Tributes To Rally Tragedy Victims

2 June 2014, 12:38 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Tributes have been paid to three rally fans who died when a car spun off course and ploughed into the crowd.

Iain Provan, Elizabeth Allan and Len Stern were killed in what was the second of two crashes during the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders on Saturday afternoon.

Two other injured men, both 61, are still in hospital - one in a stable condition and one in a critical but stable condition in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The fatal accident took place at about 4pm on Saturday at Little Swinton, near Coldstream.

Mr Provan, 64, and his partner Ms Allan, 63, had travelled to the event from Barrhead, while 71-year-old Mr Stern had made a similar journey from Bearsden.

Mr Provan founded the Motorsport Scotland website which was designed "to bring together car and motor sport enthusiasts from Scotland".

A picture posted on social media shows the 64-year-old with a camera taking notes on the first day of the three-day rally.

Photographer Stephen Tait wrote on Facebook: "I met Iain at last year's Jim Clark, lovely man, and this year I have had the pleasure of covering some events for him.

"Will miss chatting with him and working for him. My condolences go out to his family and friends and also the others, Elizabeth and Len, who were involved in this."

Chris Collie also posted: "A very nice man that I met and spoke to only a few times but his passion for rallying was in no doubt. Always looking to speak with me and find out my rally plans.

"RIP Iain, Elizabeth and John. Thoughts are with your families."

Famous names from the world of motor sport have also expressed their sadness at the deaths.

Former Formula One world champion Jenson Button posted on Twitter: "Terribly sad news from the Jim Clark rally, my thoughts are with those involved and the families that have lost loved ones."

Flowers have been left near the crash site with one bouquet carrying a card reading: "The sport that we all love is very cruel at times.

"Deepest sympathy for all concerned. With love, car 180."

Investigations into the deaths are continuing today, with Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and the top prosecutor, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, to receive a briefing from police later.

The crashed car was removed from the scene by officers yesterday as forensic specialists worked in the area. Private ambulances also left the area as the bodies were recovered.

About 250 competitors had been taking part in the rally, which is said to be one of the largest in the UK. Thousands of spectators watch the action but it was immediately abandoned after the fatal crash.

Two hours earlier another car in the rally left the road and hit five people, one woman and four men, near Crosshall Farm on the Eccles stage of the competition.

Three of the men were taken to Borders General Hospital but one was then moved to an intensive care unit in Edinburgh. The other two spectators were treated for minor injuries.

An eyewitness to the fatal crash described the incident as like "a bowling ball hitting skittles''.

Colin Gracey, who has watched the rally for years from the same spot close to where the crash happened, said the experience was "traumatic".

"I think it was the seventh car coming through and it just veered very sharply after taking the bridge and it went right into the field, hitting the people who were stood there. It was shocking,'' he said.

"I was there with my family, my three children, and we go to the same place every year and always watch it from there. It was very traumatic.

"It was like a bowling ball hitting skittles. It was awful, absolutely awful."

Mr Gracey said a safety car passed through the area before the rally to tell people to stand at a safe distance. But he said some people may have returned.

"There were at least a dozen people standing there and when it happened I thought 'my god'," he said.

"It was horrendous, I've never seen anything like it in my life."

In a statement following the crash, rally organisers said their thoughts were with those affected.

"All members of the organising team are in shock and are co-operating fully with Police Scotland to establish the facts," the statement read.

The rally is named after Scottish Formula One driver Jim Clark, who grew up in the area and was killed in a motor racing accident in Hockenheim, Germany, in 1968.