Sunday, 29 November 2015

Giving You F1 Legend Jim Clark.

Jim Clark Lotus 1967



This was another ornimental gem that I could not resist. Jim Clark's Lotus stand proudly on the side board. Little nostalgic memories of my boyhood.



From the mind of a seven year old boy

My only memory of Jim Clark, as a young seven year old, was from his prestigious reputation. I did not know what F1 racing meant, but I knew what racing cars looked liked. Racing cars were different from ordinary cars. Even though ordinary cars did race if they had stripes, and numbers painted on them, and were put on racing tracks or in fields. They still were not proper racing cars though.

Real racing cars were different and they went faster and you only saw them on television because they did not drive on streets. I also had hundreds of toy cars and knew what racing cars looked like. I knew the name Jim Clark because he raced such cars. The UK in the 1960s decade was full of names in various and exciting iconic interests. Interests that came to us from pop stars, film stars, football stars, comics of great British war heroes - we were fed on a diet of great heroes.

In school, or somewhere, I knew of Jim Clark. He drove racing cars and won trophies of great prestige because he was a champion racing car driver. I had no idea what he looked like. But when we kids played motor racing cars in the school playground or out on the streets, everyone argued over who was Jim Clark.
"I'm Jim Clark."
"No, I'm Jim Clark."
Needless to say the toughest kid in the group was usually Jim Clark.

It was in the summer of 1968 when I went on holiday with my cousins, who were a little older then me. We were playing in the garden of a guest house, where we were staying, and decided to play racing cars around this huge boat that was being made in the garden. I'm not sure if it was in Margate, Ramsgate or Broadstairs because we always seemed to go to one of these places every year. This boat looked like a miniature ark and someone was in the process of building it. While we were at the guest house; whoever was trying to construct the boat, must have left the project, because we never saw anyone working on the partly completed boat. All the wood was new and I remembered wondering how they would get such a big boat off of its stands and to the sea.

We were running around this partly constructed boat playing and laughing. Then decided we were racing cars, and around the boat was the racing track.

"I'm Jim Clark," I shouted enthusiastically. My elder cousins were very tolerant and not like the kids in the playground and in the street. I had a good chance of being indulged and getting my way.
"You can't," replied my cousin Danny. "Jim Clark is dead."
"No he's not - he's a racing car driver."

He went on to tell me that Jim Clark was killed in a racing car crash, in a real racing car race, only a short time ago. I was stunned and shocked. Jim Clark was dead and I never even knew it, or what he looked like.

As years rolled by and other F1 names came and went from the sport, I learnt more of Jim Clark through watching interviews with Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill. He was a very special champion that was liked and respected in the F1 sport across the world.

Below is a link to a documentary of Jim Clark that is on YouTube. It's a very moving documentary.





Driving Jim Clark's Lotus



Driving Jim Clark's Lotus 25 would be a dream come true for anyone who enjoys formula one and its high octane, fuel injected, excitingly dangerous history. Where the thin line between winning glory and devastating acceleration into the afterlife can happen in the flicker of a blink.

Jim Clark tasted both sides - the euphoric adulation of winning while skimming the danger of death and finally the flip side of the formula one coin. His name now echoes in eternity and the thought of driving one of his actual cars is something close to the legend he has become. I would be too terrified to even contemplate racing in formula one, but to take one on a spin on an empty open track? Oh yes! I think I could manage that.

David Coulthard got to do just that, but then he is one of the many who have tweaked the nose of Formula one danger. I have a Lotus 25 diecast 1:18 of Jim Clark's 1967 Dutch Grand Prix car. It has pride of place in my little office room. I enjoy watching Formula One, but I get this interest in fads. I am going through such a fad of interest at the moment. It will settle down, but its Ron Howard, the late James Hunt and Nikki Lauda's fault.

For now, I'm enjoying going through a retro buzz  and the great Retro Brit names of the 50s and 60s are compelling me to look at the sport. Jim Clark, Mike Hawthorn, Peter Collins, Graham Hill, John Surtees and Jackie Stewart. That fifteen years was a golden age for British Formula One. Great days with only some of the vehicles of some of the ghosts that have left us.


Interview with the Legend





Jim Clark won the Formula One Championship on two occasions. 1963 and 1965. He was killed during a minor none F1 race in Germany 1968. Had he lived beyond his 32 years, I believe he would have undoubtedly gone on to win at least one other championship.

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