Nigel Roebuck and Peter Windsor et al sharing their memories of Jim Clark and paying tribute to his talent
AutoClassics @autoclassicscom Apr 7
Double #F1 world champion Jim Clark died 50 years ago today. To commemorate his illustrious career, we're bringing you an @F1Racing_mag feature one week early, as respected grand prix writers @PeterDWindsor and Nigel Roebuck share their memories of Clark. #JimClark50
'Well in 1968 I went out to the airport to see him off after the Longford race in Tasmania. He flew in to Sydney and then on to Indianapolis and his plane was delayed. I was with my dad and he said: "Come and have a coffee".
'He was with one of the stewardesses – oddly – and we went up and he was in his famous check shirt, nice slacks and he had his briefcase with him and we sat down. The four of us chatted for about 20 minutes.
'It seems incredible today that that happened to me. But I remember saying to Jimmy: "I really really want to get a job in motor racing. I just hate that feeling on Monday morning of going back to school after being at a race meeting. How do I get through that Jim?" And he said: "If you really want it badly enough, never ever give up. Whatever you want, you’ll achieve as long as you never give up."
'And I told him I really wanted to be a journalist and he said: "Don’t give up." That was basically the last thing that he said to me and I was probably the last person to speak to him in Australia. Sadly he died a couple of months later.
'Since then I’ve had ups and downs in life, like all of us, but whenever it’s a down, I always think of that moment when Jimmy said: "If you really want it badly enough, never ever give up."
'That was actually a pivotal moment in my life. We often use phrases like that, but for me it was. Jim Clark, therefore, became the benchmark around which I judged everything in motor sport: attitude of drivers, approach of drivers, teams, cars, livery… whatever it is, circuits… I always think: 'What would Jimmy think here? What would Jim Clark have done there?' He’s still
the main man for me.'
Nigel Roebuck touches on what I think is the most startling aspect of Jim Clark's driving that lives on through the footage of him - the almost serene quality of his handling of the car. How jarring it is to what the steering wheel being gently glided this way and that, and then to look at the landscape outside the car whizzing past at what looks like lightspeed.
NR: 'Jimmy’s skill was a mysterious thing to me. I’d grown up watching – and worshipping – Stirling Moss and always thinking: "What does he do that the others don’t? Why is he just plain better than the rest?"
'You could watch him and he was silky-smooth and everything else, but beyond that, where was he making up the times? Because it wasn’t obvious. It was the same sensation watching Jimmy – you watched what he did and you could obviously see that he did it supremely well, but what was difficult to tell with Jimmy was where he made up the time.'