The Porsche 356A coupe which Jim raced and won from 1957 to quickflirt-quizzen 1959, a Lister-Jaguar in which he raced and won 14 out of the 26 times he raced it ( one of those wins, at Goodwood ), a Tojeiro-Jaguar which he shared with Masten Gregory at Goodwood in 1959, a Gemini-Ford MK2 in which he made his FJ debut, and a Aston Martin DBR4 which he tested in ( in 1960, Jim signed with Aston, but never raced for them in F1 ), along with the Aston DB4 GT Zagato, a Ford Galaxie 500 driven at Brandshatch in 63, and the ERA B-Type R5B “Remus” of Prince Bira which Jim drove in Rouen “just for fun”…
A natural behind the wheel and a true world-class driver,- not bad I’d say for a shy Scottish farmer, who in his own words, “just loves driving”
Jim Clark, was and is, in my humble opinion, one of the best and most versatile of all racecar drivers. Clark still holds the all-time lap-record at the Goodwood circuit, along with his friend and rival racer Jackie Stewart, who was present to pay tribute to Jim, driving one of Jim’s Lotus cars. It is quite an emotional moment when you see the likes of Stewart, Tony Brooks, Sir Stir, John Surtees, and Dario Franchetti, Romain Dumas, and others I am sure I miss to mention, warming up Jim Clark’s cars on the pre-grid…and Lotus mechanic Bob Dance there among them. I am sure Jim and Colin were looking down on this with a bemused eye…and thinking, “ what is all the fuss about? “.
I decided to concentrate on the races in which the cars I love best and the people I know were involved
Another highlight for me, was meeting Sally Stokes just before our laps on the Goodwood track for the parade. Sally was invited to have a go around the track in Jim’s last road car, a yellow Lotus Elan Series 3 car he used to commute around Europe while living in Paris. Jim Clark , while living in Paris, shared an apartment with G. Crombac and his family and Jim eventually gave the car to Crombac as a gift. Sally Stokes made it really personal and special,- she being Jim’s last girlfriend in the day. A charming and delightful lady. And just seeing her participating in the tribute made it all even more special. After the parade she took the time to speak of Jim Clark with me and re-enforced my thoughts on what an exceptional human being Jim Clark truly was. Bless him !
And now about the racing… I unfortunately did not get to see all the races. It is difficult to be everywhere all the time,- even though I sure did try! The 3 most exciting races for my stay at Goodwood were the St. Mary’s Trophy ( a two part race of 25 minutes each, for production saloon cars of a type that raced between 1960 and 1966), the Whitsun Trophy (a 45 minute, two driver race, for the Ford GT40s and related cars of a type that raced between 1964 and 1966), and the one everyone is willing to brave the rain and wet conditions to watch: the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration ( a one hour, two driver race for closed-cockpit GT cars in the spirit of the RAC TT races from 1960-1964 ).
You can almost feel the electricity in the air when the St. Mary’s race winds up for the start. It begins on the pre-grid and then as the cars go out on the warm up lap for placement on the grid…everyone makes a scramble for the pit-lane stand. This is the race where David and Goliath battle it out…Lotus Cortinas and Alfa GTAs, Mini Coopers and Abarths against Ford Galaxies, and then some! Some major straight-on head-to-head dicing around the track always happens in this race. And again, part of the excitement is seeing professional and celebrity racers out there racing against the guys who race these saloon cars on a regular basis in some of the UK and European series…