Lest summer, we visited Duns in the Scottish Borders to commemorate the passing of fifty years since Jim Clark was both Indy 500 winner and Formula One World Champion in the same year, a feat never repeated. The occasion was also suitable for the announcement of ambitious plans for the Jim Clark Trust to create a more fitting memorial by developing the Jim Clark Rooms into something more significant.
The Clark Rooms have been in Duns for many years and could be considered to be typical of the man. Understated and not flamboyant in any way. The new plans intend to build upon the original building in a sympathetic way and in December, the Trust was awarded official charity status for it’s plans to create the new tribute by 2018.
The Jim Clark Trust, run by the family of Jim Clark, will focus on three themes: heritage, education and inspiration, and can now welcome support from the general public and sponsorship enquiries thanks to its official charitable status.
It is also planned to hold more Jim Clark Weekend events similar to last year’s to celebrate the Champion’s life.
To help promote plans for the new museum, which is backed by Hon. President Sir Jackie Stewart, three new Patrons have been appointed in recognition of their friendship with Jim Clark, the Scottish Borders and Scottish motor sport: Ian Scott-Watson, Jim Clark’s early mentor and close friend with the Border Reivers racing club; Andrew Cowan former rally driver and founder of Ralliart; and Hugh McCaig, Chairman of the Scottish Motor Racing Club (SMRC) and Team Principal of Ecurie Ecosse.
Ian Scott-Watson is widely regarded as the person responsible for Jim Clark’s early racing career competing in saloon, sports cars and rallies, both young farmers living near Duns close to the Charterhall and Winfield airfield race circuits with the Border Reivers. Scott-Watson, “I feel very privileged to be able to help the Trust in their work connected with the proposed Jim Clark Museum and in raising funds for this worthwhile project. I am sure that those legions of fans who have visited the present Jim Clark Room in Duns and others from all over the world are looking forward to supporting this project and visiting the museum in time for the 50th Anniversary of Jim’s tragic death in 1968.”
Ian Scott-Watson is probably responsible for enabling Jim Clark to travel away from Duns and create the career that he did in motorsport. It’s truly fitting to see him involved in the project.
Andrew Cowan was raised in Berwickshire as a fellow farmer and friend of Jim Clark, learning to drive on the quiet twisty country roads, in the fields and off road. Both young drivers were active with the Berwick & District Motor Club when Clark gravitated to open-wheeled racing and Cowan to off-road rallying. His distinguished professional racing career included endurance rallies around the world winning the London-Sydney Marathon and then as founder and Director of Ralliart winning four consecutive WRC titles with Tommi Makinen 1996-1999 with Mitsubishi. Cowan commented: “I am delighted to become involved with the Jim Clark Trust as a Patron and have been actively following developments over the past few years. Jim Clark’s legacy grows year by year, and plans for the new museum will increase the interest in his life and the history of Jim’s many great motor sport achievements throughout the world. The prospect of exhibiting some of the famous cars in which he raced will be both an inspiration and education, attracting people to Duns and the Scottish Borders.”
Hugh McCaig has been a driving force integral to Scottish motor racing for over 30 years, responsible for reviving the famous Le Mans winning Ecurie Ecosse team and supporting some of Scotland’s most successful modern racing drivers including David Coulthard, Allan McNish and Dario Franchitti, all supporters of The Jim Clark Trust. The current Chairman of The Scottish Motor Racing Club commented “To be invited to join The Jim Clark Trust and to be associated with other such notable Patrons already on board is an honour. I look forward to helping the Trust achieve its goal of a new enlarged museum to celebrate the life of Jim Clark, who inspired a generation and is still recognised to this day as one of the greatest drivers of all time around the world.”
It’s hoped that the new museum will attract more than 12,000 visitors per year and establish significant platform to celebrate the achievements of one of the world’s greatest racing drivers.