If you've ever watched an off-road rally and wondered how the spectators are allowed to get so close to the cars traveling at high speeds over loose and often unpredictable surfaces, we're afraid to report that your suspicions have tragically been confirmed as news comes in of two separate crashes during the Jim Clark Rally in Scotland on Saturday.

Jim Clark Rally logoThe first of the two incidents occurred near Crosshall Farm on the Eccles stage, where a car left the road and struck five spectators – one woman and four men – who were evacuated to Borders General Hospital, after which one was moved to intensive care in Edinburgh.

That stage was closed down following the collision, but the rest of the rally carried on. Two hours later another car left the road at Little Swinton near Coldstream and hit four spectators, three of which we're bereaved to report were pronounced dead at the scene. The fourth victim was taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in critical condition.

The Jim Clark Rally takes place over the course of three days in the Scottish Borders region. The event named, of course, after legendary Scottish driver Jim Clark, who himself was killed in a racing accident at Hockenheim in 1968. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this most tragic incident. Scroll down below for the official announcement from Scotland Police Superintendent Phil O'Kane.


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  • 16 Comments
      karlInSanDiego
      • 6 Months Ago
      From another Rally information page, this message is important and would have been a gamechanger there: "Rally officials will perform a safety check of each stage before allowing the race to begin on that section of road. If they are not satisfied with the safety of your location, you will be required to move or the stage may be cancelled." - http://www.lsprorally.com/spectators/ One witness said the marshalls told the three people killed, repeatedly, to move back. Each time they returned. That doesn't explain how two incidents of people struck happened during the same event.
        wrxfrk16
        • 6 Months Ago
        @karlInSanDiego
        Bad luck. Rally fans stand on the stage itself, it'd be like a Formula One race where the Armco barriers were replaced with lines of spectators. And that's not even an exaggeration, that's what some of these fans do. On the majority of these deaths it seems the fans are in areas that are insanely close to the road or are in terrible spots, right past apexes, right after jumps where they want the best view but where the car's are most likely to get out of hand. It's sad these people died, and I feel worse for the drivers as to me they're the real victims. They'll have to carry that with them just because the spectators couldn't keep a safe distance. But drop the conspiracy theory, rallying's a gnarly race form and sometimes things like this happen.
      karlInSanDiego
      • 6 Months Ago
      We've known for a VERY long time (since Group B days) that spectators cannot and should not be left to be their own judge about safe spots to watch or safe distances from the course. That said, if rallying can't decide how they fix this problem, then their sport is still not mature and needs fixing. I am very sure not one of those spectators expected to die that day. It doesn't take a lot of effort to get to high ground, behind a tree, on the inside of a corner, but education and vigilance on the part of the organizers with sweeps of the course before the competitors come through at speed take little effort and would go a very long way towards fixing the problem. Rallying should not be Darwin rules, for the sake of the competitors who can neither control, nor police the spectators. They rely on rally organizers to do that with tape, and personnel. If this was a blurb about how much compassion we need to have for unfortunate spectators, then there is really no point in writing RIP a hundred times. This is a catalyst for discussion about autosport safety, and especially motorsport organizers being responsible for their spectators. Simple as that.
      Lamborandon
      • 6 Months Ago
      another useless type of racing
      United
      • 6 Months Ago
      They deserved to die. I cannot understand idiot spectators getting so close to the rally cars...
      dea5787
      • 6 Months Ago
      What's a spectato?
        rjstanford
        • 6 Months Ago
        @dea5787
        A flesh and blood human being, somebody's child, maybe somebody's parent, who is no longer alive you insensitive clod.
          dea5787
          • 6 Months Ago
          @rjstanford
          Thanks for clearing that up for me. I apologize that you didn't catch my sarcasm. It's indeed a sad and tragic incident. I was simply making a comment regarding the increasing amount of typos that have been appearing on Autoblog.
          Matthew Davis
          • 6 Months Ago
          @rjstanford
          Sarcasm only hours after people have died cannot be expected to be taken as just sarcasm. It's dark cynicism and should not be written. Think before you write it and post it publicly.
      bK
      • 6 Months Ago
      That's part of the thill, and they are well aware of the dangers.
      rsholland
      • 6 Months Ago
      Race spectators die, and guys complain about typos?!?!
        dea5787
        • 6 Months Ago
        @rsholland
        Get over yourself. One could argue: "Race spectators die, and guys complain about someone complaining about typos"
          rsholland
          • 6 Months Ago
          @dea5787
          Thanks for showing so much compassion. Idiot.
      AlphaPhotek
      • 6 Months Ago
      FIx the typo. Should say spectators.
      Jobu
      • 6 Months Ago
      Three spectators, the English language, and the appropriateness of perspective of fellow Autoblog readers perished as a result of these unfortunate accidents...
      karlInSanDiego
      • 6 Months Ago
      Also, while freak accidents can happen, two accidents involving spectators hit by cars at the same event are indicative of a problem with safety procedures.
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