie Stewart, David Coulthard and the McRae family.

"The legacy of those sporting heroes is immense and has been proudly continued by the likes of Dario Franchitti, Allan McNish and Paul di Resta.

"It is a fitting tribute to the late Jim Clark that the rally in his name has taken place in the Scottish Borders since 1970."

The Jim Clark Rally is run under unique circumstances on the British mainland.

It takes place courtesy of an act of a 1996 parliament permitting the suspension of road traffic laws. The act of parliament gives the Scottish Government a direct influence over the future of the event.

"The legislation that governs the rally provides that ministers may prohibit the holding of the rally or permit it, subject to certain terms and conditions," said MacAskill.

"In the light of Saturday's events, the Minister for Transport and Veterans will give careful consideration to the public safety aspects of the 2015 rally and the need for conditions.

"The decision that is taken will be dependent on the information that comes forward from the safety review of the event."

Two men remain in hospital in Edinburgh following the accidents. One is reported to be stable, with the other's condition critical but stable.

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