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Clark relayed DSJ


Thanks to all for a superb May issue of Motor Sport and especially for the reprint of Jenks’s story of the Mille Miglia. This really is the most wonderful bit of motorsport reporting of all time, but it must also be remembered that it was published long before the advent of on-board cameras or the sort of level of filming now seen every week on TV (back in 1955 we didn’t even have electricity in my farmhouse!). The story of the meticulous race preparation was superb but the graphic description of Stirling’s driving was so good that one almost felt that one was sitting in the SLR with him. What a truly remarkable race it was !

In many ways it brought back memories of the thousands of miles I sat beside that other great British natural talent of motor racing, Jim Clark, driving to and from race fixtures throughout the UK and on the Continent and including many laps of road circuits such as the Nürburgring and Spa.

Like Stirling, Jim was so smooth and unfazed at the wheel, sitting well back and just coping with whatever came up without batting an eyelid. I never had the remotest doubt that he would be able to cope with any eventuality, including a memorable journey one frosty night in his huge American Ford Galaxie, when he gave Graham Gauld and I a display of driving on black ice that was just incredible.

Three years after the Mille Miglia I was asked by AFN to manage the Porsche team at the 750MC’s Six-Hour Relay Race at Silverstone and the driver line-up included Jim and Jenks. It was the first time the two had met and must have been one of the few times that Jenks raced on four wheels rather than two (or three!).

Jenks (in his faithful 356) and I had similar lap times but Jim was three seconds a lap quicker in mine.  They struck up a respect for each other which lasted throughout Jim’s life: he was intolerant of some members of the press but always pored over the pages of Motor Sport  the day it arrived to see what Jenks had to say, accepting any criticism and revelling in any praise.

Ian Scott Watson,