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Motorsport

My friend, Jim Clark

3 months ago

Writer:

Eric Dymock | Journalist

Date:

7 July 2022

Watkins Glen 1969. I am at the American Grand Prix. Walter Leopold Arthur Hayes CBE (1924-2000) was Director of Public Affairs at Ford when the manufacturer spent £100,000 on the Cosworth engine: ‘Two years ago here I really wanted to do well. I said to Jimmy and Graham: “This is the first race this car’s going to have in the United States, and we’re not going to screw around.”

We did a lot of testing before we got here, then these two asses started competing with one another. I had to make them toss up for which of them was going to win. Jimmy won and gave me the trophy. I put it on my knees in the helicopter and carried it all the way home.’

Perceptive, discerning Hayes: ‘And then we had a terrible year, didn’t we?’

I was a lifelong friend of Jimmy Stewart (1931-2008), a man nearer my age than his brother Jackie who was born in 1939. It was a West-of-Scotland family connection. I was Jimmy’s best man and his connections with Ecurie Ecosse helped me into writing. I remained close to Jackie when I covered Formula 1 during the Sixties.

Jim Clark (1936-1968) was East-of-Scotland and drove for Border Reivers. The Scottish motorsport community was close-knit and we all met up on the 1955 Scottish Rally. I navigated Frank Dundas’s Morgan Plus-4, Clark navigated Billy Potts’s Austin-Healey. Jim’s greatest friend Ian Scott Watson took part in his new DKW, but his co-driver overturned it and they carried on with a crumpled roof. Clark was 18 and not long out of one of Scotland’s leading public schools.

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