Friday, 16 September 2011

Jim Clark’s Death

Dickie and I went to a number of smaller and larger race meetings together and the one I remember in particular for all the wrong reasons was in April1968, BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch.
On the positive side I remember this very well, as it was my first trip to a really big race meeting. However, whilst we were wandering around the pits, both loaded down with Dickie’s cameras, one of Dickie’s BRDC pals came up to us with some shocking and tragic news. He informed us that Scotland’s Jim Clark had just been killed after crashing into the woods at Hockenheim in Germany.
Apparently on March 31 Jim Clark competed in a Formula Two race but retired. On the following weekend April 7 1968, he was due to compete in a Ford sports prototype in the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch, the meeting we were at, but a mix-up over confirmation of the drive meant that Clark honoured a commitment to drive a Formula Two race at Hockenheim instead, for Gold Leaf Team Lotus. He was apparently unhappy about the drive but stood by the commitment. In this meaningless race, on a damp track, in a car he didn't much like, he crashed on the fifth lap of the first heat, hitting some fir trees at some 240kmh, he was killed instantly.
Needless to say this put a damper on the rest of the day and the loss of Jim Clark was a very sad for all of motor racing.

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