Honour for man behind race legend Jim Clark
IT’S 62 years since Scots racing legend Jim Clark first took to the track.
And the man who was instrumental in getting him behind the wheel of his first racing car was finally honoured earlier this month.
The Association of Scottish Motoring Writers’ annual Jim Clark Award was presented to Ian Scott-Watson.
This is one of Scotland’s top motoring awards nights and was held at the luxurious Mar Hall Hotel on the outskirts of Glasgow.
Myself and fellow members of the ASMW vote for a deserving Scot to receive the annual award.
Previous winners include motorsport legends Sir Jackie Stewart, Allan McNish, David Coulthard, Louise Aitken-Walker, Colin McRae and world land speed record breaker, Richard Noble OBE.
ASMW president John Murdoch presented the award to Ian at the event that was sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover.
Jim Clark biographer and author Eric Dymock, an honorary life member of the ASMW, recalled the flying Scot’s introduction to motor racing with a D-Type Jaguar and the huge part Ian had played in this.
He said: “One thing you can’t accuse the association of is jumping the gun.
“It’s 62 years since you, Ian Scott-Watson, put Jim Clark on track for the first time.
“Without you, he might never have been persuaded to be a racing driver.
“So, maybe, no DKW, no Porsche, no Lotus Elite. He might have got no further than driving Billy Potts’ Austin-Healey on the Scottish Rally in 1955.
“So, we’ve waited until now to give YOU the Jim Clark Memorial Award.
“You really should have been one of the first. Without you there probably wouldn’t have been any others.
“This award ‘acknowled-ges and rewards the out-standing contribution of a Scot or Scots for services to motoring’.
“So there’s not much doubt. Your contribution was far more. You created a Scottish sporting legend.”
Ian, 88, provided Jim Clark with his first cars and organised his exploits with the Border Reivers D-type Jaguar.
His first full race at Full Sutton earned a place in the record books as the first sports car driver to lap a British circuit at over 100mph.
But Ian was forced to take a back seat when Clark was taken on as a Grand Prix driver by Lotus.
On collecting his award, Ian said: “I may not have been a judge of what was required to make a Grand Prix driver but I could tell from the way Jimmy drove, both on the road and on the track, that he was exceptionally quick.
“On the road he was amazing, perfect to sit beside. His driving was smooth and his anticipation marvellous.”
Handing over the award, John Murdoch said: “It gives us great honour to recognise the role Ian Scott-Watson played in the history of motoring racing in Scotland, the UK and the world.
“It is our privilege to applaud a man who played such a pivotal role in motor racing history. No one deserves this award more than Ian.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Clark’s death in an accident at Hockenheim in Germany on April 7, 1968.
Eric Dymock, a former winner of the Jim Clark award, had his new edition of Jim Clark ‘Tribute to a Champion’ published recently.
It celebrates the life and achievements of the Formula 1 World Champion 1963 and 1965, who died aged 32.