Other Single Seaters: Junior steps

Before rising to the giddy heights of Formula 1, Jim Clark had to learn the junior slopes first. And, as Paul Fearnley recalls, it was a difficult start

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Cold, wet and a flat battery: Jim Clark’s Formula Junior debut at 1959’s Boxing Day Brands Hatch was short of festive cheer. Invited by regular Lotus Elite oppo Graham Warner to drive a Gemini Mk2 for the Chequered Flag team, the 23-year-old Borderer was claustrophobic in its cockpit and qualified mid-pack after reliability issues during practice.

At least he was doing better than the poor bloke in that “cigar tube on four wheels”. He was referring to Alan Stacey in the unpainted prototype of the first Lotus with the engine behind its driver.

Clark was pushed away last and finished eighth; Stacey, his engine a bitsa and suspension settings awry, suffered a spin and finished down in 10th.