The Jim Clark Victory Parade…at Brands
At Goodwood over the weekend we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Jim Clark’s first World Championship with probably the greatest collection of Clark cars ever seen on one patch of motor racing turf. On Saturday, September 14, 1963, there was a similar, if slightly more muted, Jim Clark parade to toast the same championship win. Jim, Colin Chapman and the Team Lotus mechanics were the impromptu toast of a relatively small crowd at Brands Hatch, where a BRSCC international meeting had the week before been billed only as the Anglo-European Trophy for Formula Juniors. Jim changed into his Dunlop overalls in order to drive the Lotus 25 around the Grand Prix circuit, waving to the crowd and carrying Colin Chapman piggy-back behind the rollover bar; and all the Team Lotus mechanics were present, sharing the fun and chatting to the crowds. Behind the 25 ran the Ron Harris Lotus 27s of Peter Arundell and Mike Spence (who were racing that day and would finish one-four in the final) plus the spare 27, an Elite, an Elan, a Seven and a Cortina. Jim would have enjoyed watching the two FJ heats early in the afternoon (won by Timmy Mayer and Denny Hulme) and would have been delighted by Sir John Whitmore’s class win with the factory Austin Cooper S. Bob Olthoff would have revived recent happy memories by winning overall with his Galaxie; and Jack Sears would also have brought a smile to Jim’s face with his class win with his Willment Cortina GT. (The Cortina-Lotus would soon be homologated but not for this weekend). That done, Jim then donned his Bell Magnum and string-backed Leston gloves to set about some serious lappery with the 25. Despite running the wrong dampers for Brands, and nursing a slight mis-fire, he completed four flying laps, smashing Bruce McLaren’s 2.5 litre record by 0.6sec. (The first Championship F1 race at Brands, the British and European GP, was scheduled for July, 1964.)That night, with the less pleasant aspects of Monza now beginning to fade, Colin Chapman hosted a huge party in his house in Hadley Wood, near Elstree aerodrome in north London. Most of Jim’s peers were present, in addition to many key motoring and motor racing figures. I asked Sally (Stokes) if she remembered much about it. “I think it was the first time I saw Jim in a kilt,” she replied. “There were lots of ‘do they/don’t they?’ jokes which Jim thought were very funny. Apart from that I don’t remember too much about it. Probably we were having too good a time!”
Captions, from top: Jim talks to the Brands crowd. Colin listens and the excellent Anthony Marsh oversees; Jim’s 25 leads the Brands victory parade; rear view of the same. Images: LAT Photographic
What a terrific and characterful range of road cars Lotus made in the sixties too, even if they were imperfect in some aspects of their durability (although at the risk of tempting fate, my Elan is proving very reliable again this year). They certainly reflect the individuality of not only ACBC, but the people that collaborated with him in these designs.
What a gentle, tactful, turn of phrase you have: “…imperfect in some aspects of their durability…”! I hope Nigel Roebuck reds these comments; he may have something to add!
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