The Jim Clark Rally tragedy: Have we not had enough warnings?
Tragic racing crash in Scotland kills multiple fans.
The Jim Clark Rally is annual rally held in Scotland. It's a joyous event with people congregating from all over to enjoy one of the most thrilling forms of motorsport on the planet while also paying tribute to racing legend Jim Clark.
This past weekend however, the rally took a very dark turn. A crash left three spectators dead and hundreds more horrified. Two hours before the deadly incident, five onlookers were injured by a different car; an ominous warning of what was to come.
Rallying is considered one of the most dangerous forms of motorsport to attend as a fan. The pinnacle of rallying (WRC), has taken steps to protect those attending ever since that dark day in 1978, but other rallies across the world have failed to take such measures.
I am big rally fan and it never ceases to amaze me as I watch fearless racers navigate tight, formidable courses at harrowing speeds. At the same time, I cringe at the sight of fans mere feet away from the track where not even a crash, just a minor miscalculation, could end in a number of fatalities.
Below is a somewhat unsettling video. It's a four minute montage of some extraordinary close calls between fans and racers in rallying. (Feel free to mute the annoying music too)
How much longer will organizers allow people to be this close to the track? These fans are playing Russian Roulette with their lives here; it's just plain reckless. I see two very simple options. Either move the fans back, set up strong barriers between them and the track, or do both. The dangers involved in rallying has significantly improved from the ludicrous era of the 1970's & 1980's, but there is still work to be done.
Hopefully, steps are taken as a reaction to this horrible tragedy to ensure that things like this no longer happen moving forward. We don't see fans standing completely exposed to the race track at most major motorsport events, so why do we see it in rallying? Fans come to simply enjoy the show, not to die. Unfortunately, most people will get as close to course as the track marshals will allow, no matter the risks involved.
We need to make sure they don't have the option to take those risks because under no circumstance should a fan ever die at a racing event.
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