Make your own free website on Tripod.com

JIM CLARK
Jim Clark was born on a farm in Kilmany, Fife, Scotland. The youngest of the family, and the only boy among four sisters, Jim moved to a Border districts farm, Edington Mains near Duns, Berwickshire, at the age of six.His sister Betty recalls exuberant bicycle races and her brother's excellent musical skills, even singing lead treble at a school choir concert. Rally driving ace Andrew Cowan, who grew up on a nearby Border farm, was a fellow member of the Ednam Young Farmers Club, and of the Berwick and District Motor Club. Membership of the two organisations seemed to go hand in hand, as much for the social opportunities as anything else. Says Cowan: "We were absolute hooligans. It was more fun in those days!" Jim Clark's first real race was in a German-built DKW 3-6 at Crimond Airfield, near Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1956. He didn't win. He didn't even come close. But last place didn't put him off and soon he was graduating to better cars. A very spirited driver in his own Sunbeam Talbot Mark III, Clark's move to racing was not welcomed by his farmer parents, who rather expected their son to take over the family property.
His first big win came on October 5, 1957 in a friend's Porsche 1600 Super (Jim later bought it), taking the Border Motor Racing Club Trophy at Charterhall. He had graduated to a Triumph TR-3 for personal transport, using the car to win the Rest-and-be-Thankful Hillclimb in 1957.
By 1958 his talent was being clearly recognised. Supplied with a Jaguar D-Type by the Border Reivers team, Clark was now entering races in England, with varied success, and May of 1958 saw the Border Reivers venture to Belgium for the GP de Spa at Spa Francorchamps. In his first foreign race Jimmy brought the car into 8th. Wins in the Jaguar, his Triumph and the Porsche were coming more regularly but a race at Brands Hatch on Boxing Day, 1958, pointed the way to the top of the sport.Competing in a Lotus 14 (Elite), and leading most of the way, Clark finished second to the car's manufacturer, a man rated by many as a very good racer indeed; Colin Chapman.
Chapman, now a fledgling Formula One entrant, had invited Clark down to Brands Hatch two months earlier to try out the Lotus Formula Two car (basically a Grand Prix Lotus 16 fitted with a 1.5 litre Coventry Climax FPF engine, instead of the F1 car's 2.5 litre version), currently under consideration by the Border Reivers.

a photo of the Porsche 1600 Super in which Jim scored first race win (6K)
While his times were slower than Grand Prix team driver Graham Hill's, they were good enough for Chapman to take notice. Watching Hill lose a wheel, and flip the Lotus, did little to boost Clark's confidence in the car, so competing in a single seater was to wait another fourteen months. The Reivers bought an Elite instead and entered the Boxing Day race.
The first win in the Elite came in the Mallory Park 1000cc - 1600cc GT car race in March. The Border Reivers had also moved him up to a Lister-Jaguar with which he was regularly winning or placing.
Performances during 1959 pointed increasingly to a Grand Prix career as Clark turned in lap times and placings as good as the Formula One stars of the day. When Aston Martin bid for his services early in 1960, Clark was ready to make the jump.Impressing Aston Martin team boss Reg Parnell enough to win a contract offer, Clark also tested Colin Chapman's new rear-engined Lotus 18 Cosworth Formula Junior.
Clark had one major obstacle; his father and mother continued to be unhappy with his plans to race full-time. Parnell went to Berwickshire to talk to James Clark Senior who was mollified only by Parnell's blunt assertion that the farmer's son was good enough to be world champion.
As it turned out, the Aston Martin team failed to produce a car it thought worthy of a Formula One effort so Clark found himself free to drive the Lotus FJ, taking the British Championship.He was eventually released by Parnell to drive Colin Chapman's Formula One cars as well, beginning at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. He ran as high as 4th before the gearbox failed. The shy young racer was on his way.