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jim clark was he really the best in the sixties ?

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#1 engin

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Posted 12 September 2000 - 21:37

good day

well its quite known that clark was one of the fastest and greatest drivers in the history of f1 and we r not going to question his abilities or his stuff of legend but .

was he the best driver in his era we all know that he only had driven the lotus and by that time lotus was a great team and very sucessful with the creativity and genuis of colin chapman just like ferrai in seventies and mclaren and williams in 80s .

while other drivers who claimed to be so talented were not so lucky to get themsleves a good team and a decent cars like AMON , jaky icx , surtees and others

were there any drivers who really could have given jim clark a run for his money and could have been a legend like him but didnt have the chance ?



#2 Joe Fan

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Posted 13 September 2000 - 02:17

Hands down, Masten Gregory. He had raw speed but not much opportunity to showcase his talent in front line equipment.

Consider the following:

1) Masten Gregory finished sixth in the World Championship standings only competing in half of the races in 1957. This was a rare accomplishment for a rookie to finish that high in the standings. Take Jim Clark for example who is widely considered the greatest driver in F1 during the 1960's. Jim finished eighth his rookie season and he had 2 more Grand Prix starts than what Masten Gregory had to work with.

2) 1965 Indy 500. A venue and racing discipline that neither Masten or Jim had much experience at. Masten Gregory came from 31st to fifth place and was lapping as fast as Jim Clark was before his engine gave out. He didn't have near the equipment as Clark had and Jim had turned more laps around Indy than Masten had at that point since Jim ran there in 1963 and 1964. When Carroll Shelby said that Masten was "the fastest American to ever go over and race a Grand Prix car", he wasn't shittin' ya.

3) At Goodwood in 1959, Jim Clark realized that he was going to be a star driver when he was able to "match" Masten's times in the same car. Note the key word here---"match."

Graham Hill won two World Driver Championships in the 1960's. According to Damon, Graham never drove a car of any type until he was 25 years old. What was Masten Gregory doing at age 25? He was kicking arse in privateer equipment in F1 and finsihing sixth in the WDC standings his rookie season. All he needed was a Lotus or BRM works ride and he would have given Jim a run for his money.[p][Edited by Joe Fan on 09-13-2000]

#3 dbltop

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Posted 13 September 2000 - 06:48

your point that clark only drove a lotus is well made,but after 1960,when clark was actually 3rd or 4th team driver,he never had a teammate come anywhere close to him until hill at some races in 67.but for really rotten luck he would,and i think should have won 4 wc on the trot.just think what he would have done in 68 in the 49 or later in the 72.

#4 Marcel Schot

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Posted 13 September 2000 - 08:32

Originally posted by Joe Fan
1) Masten Gregory finished sixth in the World Championship standings only competing in half of the races in 1957. This was a rare accomplishment for a rookie to finish that high in the standings. Take Jim Clark for example who is widely considered the greatest driver in F1 during the 1960's. Jim finished eighth his rookie season and he had 2 more Grand Prix starts than what Masten Gregory had to work with.

While I appreciate Gregory's qualities, I feel his first season must be seen in perspective. Ofcourse looking at the bare facts, showing a season with 4 finishes in 4 races of which 3 were in the points and the first one on the podium, it's very impressive. However, a closer look reveals that:
  • At Monaco Collins, Moss and Hawthorn collided with eachother, eliminating 3 of the best drivers in a single move
  • Jack Brabham ran out of fuel in Monaco and was passed by Gregory while attempting to push his car to the finishline
  • Only 6 cars finished in Monaco, including Brabham walking his car home
  • At Pescara only 7 cars finished, so scoring points was merely a case of hanging in there
  • At Monza the numbers 1,5,6 and 7 from the grid retired, so another case of hanging in there

Pescara and Monza are examples of how a driver can score due to nursing his material better, but that's part of racing. Nothing wrong with that. But Monaco was surely a matter of pure luck. While I didn't see the race, it looks a lot like Panis winning Monaco in 1996 : great result, but more due to the bad luck of others than due to own brilliance.

On Gregory never getting the top material Clark had : there must have been reasons why Team Lotus picked Clark and not Gregory (who was more experienced in 1960). Between 1961 and 1963 they both drove Lotuses, but Clark for Team Lotus and Gregory for UDT-Laystall & Parnell.

#5 Joe Fan

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Posted 13 September 2000 - 09:01

Marcel, as far as Masten being lucky at Monaco, I guess you have to put yourself in a position to get lucky and at the same time, not crash like the veterans did that day. I have the tape of the actual race and somebody (Hawthorn?) hit a telephone poll if I remember correctly and a few other followed suit.

Luck is usually very much earned in F1 and it is a shame that Masten didn't have much of it as he surely earned a better fortune. What is that old saying, "In order to finish 1st, one must first finish." This easily applies to all other positions. The bottom line here is Masten had a privateer Maserati in 1957 and was up against quite a few factory teams. He didn't screw up as rookies often do, he kept his car together and finished. He did what was necessary to earn a factory ride the next season. He did more than quite a few F1 drivers who were basically handed great rides.

If we get real picky, we can surely diminish the career marks of quite a few drivers. For example, how many seasons did Jim Clark have the top ride in F1? How many season did Jim have the second best ride in F1? Certainly, one should produce in this environment. Masten's best ride was in 1959 as a third driver for Cooper. I am pretty convinced that the only drivers that were out of Masten's league were Fangio and Moss. Given capable and reliable machinery, Masten was in the ball park with the rest of them.

As far as Masten not getting the Lotus ride, well I guess there may have been several things that didn't work in his favor. Nationality, politics and unfair reputation as a car crasher (built from sports car career only though). Masten wasn't the most competitive looking individual with those spectacles so I bet that some team owners overlooked him. I have a picture of him in his 1965 Indy car and he looks like the average Joe sitting in the cockpit enjoying the precious last minute of a paid photo op.

Here is Jim Clark's first four F1 qualifying efforts: 11,9,12,8
Here is Masten's Gregory's first four: 10,10,7,11

So if Masten was lucky his rookie season, the same could have been said about Clark since he finished higher in these races due to retirements as well. And Jim had a works ride.[p][Edited by Joe Fan on 09-13-2000]

#6 Keir

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Posted 13 September 2000 - 11:16

Certainly Masten qualifies for the "right place, wrong time"
award. And there is no disputing his talent, but as with Amon and Stewart and many others, comparisons with Clark always leave the Scotsman the symbol of excellence during the 60's.

#7 William Dale Jr

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Posted 14 September 2000 - 05:54

Originally posted by Marcel Schot
...there must have been reasons why Team Lotus picked Clark and not Gregory

Well if recent MotorSport magazines are to believed, it was because Clark in a Lotus Elan outdrove Chapman in his own Lotus Elite in a club race at Brands in the late 50's. But why he couldn't have run a car for Masten, well that's for someone else to answer...[p][Edited by William Dale Jr on 09-17-2000]

#8 Joe Fan

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Posted 14 September 2000 - 07:40

Keir, the more and more research I have done the more I have found that Clark was more mortal than generally believed. I still rank him very highly but he was no Moss or Fangio. And even they were at the mercy of having a capable car. I don't think Fangio had lost anything in 1958, it was just that the 250F had.

I generally feel that Formula One was not too different than today. Success depended upon what type of car you were driving, who you were driving it for, your status on the team and who was turning the wrenches on your car. Generally speaking, a pilot is a pilot. They are still at the mercy of the quality of ride they have. If one driver is a one or two tenths of a second quicker than another most of the time, how important is this in the grand scheme of things in a motorsports series with unequal competition?

William, Clark supposedly made a name for himself driving Lister-Jags if memory serves me correct. I am sure that Jim beating Chapman helped but I think Jim was supposed to drive for Aston-Martin in 1960 but it fell through so Colin grabbed him. I think Masten and Jim would have made a wonderful team. I am not sure why Ireland was chosen over Masten since Innes hadn't done anything near what Masten had done in F1 up until that time. One thing that was for certain. Salary wasn't an issue with Masten, he was in it mearly for the fun and pleasure of it all. I had read in an autobiography of John Cooper, that in 1958 John wanted to retain both Salvadori and Brabham for the 1959 season but both drivers wanted $10,000 per year to drive. John said he couldn't afford both so he picked Jack. Bruce McLaren and Masten were added later after an Esso sponsorship came through and I bet both made next to nothing in salary that season.[p][Edited by Joe Fan on 09-14-2000]

#9 PDA

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Posted 16 September 2000 - 01:31

I was very interested to read an interview with Jack Brabham in MotorSport, in which he was asked who was good/the best. he rated Fangio, though said he didn't drive against him that much, and only at the end of JMF's career. He then rated Moss, and Rindt. When prompted about Clark, he indicated that he didn't think he was all that fast compared to Rindt. Sounds sacriligous to down grade Clark in that way, but he did race against all of them.

#10 Barry Lake

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Posted 16 September 2000 - 11:49

Could you tell me which issue of Motor Sport had the Brabham interview. I would like to get a copy of that.
As you might have picked up on this forum I am researching Jack's career, but so far have concentrated on his early days racing speedway and road racing in Australia 1947-1955 (which is no easy task, I can tell you).
Jack has told me a number of times over the years of his opinion of Clark. He isn't nasty about it, just expresses surprise that people rated him so highly. That doesn't mean he is right, of course, but his opinion has to be worth a lot, especially since he raced with him wheel to wheel on many occasions.
Incidentally I just learned today that Jack has requested I co-drive with him in the Classic Adelaide Rally at the end of October (run at the same time of year they used to have the Australian GP in Adelaide). We will be in the same 1964 Aston Martin he crashed head-on into a tree on this event last year. It is a four-day event so I should have the opportunity to get some more stories from him.
I co-drove with Jack in the 1992 Targa Tasmania in a Honda NS-X to fifth place outright - which could have been higher except he opted for an automatic version, which proved to be the wrong choice.
I also went with him in the Grand Prix Rally in a works Honda Prelude in March 1997. There were long road sections with little to do except talk and he told me some fantastic stories. Also, we had no back up crew, it was just the two of us, plus my lady, Loretta, who was hitching rides in service cars and official's cars to get to each stop-over.
Jack likes to get away from the hordes of people "asking the same questions all the time" at functions and dinners, so we often slipped off to little restaurants or even McDonalds, just the three of us, which gave us more time to talk.

#11 Joe Fan

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Posted 16 September 2000 - 16:52

The thing I like about Jim Clark and why I would rank him higher than quite a few others in Formula One is that he would drive anything. How many Formula One greats took a shot at Indy cars and the Indy 500 before Jim? Not very many. How many took a shot at NASCAR? A rare few. It is very clear to me that Jim Clark was a racer, not just a driver.

#12 John Cross

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Posted 16 September 2000 - 18:15

I have to say that I am completely biassed - Jim Clark was my boyhood hero and I still rate him as one of the very best. Jack's opinion is interesting but diverges from most of his other contemporaries. Here are some other opinions:


Dan Gurney was the only driver whose skill Clark thought matched his own and Dan had tremendous admiration for Jimmy.

I agree with Joe Fan that Jimmy's willingness to drive any sort of car was terrific - can you imagine Schumacher having a bash at the RAC Rally just for fun? Anyway, here is a picture I posted in the Technical Forum a while back - wouldn't it be great to see some F1 guys in TOCA?

Posted Image

#13 Wolf

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Posted 16 September 2000 - 22:52

I think I've heard somewhere that Chapman tricked him into paying his expenses and trip to Indy. I think it says much about his love for driving.
Anyway, I may be a bit biased about those days (though I was born in the following decade), but the company of drivers in which he won his championships says enough about his driving abilities.

#14 lynmeredith

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Posted 17 September 2000 - 08:20

Barry Lake
Good on yer! I should be in Adelaide for that rally so will look out for you. I'll start a chant - "Who's the old guy driving with Barry Lake". Just keep him away from those big gum trees.

Lyn M

#15 Roger Clark

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Posted 17 September 2000 - 10:16

Barry, i hope you appreciate what some of us would givr for that opportunity.

#16 Barry Lake

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Posted 17 September 2000 - 15:18

Don’t think for one second that I take it for granted I am able to ride with a world champion like Jack Brabham.
I think I am fortunate that I came into motoring writing after having been a magazine reader, motor racing spectator, mechanic, racing driver and rally driver. Because of that, I have appreciated to the greatest degree every factory tour, every opportunity to speak with engineers and stylists, as well as having access to the pits/drivers/engineers/and team managers at major race meetings. And don’t forget being able to drive the latest cars, going to international motor shows all over the world, and all the rest of it. As just one example, how many people get to stand, open-mouthed inside one of the world’s largest wind tunnels?
I even have been excited to work on a motoring magazine simply for the opportunity to read all the other motoring magazines that come in from all over the world that I could never afford to buy for myself. There are other fringe benefits – like being able to recoup some of the cost of buying motoring books as a tax deduction. That is a huge one for me.
I have known motoring writers who have taken it all for granted, others who are just not interested in cars or motor sport but are there because they enjoy the life style motoring writing can offer.
There are, of course, also many who are true enthusiasts and who do appreciate what they have. But I can’t imagine that any have ever been more thrilled by it all than I have. I believe I have been very fortunate.
I have worked my backside off for it every step of the way, I might add, and continue to do so. I have a moan occasionally, after some long days of hard work for too-little return, but I get over it very quickly just by reminding myself how my life might have been if things had gone slightly differently at one or other of the critical turning points.
The only thing I would ask of life now is to be able to afford a larger house, or perhaps a house and huge barn, so I could store my books in a more orderly fashion than they are at the moment. They have outgrown my present house.
Some day I will sit and write a list of the famous drivers I have met, especially those with whom I have spent considerable time, and those with whom I have ridden in cars. But an interesting part of this business that some might not realise is that you also get to meet a lot of non-motoring famous people at various functions.
Here are just a few off the top of my head with whom I have had conversations of more than a mere few minutes at various functions. I once was given the task of taking Kylie Minogue somewhere that was a very long walk away at the Australian GP in Adelaide. On another occasion I had a pleasant conversation with Sammy Davis Jnr at a Ford LTD release, and spent a long time talking to Olivia Newton-John at a Holden Racing Team function. All three were more down-to-earth and natural than I had expected.
One I could have done without was being in a small group (six, from memory) at a table with Elle for lunch at a BMW function.
Another time, while trying to avoid a bunch of motoring journalists fighting over a limited number of Audi Avus show car badges at the Tokyo Motor Show, I bumped into a nice lady sitting on her own at a table nearby. Having watched the ruckus and understanding my situation, she asked me to sit with her and she ordered me a coffee. She asked where I was from, asked questions about Australia and we spoke about Japan and motor shows and travel then, after some time, she suddenly said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I have to go and earn my living now.” Just then I heard the Audi executive, who had in the meantime begun spruiking in the background say, “I would now like to invite Margeaux Hemingway to unveil the car…”
There are more, but I think you get the picture. And, yes, Roger, I have appreciated every second of it.

#17 f li

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Posted 18 September 2000 - 20:48

Taken from "Motor Sport"

"The Italian Grand Prix 1967 - The Race

Sunday was warm and dry, with a haze keeping the full power of the sun away, and there was little space to spare in any of the grandstands and everyone prepared for a fast and furious race, but no-one even contemplated that it would turn out the way it did. The race length was 68 laps of the Monza road-circuit, and as the eighteen cars lined up on the "dummy grid" some hundred yards before the starting line there was a tension in the air that said "this is going to be a fantastic start", with Amon, Gurney, Hulme, Stewart, Hill and Surtees all feeling they should have been on the front row alongside Clark, while Brabham and McLaren were smiling quietly to themselves, at having out-smarted the others. With three minutes to go there was a panic in the Cooper team when Rindt's battery failed to start the engine and mechanics flashed about the place and installed a new one with 30 seconds to spare. The starter prepared to climb on to his rostrum with the Italian flag and back on the "dummy grid" the drivers were given a 30 seconds sign. The normal procedure is that with 10 or 15 seconds to go an official gives a signal to the driver on pole position to lead the field slowly forward to the proper grid, the cars in the front row keeping station and controlling things. The whole field pauses on the grid proper, the flag is raised for five seconds and the start is given. Something went wrong somewhere. At 25 seconds no signal had been given, there had been no drivers' briefing to say that anything out of the ordinary would happen, and many of the drivers began to wonder if the "dummy grid" start was being used. As the 30 seconds were finished an official raised and lowered, very gently, a green flag, meaning "move forward for the start", the starter unfurled the Italian flag and Clark began to let in his clutch, but he was conscious that all around him engine revs were up at peak, ready for a racing start. As the green flag came down Brabham left the "dummy grid " with smoking rear tyres, hotly pursued by McLaren and Gurney and the rest, depending on their reflexes and where they had been looking. Clark was still watching the starter and was half-way to the starting line before he joined the uncontrollable rush, by which time Brabham was well beyond the starting line, still with spinning tyres and looking to right and left to see where everyone else was. Gurney swerved round the outside of McLaren and Amon nearly hit the back of Clark's Lotus, and in the confusion put the clutch out and the Ferrari engine revs went sky high and there must have been a bending of valves. The starter clearly did not believe all this and feebly raised and lowered the Italian flag as the cars on the middle of the grid went by. Whether the organisers wanted it or not the race was on, and Brabham was off like a jack-rabbit. He was leading at Lesmo, but round the back of the circuit Gurney went by into the lead, and Hill and Clark were hard behind them, while poor Amon found his engine would not go above 9,400 r.p.m., whereas it should have gone to 10,800 r.p.m. As the "naughty boys " screamed past at 150 m.p.h. at the end of the opening lap, in the order Gurney (Eagle), Brabham (Brabham), Hill (Lotus), Clark (Lotus), McLaren (McLaren), Stewart (B.R.M.), Hulme (Brabham) and Amon (Ferrari), the officials of the meeting still had their mouths open in startled surprise. On the next lap Clark went by Brabham and Hill into second place, and Hill followed him through and took third place. On lap 3 Clark shot by Gurney, and as he came up the straight from the Curva Parabolica he swerved the Lotus from right to left to stop Gurney getting in his slip-stream. However the Weslake engine seemed capable of holding the Cosworth engine, the gap being the same on lap 4, but Hulme was now right behind Brabham, in fifth place, and had dropped Stewart and the others behind, At the end of lap 5 Clark's Lotus appeared on its own, then came Hill, Hulme, Brabham, Stewart, McLaren, Amon, Surtees, Scarfiotti, Rindt, Baghetti and the others, Bonnier and Ligier bringing up the rear, but then Gurney's Eagle was seen coasting into the pits leaving a trail of oil from under the engine. It had broken a connecting rod bolt and the car was wheeled away. While the oil was being mopped up the Eagle team suffered another blow for Scarfiotti came coasting in with a dead engine, the scavenge pump housing having broken and damaged the timing gear badly.

At six laps Clark had a full second lead over Hill, but Hulme was gaining on the second Lotus, getting a little way away from Brabham in the process. Then came Stewart, but one lap later he drew into the pits, so that now there were two distinct groups Clark, Hill, Hulme and Brabham out ahead, and then McLaren, Amon, Surtees and Rindt. Although things looked straight forward enough all was not well, for Clark's car was handling in an odd fashion and he was easing his pace very slightly to that of the other three, and in the second group Amon's engine was still "off colour", and was obviously going to stay that way; the new Honda was going well down the straights and could get away from the Ferrari, but in the corners the fuel- injection was getting in a muddle and the acceleration was being affected, and Rindt had crumpled the nose "spoiler" under braking and was now plagued by "under-steer" at the wrong moments. Stewart lost a whole lap at the pits, having stopped to see if he had damaged his left rear Goodyear after sliding the tail too far at Lesmo and hitting the guard-rail. It was marked but undamaged so he rushed back into the race.

With one thing and another the pace was not as fast as it might have been, but it was fast all the same, the race average being just over 140 m.p.h. Hulme had really got the bit between his teeth and passed Hill on lap 9, and the troubled Clark on lap 10, but on the next lap Clark was back in front again, but something was obviously wrong somewhere. On lap 12 he had a shrewd idea what it was, and was hanging out of the cockpit looking at his right rear tyre, and sure enough it was going flat, so it was no Surprise when Hulme, Brabham and Hill appeared on their own on lap 13, and Clark was seen going into the pits. Some twelve seconds behind this group Surtees was keeping the Honda ahead of Amon's new Ferrari, the McLaren- B.R.M. V12, and Rindt's latest Cooper-Maserati, but he was not having an easy time, and frequently the Ferrari was alongside the Japanese machine, much to the delight of the crowd, and occasionally in front, which sent them into near pandemonium, even though the two cars were only battling for fourth place. Clark was in the pits for a very short time, while the rear wheel and tyre were changed, and he accelerated up the pit road really hard, as the leading trio went by at full speed, now one whole lap and a few hundred yards ahead of him, the two Brabhams leading Hill's Lotus. The battling foursome for fourth place were barely in sight as Clark rejoined the race, So for anyone who had not been paying attention the race pattern would have looked unchanged, but in actual fact Clark was now in 15th position, a lap and a bit behind the leaders, nearly a lap behind the second group, half a lap behind Baghetti, Siffert, Irwin and Spence, and almost in sight of Ickx, Bonnier and Ligier, the last two about to be lapped by the leaders. As the leading trio went by the tail-enders on lap 16, Brabham nipped into the lead, but on the next lap Hulme was back in front again and the lap after that as Ickx was lapped Hill took the lead. With only 20 laps gone there had been five different leaders, and even now nothing was settled. Irwin retired the Parnell-entered B.R.M. 8301, when the drive to a metering unit broke, and it was reported to the B.K.M. pit that Stewart had thrown a piece of tread off a rear tyre, so he was flagged in. It turned out to be a false report and he was quickly away, still in last place due to his earlier stop.

The leaders were lapping at around 1 min. 30 sec., but Clark was going much quicker and gaining on them rapidly, already being up to 11th place, after passing Bonnier, Ligier and Ickx and having Irwin retire. At 21 laps he was right behind the leading trio, at 22 laps he was between Hulme and Brabham, and at 24 laps he was past Hulme and Hill, but unfortunately this let Hulme get into his slip-stream and the crafty New Zealander also went past Hill and back into the lead of the race. Brabham was having difficulty staying with them now, for his throttles had stuck wide open momentarily and the engine over-revved and lost its fine edge. On lap 26 Clark set a new lap record, having a clear track ahead of him, going round in 1 min. 28.5 sec., whereas up to this point Hulme had held the fastest lap with 1 min. 28.9 sec., which he had done on lap 5, just as Gurney spread oil everywhere, which had slowed the pace. Clark began to pull away rapidly from Hulme and Hill, and caught Spence and Siffert, moving up two more places as he went past them. On lap 28 Hill retook the lead from Hulme, as something was going wrong with the Repco engine, and on lap 30 Hulme was slowing visibly and drew into the pits on the next lap with an overheated engine and most of the water gone, a head gasket having broken. This left Hill on his own, almost in the tail of Clark's slip-stream, and more than 10 Seconds in front of Brabbam, who was now noticing a drop in power due to the inadvertent over revving. Clark was about to overtake Baghetti in the third Lotus, and when he did, on lap 33, he was in seventh place, with Hulme retiring. At half-distance, or 34 laps, the three Lotus 49s were in correct number order as they passed the pits, Clark 20, Hill 22, and Baghetti 24, the only thing wrong being that they were not 1-2-3 in the race. Hill was leading Brabham by 17 seconds, and nearly a minute behind came the foursome still in a tight bunch, with Surtees leading by inches. Clark was encouraging Hill to great things, and "towing" him along two seconds a lap faster than Brabham was going, while Baghetti was also being inspired and he kept the two Lotus champions in sight for quite a time. The battle for third place was as fierce as ever, with the Honda and the Ferrari side-by-side, and the McLaren and Cooper-Maserati side-by-side right behind them.

Clark drove on and on as hard as the Lotus would go, with Hill following and benefiting from the slip- stream of the team-leader's Lotus, and the gap between them and Brabham continued to open out at two seconds per lap. At the back of the field Stewart had not been making much progress, though he was lapping as fast as Brabham, and had caught and passed Ickx, in the older of the Cooper-Maseratis, but on his 46th lap Stewart's car gave a great "poof" of oil and smoke on out of the back of the engine, and that was that. As if in sympathy the next lap, McLaren's V12 B.R.M. engine broke two connecting rods and he stopped at the Lesmo end of the circuit, and on the following lap Amon drew into the Ferrari pit with a defective nearside rear suspension, but nothing could be seen wrong so he rejoined the race, having lost exactly a lap. The battling foursome for third place had suddenly all fallen apart, and Surtees was left on his own, for though Rindt was keeping up with the Honda he could not challenge it. At 50 laps Clark was still "towing" Hill and the gap between them and Brabham was now 55 seconds, with Surtees in third place, some 15 seconds behind Brabham, and being no longer troubled by Amon's Ferrari he set about closing the gap. On the 51st lap Siffert was accelerating through the second bend of the Lesmo when the left rear tyre of his Cooper-Maserati suddenly went flat and this spun him into the guard-rail and broke the wheel and crumpled all the exhaust pipes. He had just lapped Ickx in the second works Cooper-Maserati and the two cars missed each other by inches. Baghetti's Cosworth V8 went "pop" and stopped, with a broken camshaft, and he coasted into the pits to retire at 51 laps, and this gave Team Lotus and Keith Duckworth their first fears as to whether the other two engines would keep going. Clark was showing no signs of easing up and on lap 53 he had Rindt's Cooper-Maserati in his sights, going past it on lap 54 and into fourth place, with the Honda and the Brabbam coming into view. All that Graham Hill had to do was to follow in Clark's wake, having nearly a lap lead over Brabham and Surtees, for after Clark had overtaken Rindt, Hill lapped the Cooper-Maserati. He had a comfortable and unassailable lead, though it was rather over-shadowed by the second, third and fourth cars, which were just in front of him on the road. Slowly but surtely the Honda was catching the Brabham, and very rapidly Clark's Lotus was catching both of them. Amon had another stop to see if the left rear shock-absorber could be made to work, and this dropped him to the end of the depleted field behind Ickx.

On lap 59 everything seemed to happen, for Clark had his sights on the Honda, but behind him poor Graham Hill's engine had gone bang in a big way, and it was Brabham who led, though he had to complete one more lap before he actually passed the stricken Lotus which bad coasted into the pits. The Cosworth V8 was well and truly wrecked and it was hardly worth trying to see what had broken, but Clark kept the Team Lotus flag flying by going past the Honda into second place as if the Japanese car was stopping, but Surtees used the Lotus slipstream to pull him along even closer to Brabham, whom Clark was about to devour. All this had been very confusing for the positions on the road were Brabham, Surtees, Clark, Hill at the time Lotus 49/3 blew up, with Hill leading the race by nearly a complete lap over the other three, so that they had to run the whole of their 59th lap before they took the lead, during which time Hill was in the pits, having not quite completed his 59th lap. Brabham was just leading at the end of lap 60, but Clark was closing on him rapidly, and as they disappeared towards the Curva Grande the Clark/Lotus fans (and there were a lot of us) stood up and cheered when the Lotus went by into the lead, having made up a whole lap on the Brabham. To lose the lead through a puncture, stop and change the wheel, and then to fight back into the lead, admittedly with the help of the misfortune of his team-mate, was the sort of thing that puts Clark into the Nuvolari, Fangio, Moss category of really great drivers. But it was not yet over, and with two broken Cosworth V8 engines in the pits Team Lotus had their fingers crossed. With Brabham in sight Surtees was doing all he knew with the Honda, and it was good to see him really working again and fighting every inch of the way; for so many races now he has had to drag along disconsolately with a bad chassis that did not do justice to his ability. After 60 laps the three leading cars were nose-to-tail for though the Lotus had rushed by into the lead, Brabham had put his car smartly into the slip-stream and been sucked along.

By lap 65 Clark had managed to shake off Brabham and this gave Surtees his chance and he forced his way by into second place, and as the three ears ended their 65th lap th electric scoreboard indicated that 3.2 sec. covered the distance between the first and third cars. At the end of the next lap it was 3.3 sec., and it looked as though stale-mate had been reached, with the advantage to Clark, but as they started the last lap the overall gap was only 1.8 sec. and Clark's Lotus was in obvious trouble. The three cars went into the 165 m.p.h. Curva Grande one behind the other and suddenly Clark's engine cut out, which caused the car to twitch sideways. This made Surtees and Brabham do a quick dodge round the Lotus, demonstrating why Grand Prix stars are supermen, for most drivers would have had an accident at that speed, and the commentator at Lesmo nearly hid an apoplectic fit a-s Suttees went by in the lead, with half a lap to go. The Lotus fuel supply had dried up and poor Clark's Lotus was hiccoughing along now in third place, while the two most rugged and unforgiving drivers in Grand Prix racing were one behind the other-down the back straight at over 180 m.p.h., heading for the last corner of this momentous race.

Surtees was leading but knew -that Brabham might be able to out brake him into the right-hand corner and his first instinct was to keep to the right and hug the inside of the bend so that Brabham would have to go round the outside, and he would not have sufficient surplus of power to do that. But even better was the fact that across the corner was a trail of cement dust put down to soak up the oil that Hill had dropped. Any line through the corner had to cross this dust, and if you crossed it with the brakes still on, or with too much speed you would be certain to slide out wide. Surtees kept well over to the left as he came down the straight, so that Brabham had only two choices, either to follow the Honda through the corner with little hope of out accelerating it to the finish,- or to go by on the right under braking and hope to take the lead and hold it as they went into the corner. Luck was on the side of Suttees, for Brabham took the second choice and went by on the right as they both stood on their brake pedals, and sure enough he hit the cement dust going a little too fast and the carslid to the -outside of the bend, by which time Surtees had pulled the Honda across behind the Brabham, dived to the inside and was leading as they entered the final straight, but Brabham was right behind him and as they raced for the finish the Australian pulled out of the Honda slip stream and got almost alongside as Surtees got the chequered flag of victory. Phew!

The crowd went wild and swarmed on to the track as Clark coasted over the line in third place, his fuel tanks appearing to be empty. Rindt was fourth, Spence fifth, Ickx sixth and Amon seventh, While one section of the milling throng overwhelmed Clark another section nearly tore Surtees to pieces in their enthusiasm, for he is still the idol of the Italian sporting world, even if he does drive a Japanese car.

When the tumult and the shouting died down, which was nearly two hours later, the Lotus mechanics filled the tanks on Clark's car and found that there still had been 3 gallons left in them, so he had not run out of petrol due to a miscalculation as was supposed, but the pumps had failed to pick up the last 3 gallons, even though they were working all right. On Baghetti's car in practice the fuel system had worked down to the last pint of petrol, on Clark's car with an identical fuel system the pumps had dried up with 3 gallons still in the tanks. The perversity of things mechanical."

#18 lynmeredith

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Posted 19 September 2000 - 05:16

That's a great report f li. Was it by Jenks? I was there at the time and can testify that the excitement was terrific. But I seemed to have missed most of it because I think I was in the Goodyear van having a well-earned cup o' tea! I know I was not in the pits. And Surtees was on Firestone so we would have been a bit miffed at the result. But the rejoicing by the spectators went on for hours. As the report said Surtees was greatly loved by the Italians who remembered his exploits on two wheels as well as four.

Getting back to J Clark, as another member said he was very versatile in his racing, at least so far as racing genres went. His expoits in the RAC Rally were a joy to see and he went ever faster on the special stages as his navigator assured him that it really didn't matter if he brushed a few rocks or trees. He thoroughly enjoyed that event even though it didn't last long for him.

In my opinion he was one of the nicest people in F1 at that time. A gentleman in fact. There aren't many left.

Lyn Meredith

#19 Jaxs

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Posted 23 September 2000 - 12:51

Jimmy Clark, Hmm, Jackie Stewart wouldn't enter a race that Clark had already entered, Clark outdrove everyone in Saloon car, Tasman, Indy, even returned to the Wilwaukee ( sorry about the spelling)500 race because of the mis count of laps at Indy and lapped everyone in the race, His relaxed and carefully balanced driving style was in tune with his feeling s for the car he drove.
To see the the man drive at Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Crystal Palace, Goodwood, Spa, Zandvoort etc in every thing from saloon car, F2, F1, sports cars, from the 'big' lotus to the 4 wheel drive Ferguson, the guy was unadulerated magic.
His antics in the Lotus Cortina, nudging Huthinson's Ford Galaxy to try and get past at North Tower corner , Crystal Palace, to the short cut through the pits at Brands kept everyone on the edge of their seats, or toes if they were standing
I met and spoke to him at Goodwood, the guy was polite , friendly and keen to sign his autograph. His dual with Gurney at Brands was a battle of skills and won by Clark.
It's all too easy afterwards and without seeing the guy that you question that someone was that good, He was.


#20 f li

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 18:01

lynmeredith -

Just as you guessed, the report was Jenks'. If you should want more from the 1967's Motor Sport you can try


#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 September 2000 - 11:19

That was, in fact, the kind of report that saw Jenks excel. That descriptive reporting of a fantastic race... or caustic comment about someone who deserved it, they were his best moments. Savouring them again like this is a pure delight.
Note how he included himself among the Lotus and Clark fans?

#22 george baird

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Posted 30 September 2000 - 22:14

Yes he was, Jim Clark is a image that can't be bettered.

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 October 2000 - 10:20

I think you're wrong there... Fangio and Moss have pretty much insurmountable images.