Off the track

“I only have golden memories.” Sally Swart, Jim Clark’s girlfriend during the peak years of his motor racing career, tells Ian Wagstaff about her time with the quiet Scot

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A couple of evenings before this year’s Long Beach Grand Prix the phone rang in the Rolling Hills, California home of Ed and Sally Swart. On the other end of the line was Dario Franchitti, inviting the couple to be his guests at the race.

There is no doubt that Franchitti, who was to win that weekend, has a sense of heritage. At the victor’s press conference following the 2007 Indianapolis 500 the emphasis was on the fact that just two Scots had come first at the Brickyard; Dario was in august company, the other being the man who many argue to have been the greatest racing driver of all time, Jim Clark.

At the Road Racing Drivers’ Club dinner — held in honour of Dan Gurney — that took place the night prior to his phone call, Franchitti had made a point of seeking out Sally Swart, whom he had not seen since the Jim Clark Reunion in Scotland in 1993. The reason he was so eager to remake her acquaintance was that between 1963 and ’66, among the highlight years of Clark’s career, Sally Stokes as she was then was the twice World Champion’s steady girlfriend.

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