Cronin in driving seat to win the Jim Clark Rally

The Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally made a welcome return to the Scottish Borders at the weekend, as the popular motorsport event blasted back into action with three days of top-level rallying in the region.
The winners of the Jim Clark Rally celebrate in the square at Duns.The winners of the Jim Clark Rally celebrate in the square at Duns.
The winners of the Jim Clark Rally celebrate in the square at Duns.

A sensational array of drivers from across Europe and the UK took part in both the Jim Clark Rally and Reivers Rally, with around 240 crews tackling the closed public roads in Berwickshire.

The rally returned after a two-year sabbatical but retained many of the features of past events which has heritage back to 1970.

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Friday and Saturday’s Jim Clark Rally played host to round two of Britain's premier rally series, the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship as well as the National Asphalt Rally Championship and several regional championships.

It was the BRC contenders that would predictably see the biggest battles played out over the first two days as some of the best drivers in the country and beyond went head to head on the tricky Borders roads for the first time this decade.

Friday night provided a double run over the Longformacus stage and it was Irishman Keith Cronin who set a blistering time over the first pass, eight seconds faster than round one winner Osian Pryce. Winner of the event in 2012, Cronin and co-driver Mikie Galvin were in a league of their own by the time the stage ran again in the dark, heading into day two with a 40 second lead in their Volkswagen Polo GTi R5.

Saturday saw him maintain that gap to his nearest challengers James Williams and Dai Roberts in their Hyundai i20 R5, who would take second spot after a gutsy drive, whilst the podium places were rounded out by Duns driver Garry Pearson in his Fiesta Rally2 and co-driver Dale Furniss.

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In Sunday’s Reivers Rally it was Duns driver Euan Thorburn who redeemed himself after a last minute retiral the previous day as he went on to win his home event.

The Jim Clark Rally first ran in 1970 and has remained one of the most prestigious stage rallies in the country. Names on the winner's trophy include Roger Clark and Ari Vatanen. The event is named after Chirnside’s Jim Clark OBE who was a two-time Formula One world champion, a winner of the Indianapolis 500 and a host of saloon and touring car races.