Jim Clark: Racing Legend, by Eric Dymock

A control freak on the track - but not off it
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The Independent Culture

A sixties study of racing drivers in the British Journal of Psychiatry observed their need to feel in control, of themselves and the things around them. Jim Clark may have been indecisive and unsure of himself off the track, but his mastery behind the wheel puts him in his sport's pantheon next to Fangio, Ascari and Senna.

A sixties study of racing drivers in the British Journal of Psychiatry observed their need to feel in control, of themselves and the things around them. Jim Clark may have been indecisive and unsure of himself off the track, but his mastery behind the wheel puts him in his sport's pantheon next to Fangio, Ascari and Senna.

Colin Chapman, the charismatic Lotus entrepreneur who guided him to his two world titles, said he hardly ever drove to his limits.

Eric Dymock probably knew Clark better than most journalists, and does a decent job of narrating the story of the Fife farmer's boy. Motor racing was still a gentleman's sport, and Clark could show great gallantry, for example, towards a promising young rival like Jackie Stewart. But in personal relations he could be ruthless, especially with the women in his life - of whom there seem to have been a paddockful. He refused to commit himself to his one true love, Sally Stokes, who eventually married another driver, Ed Swart.

Damon Hill was a very young wedding guest, and a picture of Clark driving the toddler's toy tractor in the Hills' back garden is one of the many evocative photos in a beautifully illustrated book.

Clark died of a broken neck in a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim in 1968 after a slow puncture altered his car's handling. For once, he lost control.

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