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Scottish rally champion salutes Borders crowds

Jock Armstrong's car. Credit: ITV Border

Scottish Rally Champion Jock Armstrong has thanked the thousands of fans who turned out to watch the Border Counties Rally this weekend.

Armstrong, from Castle Douglas, retained his title in the Scottish Rally Championship, while Fredrik Ahlin and co-driver Torstein Eriksen won the Borders stage of the British Rally Championship.

There's a lot of people there and you could see some areas where there's masses of crowds there today. So along with the British Championship you knew it would pull a lot of numbers in so it's very good for the area and the community.

– Jock Armstrong

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Scottish Rally Championship showdown in D&G

The final round of the Scottish Rally Championship takes place in stages around Castle Douglas on Saturday, with two local drivers hoping to be crowned champion.

Jock Armstrong from Castle Douglas won the championship in 2015, but he's being chased down by Duns driver Garry Pearson.

Lori Carnochan reports:

Border counties rally returns to its routes for this year

Around 100 rally crews have been arriving in the Borders for the second round of the Scottish Rally Championship. The event is usually held in forests on each side of the border, but there's been big changes for this year.

It's also the first rally in the Borders since three people were killed on the Jim Clark Rally last year- so there's been a lot of emphasis on safety, as Lori Carnochan reports:

Pupils learn about the rally

Pupils from Howdenburn Primary Credit: ITV Border News

Pupils at Howdenburn Primary in Jedburgh have been learning all about rally. After a safety demonstration, they were allowed up close and personal with the cars.

Jedburgh Abbey Credit: ITV Border News

Jedburgh Abbey will provide a stunning backdrop for the rally's ceremonial start on Saturday morning.

Rally fever hits Jedburgh

Credit: ITV Border News

Around 100 rally crews are arriving in Jedburgh for the Border Counties rally. The event is the second round of the Scottish Rally Championship and is being held across forests around Tweed Valley for the first time since the late 1990s.

Competitors will rally over 45 stage miles, with the quickest driver crowned the overall winner on Saturday afternoon.

The rally is the first to be held in the Borders since three people were killed in June at the Jim Clark Rally. Organisers are urging spectators to listen to all safety marshals and to only stand in designated spectator areas.

Castle Douglas driver Jock Armstrong is favourite going into the event, after winning the season opener, the Snowman Rally, last month. However, he'll face tough competition from five-time Scottish champion David Bogie, aswell as Kirtlebridge's Mike Faulkner.

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2015 Jim Clark Rally will go ahead

Next year's Jim Clark Rally will go ahead if organisers agree to recommendations to prevent future accidents.

Three spectators were killed when a car left the road during the event in the Borders at the end of May.

A safety review was ordered following the tragedy, and the death of a woman at another rally in the Highlands in February.

Scotland's Sport Secretary told ITV News the Jim Clark Rally is important for the Borders economy, but the priority is the safety of spectators.

From Holyrood, our reporter Joe Pike has more.

'Permission granted' for 2015 Rally

The 2015 Jim Clark Rally will go ahead, according to Scotland's Sport Secretary, Shona Robison MSP.

But organisers will have to implement new safety plans in full.

Motor sport safety update

Changes outlined to keep motor sport spectators in Scotland safe Credit: ITV Border

The Motor Sport Event Safety Review Group has today released its initial findings on how to improve rally safety.

The Group was commissioned by the Scottish Government following the deaths of three spectators at the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders in May.

The group, led by former world motor racing champion Sir Jackie Stewart, is recommending that organisers and partners take the following steps to improve safety:

  • For each rally, an independent safety delegate should be responsible for the safety of staff, volunteers and spectators;
  • Both an event spectator safety officer and an event safety car should be used at multi-venue stage rallies;
  • Further consideration of improvements to training for rally marshals;
  • Improve safety messages given to the public;
  • Better ensure and promote the safety of media attending rallies.
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