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Mull Rally to test new spectator safety recommendations

Mull Rally to test new spectator safety recommendations

This weekend’s Mull Rally will be the test bed for new recommendations to improve the safety of spectators at motor sport events.

The proposals were drawn-up following a series of fatal accidents, including the deaths of three people watching the Jim Clark Rally in the borders in May.

Joy Robson, 50, of Skye, died when she was hit by a car which overturned during a stage of the Snowman Rally in Glenurquhart Forest in February 2013.

The Scottish Government commissioned a review to look at how safety could be improved.

The initial proposals have been released in advance of the Mull Rally, which starts on Friday.

The results will inform the final report due out at the end of the year.

The Mull Rally has already put into practice most of the recommendations, as well as first-on-the-scene training and a new spectator video featuring rally winners John MacCrone and Stuart Loudon.

Clerk of the course, Iain Campbell, who is on the safety review group, said spectators would be told to move away from unsafe locations.

He said: “We have had a terrible year – there was the Snowman incident the year before as well – but in general our sport can be recognised as well regulated and is generally safe. Safety parameters are good but they can always be higher.”

“We have a low number of incidents in our sport but unfortunately these incidents have had a high impact. There is no getting away from that.”

When asked how he viewed the prospect of the Mull Rally being used as a test for the new safety recommendations, Mr Campbell replied: “I am feeling the way I do before every Mull Rally – apprehensive, anxious and I can’t wait for it to start, but more importantly to finish with everyone coming home in one piece.”

Scottish Government Sport Secretary Shona Robison said: “The tragic events at the Jim Clark Rally, and at the Highland Snowman rally in 2013 where a spectator was also killed, brought the safety of spectators at motor sport events into the spotlight.

“Safety is absolutely integral to staging successful and enjoyable sporting events, and all partners need to move forward together to keep people safe.

“Motor sport can never be completely safe. However, these initial findings set out clear improvements that can help to prevent tragic accidents.”

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