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50 years after his death, motorsport still mourns Jim Clark

50 years after his death, motorsport still mourns Jim Clark

He was one of the greatest sporting Scots who ever gained world recognition.

And Jim Clark’s lustre is undiminished 50 years after the F1 star was killed in a terrible crash at Hockenheim in Germany.

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.

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, was among those who wept when he heard 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.”

Clark, who was born in Fife and raised on a Borders farm, was admired for his modesty, his refusal to get caught up in the hype which surrounde the Grand Prix domain, and his humility in victory.

And his legacy will be celebrated at a new museum, which has received backing from the likes of Stewart and another Scottish motoring legend, Dario Franchitti,

Scottish Borders Council has secured nearly £635,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and will contribute a similar sum itself. And the Jim Clark Trust has also reached its target of £300,000.

The £1.6million investment will see a small exhibition space in Duns redeveloped into a modern museum and the project should be completed later this year.

It is sure to attract F1 aficionados from all over the planet, who acknowledged Clark as a legend.

Stewart, the trust’s honorary president, said: “I am thrilled that the dream has come true and that sufficient funding is going to permit a great Scottish hero to be honoured.

“It will be an excellent testimony to his success as one of the world’s greatest racing drivers of all time.

Half a century later, it will be a fitting tribute to a genuine icon.

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