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New museum lends lustre to the legend of Scotland’s motorsport legend Jim Clark

The new museum has been backed the Jim Clark Trust.
The new museum has been backed the Jim Clark Trust.

Jim Clark is one of the precious few Scots whose name is known and revered all over the world.

A humble man, somebody who never remotely sought the limelight, he was nonetheless one of the greatest racing drivers in sporting history, prior to his untimely death at Hockenheim in 1968.

And it’s therefore fitting that a new museum will open its doors in his honour in Duns in the Borders later this month.

The project has been a very long time coming to fruition, but it boasts the support of such exalted figures as three-time global champion, Sir Jackie Stewart, and IndyCar stalwart, Dario Franchitti, who is one of Clark’s most devoted aficionados.

Jim Clark excelled in both Formula One and the Indy 500.

Indeed, there was a visible sense of pride in Franchitti’s face when the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner personally delivered a sparkling Lotus Cortina to the new museum site this week.

The facility has been created by Scottish Borders Council in partnership with charity Live Borders, The Jim Clark Trust and the Jim Clark Memorial Room Trust.

Funding for the project has come from the council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and The Jim Clark Trust, and a string of individual donations from all around the world.

Ben Smith, secretary of the trust, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Tinguely Museum and Dario Franchitti, a patron of the trust, for allowing these iconic cars to be displayed in public.

The new museum will display the cars which Jim Clark drove. Pic: The Jim Clark Trust.

“It is humbling to see these world famous, beautiful cars, in which Jim raced to success all those years ago, in his home town.

“They are sure to be the star attractions of the new museum, bringing to life the story of Jim Clark and inspiring future generations.”

It was on April 7, 1968 when the news emerged that the modest hero of the pit and paddock had perished after his Lotus 48 veered off the track and crashed into trees during a Formula 2 event.

Even at a time when fatalities were all too prevalent in the fast lane, his death was greeted with a mixture of shock and incredulity.

After all, Clark was such a maestro in the cockpit he always seemed in control of his own destiny and could switch through the gears as if he was out on a Sunday drive.

British motor-racing driver Jim Clark with his trophies and garland, after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone with an average speed of 107.35 mph. Photo by Ted West/Central Press/Getty Images

That skill and resilience had already earned him two world championships in 1963 and 1965, and he made history by triumphing in the famous Indy 500 race in the latter year.

His compatriot, Sir Jackie Stewart, who secured three global F1 titles during his own illustrious career, was among those who wept when he heard the news of what had happened at Hockenheim.

As he said later: “Jim was one of those people who did things that most others can only dream about and he did it without making a fuss, but enjoyed every minute of it.

“I am so proud to have been a friend of Jim’s. I learned so much from him and I still miss him dearly even after all this time.

“But what he achieved in F1 and elsewhere will never be forgotten.”

 

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