Please excuse my english, we do our best…..
Jim Clark is and will remain one of the biggest drivers that racing has ever known. His early career was tinged with lucky breaks coincidences and encounters
We are in 1956 and 20 year old Jim meets Ian Scott Watson, a speed enthusiast who owns a D.K.W.
One morning in June, Clark finds himself behind the wheel of this car on the Crimond circuit. During the tests, his time was better than that of Watson and by mutual agreement he participated in the race. The D.K.W finished the last race but Watson recognized the seed of champion.
In 1957 Watson created the Border Motor Racing Club and Jim Clark drove his first car over 100 hp, a Porsche 1600 S but for the future double world champion, the major meeting that would launch his career was to take place in early 1958: the Jaguar D Type TKF9.
The Scottish Border Reivers team, which had hired Jimmy Somervail as driver, asked him to drive their white Jaguar D Type for a few races.
In his own words, the experience gained by Jim Clark behind the wheel of this car was invaluable.
It should also be noted that it is thanks to the Scottish team Border Reivers that Jim Clark will have his first experience in a single-seater, on a Lotus Formula II. It was during a test drive of this car at Brands Hatch that he met Colin Chapman with whom he became twice world champion.
The Border Reivers bought the car through an ad in « Autosport ». The Jaguar had been prepared by the Murkett brothers for Archie Scott Brown and Henry Taylor.
Chassis: XKD517 – Engine: E2026-9, delivered to Henlys in Manchester in pastel green in 1956, wide windscreen covering two places.
The first TKF9 race in the hands of Jim Clark took place at Full Sutton Airport. A 5120m circuit, making it the longest circuit in England. Jim found the car incredibly fast and the engine extraordinary.
For the record, it was not exactly at the start of Full Sutton that Clark drove for the first time with D Type, but a few hours earlier. The engine of the transport truck having broken the day before the race, it was by road that the champion rallied York at the wheel of the Jaguar, thus covering more than 150 miles including a part at night. The next day Jim Clarck won the two races of Full Sutton and set the track record for a Sports car, exceeding the average 160km / h.
Following this, the Border Reivers registered D Type at Spa. (NB: in 1957 TKF9 had driven at Nurburgring and Spa, piloted by Henry Taylor and finished 3rd) Jim Clark was going to take the plunge and take the start alongside some of the biggest names of the time. Carrol Shelby and his Aston Martin DBR2, Olivier Gendebien and his Ferrari Testa Rossa, Master Gregory and his Lister Jaguar, Lucien Bianchi and his Ferrari or even Paul Frère and his Aston Martin DBR2.
As an appetizer and in order to gain some experience on the 14km of the circuit, Clark participated in a side race in the morning driving a Porsche Carrera.
At 4:00 p.m. the main race was started. The D Type behaved valiantly against the powerful Lister and another Aston Martin and finished 8th.
This race will be the first contact of the future champion with the world of international competition. Unfortunately it will also be the theater of the death of Archie Scott Brown in the corner of the Club House. Jim Clark later admitted that he ran the entire race with an incredible stomach fear without ever daring to push D Type. Throughout his career as an F1 driver, he had very bad memories of the Spa circuit.
Back on his homeland, TKF9, still driven by Clark, will race two races at Full Sutton, three more at Chaperhall, one at Crimond and one at Brands Hatch.
Jim Clark ran 20 races behind the wheel of TKF9 and won 12.
The last race of the year on Chaperhall’s circuit was the most important for him. Ecurie Ecosse had entered Ron Flockhart on the winning Type D at Le Mans and Ines Ireland on the Toreiro-Jaguar. This race would prove to be a life-size test for the future Scottish champion. The Ecurie Ecosse D Type started with a definite advantage because the car was fitted with the latest Dunlop R.5 tires while TKF9 had the R.3 version. In addition, Flockhart’s car seems to be equipped with a 3.8 l engine while Jim Clark’s one has a 3.4 l one.
According to the testimony of the Scottish champion, this race allowed him to push the car to the limit of its potential. Exploit that he had not dared to achieve on the Spa Francorchamps circuit a few months earlier. Finally after a tight race and numerous overtaking, TKF9 finished second behind the D Type of Ecurie Ecosse and proved to the future F1 driver that he could fight with great champions.
The car was subsequently sold to Alan Ensoll and was replaced in the stable by ex-Bruce Halford Lister Jaguar in 1959.
Alan Ensoll will drive the car in numerous hill climbs, notably Barbon, Catterick and Castle Howard. He transformed it into XKSS and had it painted green.
In 1960, the car will be one of the stars of the film « The Green Helmet » by Michael Forlong.
An Irish fan by the name of Bob Duncan, who discovered the car in the film, brought it to Ireland and raced it in the Hillant races of Craigantlet and Kirkistown.
Then, back in England, she joined the Corser collection for 14 years. The car was then repainted in dark green, like all the other Jaguars in the impressive collection and was fully checked by Jaguar.
In 1978 it was bought by the American collector …. but who decided a few months later not to keep it. That’s when Willie Tuckett becomes the proud owner.
The car will be damaged in the 80s, it will then be completely rebuilt by Martin Morris in its 1958 Border Reivers specification.
The car today:
Sources : Jaguar Scapbook – Philip Porter, Jim Clarck par Jim Clarck – Marabout Flash – Motorsport magazine – Jim Clark de Graham Gauld
Toute reproduction interdite sans l’autorisation de l’auteur – Reproduction prohibited without permission of the author