FP100: No. 6

Jim Clark monument in Kilmany
Jim Clark monument in Kilmany

Jim Clark

Double World Formula One Champion Jim Clark - tragically killed in a minor race in 1968 - is remembered in his birthplace of Kilmany, in the north of Fife.

Jim Clark

Jim Clark

Jim was raised on his parents’ farm in the hamlet and attended the local primary school before moving to near Duns in the Borders as a six-year-old.

Racing for such teams as the Border Reivers and the Ecurie Ecosee, Jim came to the notice of Team Lotus boss Colin Chapman and immediately made a huge impact in the sport.

In addition to F1, F2, GTs and Touring Cars, Jim was successful in America, becoming the first European since 1916 to win the Indianapolis 500, in 1965. In those days, the Indy 500 was arguably the biggest race in the world - with a prize fund to match.

He also sampled NASCAR in America and the odd rally in which his pace was world-class...until crashing out!

His world titles came in 1963 and 1965 with Team Lotus, with whom he would chalk up all his 25 wins from just 72 starts in Formula One championship events.

At 32 and at the peak of his career, Jim lost his life in a Formula Two race at the ultra-fast Hockenheim circuit in Germany when his Lotus left the track and struck trees. The official cause of the accident was never found although experts believed a tyre punctured suddenly.

The motor racing world was stunned by the quiet and unassuming Fifer’s death - even in an era when fatalities were commonplace.

Fellow racer Chris Amon said at the time:“If it could happen to him, what chance do the rest of us have? I think we all felt that. It seemed like we’d lost our leader.”

It was also a race Jim probably shouldn’t have been at, as he was originally down to compete in a GT event at Brands Hatch.

Fellow Scot, great friend and triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart - one of the greatest campaigners for safer circuits and medical back-up facilities - proudly unveiled the Clark statue in Kilmany in 1997.

A huge crowd, including Jim’s sisters, attended the event, which also featured a collection of Lotus and vintage cars in the village park.

The bronze memorial was the work of noted of Kilmany sculptor David Annand and was based on the Clark family’s favourite photo of the world champion. It led to David receiving other motor sport commissions, such as bronzes of Sir Stirling Moss and late motor cycle racing aces Mike Hailwood and Steve Hislop.

The original idea for the statue came from St Andrews and District Motor Club, but when the club folded, the proposal was pursued by local Clark enthusiasts and former motor club members.

While several tops names in the sport made financial donations, the vast majority of the funding came from the Ford Motor Company, whose engines powered many of Jim’s cars.

Today, the statue is visited by Clark fans from across the world, some on car club tours of Scotland.