Daniel McKenna secured his maiden MSA British Rally Championship victory on the 2014 Jim Clark Rally last weekend, a success overshadowed by a tragic incident that claimed the lives of three spectators.
The event was cancelled with immediate effect after the incident on SS16 ‘Swinton’, in which a competitor’s car left the road and struck spectators. It was the second incident of its kind on the day, with a total of three spectators killed and six injured.
Prior to the incidents, the headlines for the event came from a duel between McKenna and Osian Pryce for the win, the latter having been chasing his fifth consecutive BRC event victory.
On the first asphalt rally of this year’s championship, the duo traded the stage wins between themselves over the course of the opening day, posting four fastest times each.
Pryce ended Friday leading by 5.3 seconds, though McKenna was the fast-starter on day two and two consecutive stage wins moved the Pirelli Star Driver ahead by 0.4 seconds.
Welshman Pryce fought back though with three fastest times in a row to pull over three seconds clear, but McKenna slashed that advantage back to under a second on SS14.
The turning point came on SS15, when a massive spin for Pryce allowed McKenna to move 5.8 seconds ahead. The Irishman went on to extend that advantage to 16 seconds with a dominant performance on SS16 before tragedy struck and the event was ended. The final results for the event remain provisional at this time.
John MacCrone was third fastest on the first stage, but his challenge went no further after he retired with engine failure for his Ford Fiesta R200 on SS2 – with another potential front-runner Timothy Cathcart also going out on that stage after hitting a tree.
Callum Black assumed third and held it for the remainder of the rally. While McKenna and Pryce locked out the top two positions on every stage, Black carded twelve third place stage times to take a distant and comfortable podium finish.
Garry Pearson quickly established himself as the fastest of the R2 runners in fourth overall. After briefly losing the spot to David Carney on day one, he went on to run there comfortably throughout day two to pick up the BRC2 victory in his Peugeot 208.
Pearson’s closest challenge came from Calvin Beattie and Cameron Davies, after Aaron McClure’s car failed to start on day two. The two Ford Fiesta R2 pilot’s had a close battle throughout the event, with Beattie eventually taking fifth overall by 8.8 seconds at the finish.
Abarth UK’s debut in the BRC started positively meanwhile, with Jonny Milner setting top six stage times. His challenge ended with a mechanical problem on SS4 though, while Georgia Shiels’ rolled her Abarth 500 out of the event on SS7.
The various retirements meant just ten BRC entrants completed the rally. BRC3 and MSA British Junior Rally Championship victor Chris Wheeler (Ford Fiesta MS1), Harry Threlfall (Renault Twingo R1), Gus Greensmith (Ford Fiesta R1) and Jonathan Jones (Ford Fiesta R1) completed the finishers.
In the NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge section, Richard Sykes made it two wins in two events in his Citroen C2 R200. The former Challenge champion led the class for the majority of the event, before Ross Hunter edged ahead in his Peugeot 205 GTi on SS14.
Gearbox problems on SS16 meant Hunter dropped 13.4 seconds though, giving Sykes the victory. Hunter took second, with Des Campbell third in his Peugeot 206 Cup. Richard Archer and Neil Matthews had challenged at the front on day one, but their events ended on SS14 and SS9 respectively.
Organisers of the MSA British Rally Championship announced earlier this week that the event results are expected to be declared final on Monday 9th June, and that “after consultation with the Motor Sports Association (MSA), the post event production and scheduled broadcast of the television programme featuring the rally will not go ahead, as a mark of respect to those involved.”