The devastating events which unfolded at yesterday’s Jim Clark Rally, where three people were killed and more injured after two different crashes within hours of each other, have been described as desperately sad, tragic and a black day for the Borders and for Scotland.
Politicians and representatives from the world of motor sport have come together to speak of their shock and sorrow after the shocking incidents at the Jim Clark Rally and pay their respects to those who lost their lives or were hurt.
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said: “This is desperately sad and difficult news from the Borders of the tragic circumstances that have occurred.
“The police have confirmed three fatalities and my thoughts are with all of those involved and the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.
“The government is in contact with Police Scotland and we await the outcome of their inquiries.
“The Jim Clark Rally is a long-standing event of over 40 years. It is much loved in the Borders and by the rally driving community who I know will share in our sadness at what is a black day for the Borders and for Scotland.”
Berwickshire MSP John Lamont added: “This is tragic news for the Borders, and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
“I know that the rally organisers place considerable emphasis on the safety of the spectators and drivers but with any event of this nature, there will always be an element of risk.
“I live just a few miles away from the scene of the accident and I know that everyone is shocked and saddened by this dreadful news.”
Organisers of the Jim Clark Rally said: “We would like to extend their heartfelt condolences and sympathy to all of the families and their friends who have been affected by yesterday’s tragic events.
“Our thoughts are especially with those who have lost family members and to the families of the injured spectators.
“All members of the organising team are in shock and are cooperating fully with Police Scotland to establish the facts.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for motor sport’s governing body, the Motor Sports Association said: “Everyone in the motor sport community is devastated by the terrible events which occurred yesterday afternoon on the Jim Clark Rally.
“The families and friends of those who have lost their lives and of those who have been injured are in all our thoughts as they face such an awful situation.
“As with any serious incident, yesterday’s accidents will also be subject to full enquiries by the MSA to ensure that any lessons are learned to assist in the constant drive to provide the highest possible safety standards at all motor sport events.”
FIA World Endurance Champion, 24 Hour Le Mans Winner Allan McNish added: “Shocked to hear the terrible news from the Jim Clark Rally. My thoughts are with the families involved.”
Police Scotland said the most serious crash took place at about 4pm when a rally car hit spectators when it came off the road near Kelso. Three of them were pronounced dead at the scene. Yesterday, police said that a fourth spectator was in a critical condition in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
Two hours earlier, another rally car hit five people. One was said to be in a serious condition in hospital, while four were treated at the scene.
The rally was cancelled after the fatal crash.