The Scottish government will commission a review of motorsport event safety in Scotland following the Jim Clark Rally tragedy in Berwickshire.
The Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, made the announcement to the Scottish Parliament today following the deaths of three spectators during the rally near Swinton on Saturday. A full investigation will also be carried out by Police Scotland.
In an address to parliament, Mr MacAskill said: “While the Jim Clark Rally is unique as a closed road and unticketed motor rally, the Scottish Government will ask Police Scotland to work with event organisers and local authorities to undertake a health check of event planning for events taking place this summer.
“This will ensure that robust safety regimes and risk assessment procedures are in place and that licensing conditions are being met. Police Scotland have undertaken to carry this out review over the next four weeks.
“Spectator safety must always be paramount. In the light of the weekend’s deaths the Scottish Government will commission a review of motorsport event safety in Scotland, drawing 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.”
Berwickshire MSP John Lamont welcomed the review and full investigation, but urged caution against knee jerk reactions.
He said: “The review being set up by the Scottish Government into motorsport event safety should be a positive step towards ensuring that we never see a repeat of these deaths. However, I am keen to urge caution against any knee jerk reactions in response to this news.
“The Jim Clark Rally is a long established event in the Borders and whilst everyone is shocked by the events at the weekend, I think it would be regrettable if any premature decisions were taken about the event’s future.”
Mr Lamont added: “That is why the Cabinet Secretary must work closely with the Motor Sports Association and with the Border Ecosse and Berwick and District motor clubs before implementing any controls on events of this nature. We cannot allow this historic rally to cease running altogether, and any suggested changes must be realistic and achievable.”