Club Heritage

Jim Clark

The earliest information we can find about a motor club in the area dates back to the early nineteen hundreds under the name of Berwick Motor & Cycle Club, possibly making the club one of the oldest in the UK.

Interrupted by the First World War it seems to have taken some time to reform, eventually doing so in 1935 under its current name, running events at Haggerston Castle and subsequently moving on to utilise the wartime airfields at Winfield, Milfield, Brunton and Charterhall as sprint and racetracks. While these venues are no longer used for racing, some still figure in the club’s calendar of events.

The club has enjoyed many golden years, not only from the great events it has run like the Border and Jim Clark Rallies or the race meetings at Winfield and Charterhall, but from its club members and none more so than Jim Clark. Introduced to Berwick & District Motor Club & motorsport by his friend and club member Ian Scott Watson, Jim’s career started at the club with basic driving tests and club races through to the Border Reivers years, the team Jim raced for set up by local Ford dealer Jock McBain, Farmer and brother in law Alec Calder and of course friend Ian Scott Watson all of whom were club members also, and on to his Formula 1 career with Lotus and his two world championships. They were also the men behind the Border Motor Racing Club, which became the Scottish Motor Racing Club and has gone from strength to strength over the years.

Over the years there have been several more well known local heroes involved in international motor sport, with Berwick & District Motor Club proud to boast among its members famous motorsport names like  Andrew Cowan who won the Scottish Rally in 1962 and 63 with his good friend, local farmer and club member David Thomson, Andrew also went on to win the London to Sydney rally twice, finish runner up on the Paris – Dakar Rally in 1985 and lift the Scottish Rally Championship in 1976, not mention victories in the Southern Cross and Bandama Rallies. Club President and Ladies World Rally Champion Louise Aitken-Walker MBE, William Stoddart, Dominic Buckley along with his sons Dom and Neil and navigators Claire Mole and Doug Redpath, also Doug Niven and Club Vice President Cameron Binnie on the race circuits to name but a few that everyone will recognise.

Bringing things right up to date Duns Rally Driver Euan Thorburn joined the BDMC elite by winning the 2013 and 2019 BTRDA rally championships, the 2014, 2017 and 2019 Scottish rally championships.

The Club has built a reputation for putting on quality events that competitors want. In the past the Jewel in the BDMC Crown was The Jim Clark Memorial Rally, now possibly the most popular rally in the country, when the event moved to tarmac in 1997 it was the only event of this type to be held on the closed public roads of the British mainland and became a regular fixture in the British Rally Championship calendar. Also on the Club calendar over the years was our annual Autocross at East Ord, a couple of Classic Rallies – The Berwick Classic (which from humble beginnings has grown into a major event and a round of the NESCRO Historic Championship) and The Johnston Trophy, Navigational events – The Buglass and The Chairman’s Challenge, as well as auto tests and other club events, along with trips to other events out with the club to assist and marshal. In 2010 Berwick & District Motor Club joined up with Alnwick & District Motor Club to co-promote and co run the Tyneside Stages Rally on the Otterburn Ranges, and 2022 marked the first year of our involvement with Hawick & Border Car Club running the Border Counties Rally.

Also in 2022 we introduced the Northumberland Rally Festival at Brunton Airfield which BDMC hopes to grow over the coming years. Added to that, the Club is always on the lookout for new venues and events to put on.

2025 sees the club along with Alnwick and District Motorclub join forces once again to bring a closed road rally to North Northumberland. With losing mileage on Otterburn for the Tyneside Stages, Tom Wilkinson had a bright idea.