Roger Clark 1940-1998

Rally driver Roger Clark portrait

National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Roger Clark MBE, Britain’s greatest rally driver of the pre-four-wheel drive era, and arguably its finest ever exponent of the art, died on January 12, following a stroke. He was 58.

Clark set out to prove that the sublimely talented Scandinavians were beatable at the sport they made their own, and in 1972 succeeded in breaking their remarkable 13-year stranglehold on the RAC Rally, in a Ford Escort.

Four years later, his second RAC victory – in the ubiquitous red Cossack Escort – entered the sport’s record books as the first World Championship round win for a British driver.

From the archive

Ever spectacular – Sideways to Victory was the inevitable title of his autobiography Roger’s fearless approach inspired generations of competitors and brought tens of thousands of fans into the forests to marvel at his skills.

Having started competing in a ‘sit up and beg’ Ford E93A, Roger rallied British cars throughout his professional career. Factory drives with Reliant, Triumph and Rover paved the way to the mutually fruitful partnership with Ford which endured for 15 years. Roger remained influential in the sport through the British Racing Drivers Club, through which he helped to develop the new Rallysprint circuit at Silverstone last year.

Motor Sport offers its condolences to his wife Judy and sons Matthew and Oliver, in whose hands the family rally business will continue to thrive.

John Davenport remembers Roger Clark, page 82