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 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 will provide a stunning backdrop for the rally's ceremonial start on Saturday morning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Euan Thorburn raced to victory in the Scottish Rally Championship, supported by co-driver Paul Beaton.
Watch some of the highlights from his title-winning Rally.
A rally driver from Duns, in the Scottish Borders, has just been crowned Scottish Rally Champion for the first time.
Euan Thorburn, and his co-driver Paul Beaton, won the prestigious title after beating rivals David Bogie and Kevin Rae on the McRae Stages rally in Perth.
Bogie, from Dumfries, has won the last five championships consecutively, but has been under pressure from Thorburn all year.
The two drivers went into the penultimate round of the championship with three wins each, but as they only count their best six of eight scores, a win for Thorburn was enough to take the title. Both Thorburn and Bogie had been battling it out all day over the 40 miles of Perthshire stages.
Going into the final stage there were only a few seconds separating the two, but it was Bogie who made the mistake and slid off.
This allowed Thorburn to take advantage of his mistake and take home the win.
The McRae stages is named after rallying legend Colin McRae, who was also one of Thorburn's heros.
The Duns driver will now go down in history as a motorsport champion, along with racing legend Jim Clark who is from the same Borders town.
More than 100 rally crews are arriving in Jedburgh for the second round of the Scottish Rally Championship.
The Border Counties rally takes place in and around the forests of Kielder in the Scottish Borders.
Dumfries driver David Bogie will be battling against Euan Thorburn from Duns for the overall honours.
Both drivers are competing in Ford Focus World Rally Cars around the 40 stage miles of the rally.
The current four times Scottish rally champions, David Bogie and Kevin Rae, drove their way to victory at the Granite City Rally on Saturday (20th April).
The Aberdeen based rally was the second round of the Scottish Rally Championship, and taking overall honours means the crew now sit at the top of the table.
The event was the third outing for the 25-year-old from Dumfries in his Ford Focus World Rally Car, and he says he is now feeling more comfortable with his new wheels.
"It was great to hold on to the trophy from last year, and feels good to be back on top. The car worked very well for us and feels like it's all coming together now. The last two stages were awesome.
"Kev done a brilliant job on the notes as always. I'm looking forward to the Jim Clark rally next month as it will be my first event on tarmac in the new car."
Aspatria's Mike Faulkner missed out on second place by just one second, after Chris Collie from Aberdeen pulled off his best drive to date.
Borders driver Euan Thorburn and Castle Douglas driver Jock Armstrong, both retired after suffering technical problems.