Today, 52 years ago, Jim Clark died in a horrific accident during a F2 race at Hockenheim Ring in Germany. The memorial organised in 2018 in Duns and Chirnside in the Scottish Borders, 50 years after his sudden death, was in fact the start of Bends and Curves Road Tripping. This is a throwback to the Jim Clark Memorial road trip.
First of all, what made Jim Clark so special? In the endless list of articles written about him the same facts emerge. He won 25 times in his 72 GP starts, started from pole position a record 33 times and set fastest lap in 28 races. He scored the Indianapolis 500 victory in 1965, and should have won it in 1963, ’64 and ’66 too. Outstanding performances in all races he participated in and more than enough proof to be called ‘special’.
All this, together with his personality, made him a unique man. Jim Clark, the farmer from the Border region, stayed Jim Clark the farmer from the Border Region in a world of big ego’s, big money, temptations of all sorts, people living life literally in the fast lane. Everywhere he went, he showed charm and manners that reflected his upbringing. Though he travelled around the globe and won races wherever he went, his feet remained firmly on the ground, his heart in the farmland of the Border region.
The Jim Clark Memorial road trip started at former Garage Davids in Zandvoort, a famous place – now a DIRK supermarket – where Formula 1 teams used to prepare for the Dutch GP, driving their race cars on public roads to the race track. As did Jim when he first sat down in the Lotus 49, to win the 1967 Dutch GP.
Before the actual memorial started we’ve spent a day driving the beautiful Border region. The roads are legend, not for their quality of tarmac but besides that it’s hard to find better roads for sheer driving fun. Unless the sat nav system puts you in a place with gravel roads and snow. Adventurous is a fitting description of this part of the trip.
Along the way we’ve visited epic places and have met wonderful people who’ve played an important role in Jim’s life. For instance, we met Ian Scott-Watson, long time friend and confidant of Jim.
And we payed a visit to Border Reivers, the race team where Jim started his career.
The memorial itself took place on 7th April 2018. The reminiscence of this day, and of this road trip, will always be in our hearts.
The Jim Clark Memorial Road Trip wasn’t finished when the lights at the Cafraemill Hotel went out. The following days we paid a visit to the Lotus factory in Hethel and to Classic Team Lotus. A brilliant finish of our journey through time and some hardship.
This wonderful trip was filmed and edited by Erik Herlé. Have a look at it here.