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Ingliston Interlude

Jim Clark had been impressed by Jackie Stewart from the moment he saw him drive.  Jackie hailed from Glasgow, Jimmy from the Borders; Jackie’s family ran a garage, Jim’s ran a farm: the differences were pronounced. In common, though, was their love of driving nice racing cars on the absolute limit. Quite what defined that limit, in their respective minds, is still an open question: Sir Jackie today remembers Jim saying very little to him about how he actually drove. “You knew, with Jimmy, when to push and when not to push,” he says. “He always gave me the impression that he didn’t want to talk about the very precise details. They were private to him – and I respected that. Of course we talked about cars and racing in general and strategy and those sorts of things…but Jimmy always kept a little bit in reserve. That was his nature.”

Their friendship blossomed in 1965. Jackie also became a familiar face at Sir John Whitmore’s Balfour Place apartment and in so doing opened Jim’s perspectives to a very different way of life. Jackie, even then, was both fashion- and financially-sophisticated. Jim was less so. The interesting thing, looking back, is that Jackie had no doubt about how to solve the high-earner’s tax problems: he would move to Switzerland and operate as a pro racing driver from that one, central base. Jim, despite his friendship with Jackie, continued to do his own thing with his own, local advisers. He would take the complicated option of moving his “goods and chattels” to Bermuda while residing for a full racing season in Paris.

By the mid-1965, Jackie had also finished second to Jim at Spa, Clermont and Zandvoort: the magazines were calling it a “Highland Fling” and referring to “The Flying Scotsmen” in the plural. None of this troubled Jim.  On the contrary, he was delighted for Jackie – for that was his nature. Jim had persuaded Colin Chapman to give Jackie a quick F1 outing during practice for the 1964 British GP and Jackie had stood-in for Jim in the Rand GP later that year. With Jim’s Indy win paving the way for drivers like Jackie also to race in the States, motor racing north of the border had never looked healthier.

Thus the two friends attended a race meeting at the new Ingliston circuit in Edinburgh on July 25 – in the time between the Dutch and German GPs (at the vortex of what was already a breathlessly intense season). Already well-known to Jim as the site of the Royal Highland Showground, the new circuit was made up from in-field and perimeter roads. It wasn’t long or too demanding – but it was another motor racing circuit for Scotland.  In many ways it was a product of Jim’s success.

The race meeting itself, organised by the Scottish Motor Racing Club, was relatively low-key, as you would expect.  Jackie would have been interested in Bill Stein’s Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro while Jim would have had a laugh with his old Normand team-mate and fellow F2 competitor, Mike Beckwith, who raced spectacularly at Ingliston in his Elan.  The Rover-BRM turbine “hoover” was on-hand, fresh from Le Mans, for Jackie to demonstrate with Jim alongside him (!) and Jim, ever the man of detail, performed the start-line duties for the Guards Trophy event, stop watch in hand, flag accurately poised. It’s also worth noting that both Graham and Gerry Birrell raced on this day at Ingliston – both were quick and destined for greater things – and that Jock Russell was much in evidence: the irascible Scot would later buy Jim’s 1966 US GP-winning Lotus 43-BRM.

Click on the first image to open this short gallery of the Ingliston Interlude.

 

More hectic than racing

Continuing our year-long diary of Jim Clark’s epic 1963 season. When we last reported, Jim had flown straight to Indianapolis from Mexico in order to test the new four-cam Ford V8 Lotus 29B. Read more…

Artist at work: Jim Clark wins Dutch GP

19618.tifJim’s whirlwind 1963 season continued unabated – even when he wasn’t driving a racing car.  The Belgian Grand Prix had been a relief;  it had been tough and dangerous;  it had been nothing less than the usual forces of Spa.  At last, though, he had scored another F1 Championship win with the Lotus 25 (his last, prior to that, had been at Watkins Glen, the previous October).  At Spa the car had again been excessively temperamental – difficult to set-up and fragile (with the persistent gearbox problems still no nearer to being remedied).  Still, though, he had won with enough margin to be able to back away in the closing stages and to crawl around in the torrential rain.

Then came a nice, two-week break.  Jim returned first to London, to Balfour Place, where there was plenty to celebrate with Sir John Whitmore and his new wife, Gunilla, and also with the boys over at Cheshunt.S2600019  There were expense accounts to present to the ever-scrupulous Andrew Ferguson and there was Indy prize money to reconcile.   There was also a new, convertible, Lotus Elan S2 to collect and try.   Painstakingly assembled at the factory, this Elan would be Jim’s transport through to October, 1963.

Jim had appointed Bill Campbell to manage Edington Mains but now it was time for Jim to return to the Borders to catch up on the events – farm-related and otherwise – of the past six weeks or so.  More and more, there were additional interviews to be scheduled with local TV, radio, newspaper and magazine journalists.  Ian Scott-Watson, who had already invested £40,000 of his own money in Jim’s career – and was paying his own way to several European events in 1963 – was still very much in charge of Jim’s racing administration.  Graham Gauld, a local motoring journalist whom Jim had respected from the early Border Reiver days, was also in position to start preliminary work on Jim’s autobiography.  And then there were the farm matters.  The lamb sales were looming.  Cast ewes were to be bought.  Silage was in the first cut. Most days, with an interview or Lotus-related meeting scheduled at some point, Jim wore a shirt, tie, sports jacket, flat cap and Wellington boots as he strode around the farm.  Sometimes, if he could relax, he’d leave out the tie.  In short, Jim switched off for a while, although the inevitable Autosport and Motoring News were never far from his desk.  He would have smiled that week at the picture in Autosport of the USAC race official pointing to the oil leaking from Parnelli Jones’ car during his last pit stop and he would have spent a little time, too, reading about the Rover-BRM turbine car that Graham Hill and Richie Ginther would be racing at Le Mans the following weekend.  And, of course, he would have devoured the details of the previous week’s Scottish Rally (won by his fellow-Border farmer, Andrew Cowan).   Andrew and Jim – who were 27 and 26 at that point – had much to celebrate in Duns in the free weekend that followed.08-26-2010_45

All too soon, though, it was over:  ahead lay a Dutch and French Grand Prix double, followed two weeks later by the British Grand Prix.  With Ian driving his own, yellow Elan demonstrator to Zandvoort and then Reims, Jim drove south to travel to Holland with Colin by private aircraft from Panshanger Aerodrome in Essex.8-24-2010 16-55-24_095

A year on from their official race debut, the cars weren’t ready for first practice at Zandvoort – which, from Jim’s perspective, was no bad thing:  as much time as was needed to fix the gearbox problems, Cedric Selzer and the lads could have it.  As it was, Team Lotus brought a mixed bag to Holland:  Trevor Taylor would use a six-speed Colotti gearbox and Jim a modified five-speed ZF. The cars were also fitted with revised versions of the aeroscreen tried at Spa – this time with a larger opening and a steeper flare ahead of the dash.  Jim quickly found that, with the new design, buffeting had all but disappeared;  white helmet peak now confined to his bag (or lent to Dan Gurney!), he could lie even lower in the car.  So Jim raced it.  The 25’s Ultimate Look was almost complete.S2600001

For this race, thinking about the potential for dust and sand, Jim fitted an orange lens to his Panorama goggles, taping the top half, as usual.   He stayed with the team in a small bed-and-breakfast in the little holiday town of Zandvoort and went trampolining with Bruce McLaren on the beach after practice.  The Dutch Grand Prix was being staged later than normal.  The weather was warmer.  The crowds were huge.

Jim tried the Colotti in practice, then switched to the ZF.  He was unsettled to find that it was now jumping out of second gear rather than top.

While waiting for his car to be adjusted during Saturday practice, Jim strolled out the back of the pits to watch the action.  Against a chill North Sea breeze, he wore his now-customary Pure jacket over his Dunlop blues and his regular string-backed driving gloves.  There he found his mate, Bruce McLaren, who was also in gearbox trouble with the Cooper-Climax (in this, a “comeback” race for John Cooper, who had been seriously injured in early April when he had crashed an experimental twin-engined Mini-Cooper on the Kingston by-pass).   The two were having a laugh, and comparing notes, when suddenly Bruce was grabbed by a policeman and dragged backwards towards the paddock.  Jim spun around in horror – only to see another policeman heading towards him with about the same step.  The issue at hand:  Bruce McLaren, without his Driver’s pass, was standing where only photographers could tread.  Jim was about to protest Bruce’s innocence when two big hands grabbed him by the Pure jacket and attempted to drag him too towards the shrubbery.  Jim’s Dunlop overalls were torn;  and a large crowd swarmed around, all shouting at the policemen to stop. S2600002 Jim had the correct pass! It was there, visible inside his jacket!  In time, there was little the police could do.  It took a reminder that Zandvoort was about to receive the GPDA’s “Best Organized” award, however (as voted by the members at Monaco), for Bruce to be released.

Although the story of Jim Clark’s Dutch GP weekend is thereafter a story of complete domination, of total command, there was, of course, another side to it: Jim felt that the revised Dunlop R6s brought to Zandvoort were an improvement but still he couldn’t persuade the 25 to handle well on both fast corners and slow:  although he headed every practice session and took the pole by 0.6 sec, he had to nurse understeer at Tarzan and – more importantly, at Hunze Rug, where the slow, downhill left-hander was followed by a long acceleration run through the sweepers.  Even so, he led the race from start to finish, lapping even Dan Gurney, who finished second for Brabham.  The sun shone, sand swirled – and still Jim drew quickly away from the pack.   His was a race of supreme concentration, for there was no-one around for him to race.  It was two hours, nine minutes of lone, artistic brilliance.S2600004

Justifying that GPDA Award, the Dutch organizers did a nice job with the post-race celebrations, ushering Jim and the 25 up between the crowds onto a trailer, where the new Championship points leader could be acknowledged by the fans opposite in the packed, signature grandstand.   Jim’s policeman friend from Friday reluctantly helped with the crowd control – but then had the last word when by preventing both Jim and Colin Chapman from entering a studio for post-race radio interviews. No-one dared ask why.

In another part of Europe, meanwhile, on this day in June, 1963 – on Hockenheim’s OstCurve, in Germany  – Heinz Schreiber was killed when his BMW slid into the trees.  In the aftermath, no-one even thought about the erection of guard-rails or of any sort of protective fencing.S2600003

Captions (from top): Jim glides the 25 up the ramp for victory celebrations.  Note Cedric Selzer by left-rear Dunlop;  top-floor flat, 8 Balfour Place – Sir John Whitmore’s London pad, as frequented by Jim Clark.  Rob Slotemaker, the Dutch trickster, once completed a perfect 360 within the confines of this narrow road, much to the amusement of  Sirs Whitmore and Clark; Edington Mains as I photographed it in 1967; Zandvoort in 1967, as I saw it from a Boeing 707; Jim’s Dutch GP win, with all its aesthetic perfection, was perfectly-captured on the cover of the 1963 edition of Automobile Year; Jim and that famous scuffle; the 25’s cockpit also set timeless artistic standards; in a world of his own – Clark at Zandvoort, 1963; below – Saturday night, and Jim returns to the track after dining in Zandvoort.  The boys needed some coffee! Images: LAT Photographic, Peter Windsor CollectionS2620007

High Fives for Clark at Silverstone

moremsportshistoryFirst, though, the build-up to that May 11, 1963, 15th International Trophy Race:

Indianapolis became a steep learning-curve as the month of May gathered pace.  As well as embracing the ways of the idiosyncratic Speedway, and all that comes with it, Team Lotus faced the additional problems of being newcomers amongst the old guard, of initiating the winds of profound technical change and of trying many all-new components thus related.  Like big, aluminium, 4.2 litre Ford Fairlane V8 engines.  And Firestone tyres.  And Halibrand wheels.  And asymmetric suspension.  And seat belts.  And, yes, Bell Magnum helmets.

For most of the month of May, Jim, Colin Chapman and David Phipps, the talented photo-journalist, stayed in the house of Rodger Ward, the 1959 and 1962 Indy winner.   The days were relaxed by European racing standards, beginning with early morning tests, lunch work, more afternoon laps and then late-ish nights with the mechanics after early evening meals.   The issues were many:  the Dunlop D12s were quicker (Dan Gurney had lapped his Lotus 29 at 150mph while Jim was racing in Europe) but the Firestones were more durable.  With one pit stop to the roadsters’ two or three, Lotus could enjoy a big advantage even before the race was underway.  To achieve that, however, they needed to run the less grippy Firestones.

This, in turn, caused a furore.  Firestone built special tyres for Lotus around 15in wheels but then quickly found themselves under pressure from the Americans, who also expected the same, larger, footprint tyres for their roadsters (which normally ran 18in wheels).  AJ Foyt in particular took umbrage.  Expecting Firestone to be swamped, he approached Goodyear about using their stock car (NASCAR) tyres.  They agreed.  And, with that, the great Akron company began its single-seater racing history.

The switch to Firestones had additional implications for Jim.  Until now, he had worn at Indy his regular, light blue, two-piece Dunlop overalls, complete with Esso and BRDC badges.  With Ford’s engine supply now requiring the Lotus 29s to use Pure fuel and lubricants, those overalls were obviously redundant.  What to do?  Dan introduced Jim to Lew Hinchman, the local owner of a large garment and uniform factory.  Lew, whose father, JB,  built fire-retardant overalls for many of the American drivers, was in the process of making a dark blue, Ford-logo’d one-piece suit for Dan.  Why not make one for Jim, too?  Jim was measured up in the sweaty Team Lotus garage one lunch break (air-conditioning units were forbidden by the Speedway Safety Police due to the WWII-spec wiring in the garages!) and Jim was told that the overalls would be ready for the first week of qualifying.  Dan also pointed Jim in the direction of the Bell Helmets race rep.  Dan had been using a leather-edged McHal for a couple of years, and loved it.  Even so, he was impressed with the new Magnum. And so here was a chance for Jim to put his trusty Everoak out to pasture.  Jim examined the new silver helmet and decided to try it in the build-up to qualifying.  For Silverstone, next weekend, he would nonetheless race with the Everoak – for the last time, as it turned out.

Between runs in this leisurely week at Indy, Jim also had time to shape-up his travel schedule for the following weeks.  It would go something like this:

Tue, May 7: return to England (via Chicago). Pick up Lotus-Cortina at Heathrow. Drive to Silverstone. Check in to Green Man hotel. Thur-Fri-Sat: International Trophy F1 race, Silverstone. Sat, May 11: immediately after the race, fly with Colin and Dan Gurney to Heathrow in Colin’s Miles Messenger. Take flight to Chicago via New York. Change at Chicago for Indy. Check in to Speedway Motel. Begin testing Monday morning. Sat, May 18: Indy qualifying.  Leave Sunday, May 19, for London. Stay with Sir John Whitmore in Belgravia. Two days at the factory at Cheshunt. Wed, May 22 : fly to Nice from Heathrow. Check in to La Bananerie at Eze sur Mer. Thur, May 23-Sun May 26:  Monaco GP. Mon, May 27:  leave at 4:00am for London. Take flight to Chicago and then on to Indy. Thur, May 30: Indy 500. Fri, May 31: fly to Toronto and then drive on to Mosport. Sat, June 1: Players’ 200 sports car race (with Al Pease’s Lotus 23). Drive afterwards to Toronto. Take evening flight to London. Mon, June 3: Whitmonday Crystal Palace sports car race (Normand Lotus 23B). Wed, June 5: Leave London with Colin for Spa (Belgian GP).

In other words:  phew!  There was of course no internet back then; transatlantic phone calls were both a novelty and expensive.  Communications with the UK were via telexes and telegrams. Flight bookings were handled by Andrew Ferguson’s office in Cheshunt but re-arranged in the US by David Phipps.  And the tickets, of course, were big, carbon-copied wads of coupons. Jim’s black leather briefcase was literally jammed to the hilt.

There was little time, though, as one Indy issue followed another, to wonder if it would all be feasible.  If Jim didn’t qualify on the first weekend, for example – what would happen?  Would he miss Monaco or would he foresake Indy?  Given the powers behind the Indy effort – Ford, Firestone, etc – probably it would be Monaco.  For now, though, it was heads-down:  there was not a moment to spare – or even to think about the bigger problem.

In the midst of all this, Silverstone turned out to be a golden Saturday to be forever savoured. Thursday and Friday, by contrast, were best forgotten.  Dunlop were pushing R6 development to new frontiers;  Jim, as at Snetterton, found the Lotus 25 to be all over the place on the new tyres.  On a cold and windy Thursday, jet lag or no, he couldn’t find anything approaching a sweet spot with the car – and this was with exactly the chassis (R5) in which he’d been so quick at Aintree (on R5s).  He was only fifth that Thursday, focusing as he was on trying to make the car work just through Stowe and Club.   If he could find a balance there, he reasoned, then he could probably make up for deficiencies over the rest of the lap.

The mechanics – Jim Endruweit, Cedric Selzer Dick Scammell, Derek Wilde and the boys – worked through to six o’clock on Friday morning, rebuilding Jim’s car with yet another set-up change.   Perhaps, in addition, the rebuild might uncover a more fundamental chassis fault…

To no avail.  Saturday was cold and wet;  as all-weather as the new Dunlops undoubtedly were, little could be learned about a dry-weather balance.  The grid therefore being defined by Thursday’s times, Jim tried team-mate Trevor Taylor’s car for a few laps.  A spin at Copse capped an unremarkable day.  Innes Ireland, what’s more, would start from the pole in the BRP Lotus 24-BRM – a chassis that Jim had always liked.  Graham Hill was second in his trusty 1961/62 BRM, Bruce McLaren third in the new works Cooper and Jack Brabham fourth in his BT3, his engine down on power after a rushed rebuild.  Poor Dan Gurney had flown over with Jim from Indy but for him there would be no F1 debut with Brabham:  there was a dire shortage of Climax engines in this build up to the season proper, highlighted by Jack’s frequent runs up and down to Coventry.  Jack was more than ready to let Dan race the one and only BT3 at Silverstone but a short test at Goodwood confirmed that Dan was much too tall for Jack’s cockpit.  He would have to wait until Monaco to drive his tailor-made car.

This race was also notable for the appearance of the new 1963 Ferraris driven by John Surtees and Willy Mairesse.  Powered by regular V6 engines (with V8s rumoured to be on the way), the new cars showed glimpses of promise amidst predictable teething troubles.  This would be Surtees’ first F1 race for the Scuderia (and his first F1 race of the season;  the beautiful Lola GT, a forerunner of the 1964 Ford GT and a car with which Surtees had been closely involved form the outset, also had its maiden appearance this Silverstone weekend.  In a portent of the drama that was to explode three years later, Big John practiced the Lola on Thursday but was then forbidden by Ferrari from racing it on Saturday, even though the Sports Car Race was the last event of the day.  John appointed Tony Maggs in his place;  the South African started from the back of the grid and finished an excellent ninth.)

After Thursday’s all-nighter, and given the slight repairs that needed to be made to Trevor’s car after Jim’s spin, Colin decreed late on Friday afternoon that the boys should not overdo it.  “Just put everything back to standard on both cars.  Try to finish by nine. Get an early night.”

This they attempted.  After packing the 25s back into the transporter and driving it to their regular garage on the outskirts of Towcester, they race-prepared the cars to standard spec before repairing to their hotel, the Brave Old Oak, in time for a half-past-nine drink at the bar.   A “quick drink” then evolved into an all-nighter of a different kind – the liquid kind.  Come Saturday morning, as the bleary-eyed Team Lotus crew hustled their transporter through the early-race traffic, all the talk was of the blonde girl who worked behind the bar…Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden attended the 1963 International Trophy;  and the weather doffed its cap. A warm spring sun quickly replaced early cloud.  One hundred thousand spectators poured through Silverstone’s gates, filling the grandstands and the grass banks right around the circuit.  The British Grand Prix may have been but a couple of months in the future – here, at Silverstone – but the fans could not get enough.  A clear example of how less is definitely not more – providing the product is right. In the Team Lotus transporter, between laughs, Jim Clark reflected on the good news:  today they would forget the R6s.  They’d race R5s.  Dunlop wouldn’t like it but there you go.  A race is a race.A masterpiece of a race.  Jim started on the second row but was quickly up to second place, trailing his friend Bruce McLaren for a couple of laps before slicing past and pulling away.   Suddenly he had a Lotus 25 around him.  Suddenly he had balance and feel when on Thursday he been obliged to drive mainly on reflex, dumbing the understeer with induced flick oversteer.  Now he was four-wheel-drifting the 25 through Copse, Becketts, Stowe and Club.  Now he was using every inch of road through Woodcote and again past the pits, making the art of ten-tenths driving look sublimely simple.

18609.tifHe won it – and he won it with ease.  It was a Clark Classic on the old R5s in Lotus 25/R5.  Bruce finished second and Trevor drove well to make it a Team Lotus one-three.  Innes, quick all weekend, finished fourth – but not before recovering from a big spin at Woodcote, the thick tyre smoke of which effectively ushered-in a new era – the era of the soft-compound Dunlop R6.  Never before had rubber been so burnable – or so sticky.   Innes revolved the 24 at high speed – probably on oil dropped by the Surtees Ferrari, which eventually retired – but kept the car on the Ireland.  A few years before, the odds of that happening would have been too small even to contemplate.   Now, if we can combine those new grip levels with more compliant sidewalls, thought Jim and Colin, then we’ll definitely have a race tyre

It was a fun day, too.  Sir John Whitmore was again magnificent in the Cooper S;  Mike Beckwith won his class with the Normand Lotus 23B;  Jack Sears scored the first of his many wins with the big Ford Galaxie – a car that Jim had driven over at Indy, when he was filling in some time one quiet day at the Speedway; Jim in Galaxy '62Graham Hill won the GT race in John Coombs’ lightweight E-Type; and Denny Hulme again won the Formula Junior race in the factory Brabham, just beating David Hobbs and Paul Hawkins.  Earlier that week, Jack himself had driven the FJ car, helping Denny with set-up and with a few circuit pointers.  Then there was the business with the Miles Messenger.  Racing over, Jim and Dan piled into the cramped four-seat cockpit; bags were stuffed into the small luggage compartment (no room for the trophy!); Colin fired up the DeHaviland Gipsy engine, opened the throttle…and nothing happened.  The old four-seater remained bogged in the Stowe mud, its wheels intransigent.   Out jumped an amused Silverstone winner and his buddy, Dan  – and off, in a lighter Miles, set Colin.  Even as the little aeroplane was gathering speed, Jim and Dan were scambling aboard.

Four connections and 4,000 miles later, the two Team Lotus friends were at Indy, ready to test on a warm Monday morning.

Captions from top:  Dan Gurney, in new Hinchmans, Colin Chapman and Jim Clark, still in Dunlop blues, talk wheels and tyres early in the Indy month of May;  Jim fingertips 25/R5 out of Becketts en route to victory; late in ’62 Jim had fun at the Speedway with a road-going Mercury Monterey.  Images: LAT Photographic, Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For more on Hinchman overalls: http://hinchmanracewear.com

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