A CRASH victim’s family has said that they hope a fatal accident inquiry into the deaths of four motor sport fans at two separate events will lead to greater spectator safety at car rallies.

An official probe will start today at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to examine the death of 50-year-old Joy Robson at the Snowman Rally in Inverness in 2013, as well as those of Iain Provan, 64, Elizabeth Allan, 63, and Len Stern, 71, at the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders the following year.

It represents the first time one inquiry is held into deaths which occurred in different parts of Scotland.

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The lawyer for Mrs Robson's family, Andrew Henderson from Thompsons Solicitors said they wanted a positive outcome from the inquiry.

"Joy's family greatly welcome the beginning of this joint fatal accident inquiry," he said.


A recovery vehicle removes the car involved in the 2014 Jim Clark rally crash

"They want to finally know the full reasons behind Joy losing her life and to make sure that spectator safety at Scottish rallies can be improved to a level where no other family will suffer a bereavement in such an awful and needless way."

Mrs Robson from Portree on the Isle of Skye was killed after being hit by a competing car. An eight year old boy was also struck but survived.

Mr Robson's daughter Kerry who was also "absolutely horrified" by the Jim Clark Rally deaths has previously spoken out about the lack of safety measures at the events and the need for the Crown Office to properly investigate the fatalities through an FAI.

The future of the Jim Clark Rally was left in doubt after organisers could not get a permit from the governing body of motor sport to hold the 2017 event following the fatal crash.

The rally, first launched 46 years ago, has not been staged since the deaths at a stage of the race near Coldstream in 2014.


Organisers have said that after a consultation with insurers, the 2017 event will have to be cancelled "and the very future of the event is now in serious jeopardy".

Following concerns over delays on a Crown Office report, it was anounced at the beginning of December that a joint fatal accident inquiry was to be held into deaths of four people at the Snowman Rally in Inverness and the Jim Clark Rally.

In June it was announced that the annual Mull Rally, one of the most popular motorsport events in the UK, which sees public roads on the island closed to allow rally enthusiasts from across the country to compete, has been cancelled.

The Motor Sport Association, the sport's governing body said there were “insurmountable insurance issues” for 2017.

The world-renowned three-day rally based on Tobermory was first held in 1969 attracted 150 crews and generates about £1m for the local economy.

The issue was complicated by private Acts of Parliament that govern the Isle of Mull Rally since 1990 and the Jim Clark Rally since 1996. These were needed to close public roads on which the events run.

Both Acts included “compensation” clauses that are now under scrutiny because of rally deaths and have led to insurance firms becoming apprehensive.

The Mull rally could still have gone ahead if Scotland had adopted regulations which are now law in England, where councils can suspend the Road Traffic Act for authorised motorsports events, without the need for an individual act of parliament to take place.


The association said they hoped the Scottish government would quickly adopt new legislation, following the conclusion of the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the Jim Clark and Snowman rallies, which would help secure the return of the Mull event in 2018.

Independent research commissioned by the MSA and conducted by the Sport Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University showed that local communities across Britain could generate up to £40m of additional revenue by closing roads to host a limited number of motorsport events.