Alnwick driver reacts to Borders rally tragedy

Floral tributes on Swinton village green following the death of three spectators during the Jim Clark Rally
Floral tributes on Swinton village green following the death of three spectators during the Jim Clark Rally

A fatal rally tragedy unfolded just ahead of an Alnwick motorsports competitor who was waiting to start the same section of the course.

Three people were killed at the Swinton stage of the Jim Clark Rally on Saturday after being hit by a car.

The fatal accident happened at Little Swinton near Coldstream, at around 4pm.

It is understood that the Citroen left the narrow B-road at speed and collided with spectators after crossing a small humpback bridge, ending up in a field.

And north Northumberland driver Carl Tuer has spoken of his shock after he was waiting to drive the same stage of the rally.

He said: “We were just waiting to start the Swinton stage when the accident happened involving one of the cars running ahead of us. We were probaly 20 minutes off that.

“It is a known tricky part of the stage and there will be one or two cars that go off there most years, but never before with tragic consequences.

“At the time we didn’t know how serious the accident was. But when we got back to Kelso later on, the enormity hit us.”

The rally was cancelled after the fatal crash and Carl has said his heart goes out to all who have been effected by the tragic events.

He added: “Sadly it is the nature of rallying. Cars crash and the speeds at the weekend were very high due to the warm, dry conditions.”

• Carl has backed a commissioned review by the Scottish Government into motorsport-event safety north of the border following the Jim Clark Rally tragedy.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, made the announcement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday. A full investigation will also be carried out by Police Scotland.

Reacting to the news, Carl said: “If there is anything they can do to prevent these things happening again, then it is worth every effort. But, I have rallied for years and never come across anything like this – a genuine, horrendous accident.”

Police are investigating why the rally was not called off after fans were injured in a separate incident hours before the fatal crash. But Carl said: “My friend was in the car that was involved in that first accident and that came about because of a mechanical failure. The organisers are aware of that. Neither accident had anything to do with each other.”

An eyewitness to the second crash has said that he thought spectators had moved forward again despite being told to move back from the road by marshals.

Carl said that he was awaiting the results of the investigation before making assumptions, but added: “The organisers put a huge amount into spectator safety. They can’t legislate where everyone decides to stand,”