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JIM CLARK Country Drive-Out

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This event is intended as a revival of the practice which developed in April each year in in the 1970s of Club members setting out as it were on a pilgrimage to Duns in Berwickshire, the home town of Formula 1 World Champion Jim Clark. It is not intended to replace the official Club Lotus national event which has taken place annually in May since 2008 in remembrance of one of our most successful Scottish sportsmen; this official event will take place later this year to coincide with the opening of the extended and refurbished Jim Clark Room in association with the Jim Clark Trust.

Perhaps the genesis of our event this April is best illustrated by the extract below from a report in the Club Lotus News magazine in 1978 when it was edited by the late Club Lotus President and ex-Lotus Cars Sales Manager Graham Arnold:-
On a windy day in April a larger than expected number members travelled quietly to Duns, in Berwickshire, to pay simple homage to the tenth anniversary of Jim Clark’s death. . This was not a wake or a public display of grief, just a hundred or so people visiting the Jim Clark trophy museum and then attending a film show and talk by Graham Gauld, author of Jim’s biography and other books about his life and careers…
The hospitality of the people of Duns has to be experienced and we publish an unashamed “plug” for the proprietor of the Black Bull Hotel in Black Bull Street in Duns… He and his wife made our party unbelievably comfortable with a type of sincere and smiling service unseen for many a year in hotels further south, and the food was good and the bill so small we couldn’t believe it…
Duns looks back on Jimmy’s life as probably the greatest achievement a son of Duns will ever record and his memory is held in high esteem. Someone once said: “A measure of a man’s true greatness in his lifetime is just how soon after his death people will speak ill of him.” Jim Clark certainly stands up to this simple yardstick.

and so, on to


CARFRAEMILL HOTEL to DUNS A697 and B6456 11.00 – 12.00

Our trip this year will start and finish at the Hotel at the junction of the A68 and the A697 just north of Lauder. This was the hotel that acted as a watering hole for Jim and his fellow racers on their way home from events up north such as the Hillclimbs in Bo’ness in West Lothian and the Rest-and-be-Thankful in Argyllshire. The hotel staff have been alerted that we are coming (0930 on) in association with the Lotus Enthusiasts Group Scotland (see L.E.G.S.’s website) for breakfast bacon and rolls and maybe more. At this point the arrivals will be issued with a sheet showing the Jim Clark trail with an explanation of the main points on the trail and a route map marking the highlights. This is purely for interest; our route will be clockwise whereas the Trail proper is anticlockwise. Thereafter at about 11.00 we shall set out for Duns in small groups and at a pace to suit, via the A697 and especially the B6456 The idea is to avoid a solid convoy as this would necessitate notifying the police - we must be careful not to frighten the local horses. Note the deletion for this reason in column two of the Trail of any reference to the Clark family farm now under new ownership. At Duns we can in park up wherever we can to catch our breath in Newton Street and inspect how the works are progressing on the Room.

DUNS to CHIRNSIDE A6105 12.00 – 01.00

It is from Duns that the Trail proper starts out. We head however for The Cross in Chirnside via the A6105. There you may pay your respects at Jim’s graveside (see the Trail handout) and walk uphill to The Cross where a short ceremony will be conducted in his honour at the commemorative Clock at about one o’clock.

CHIRNSIDE to KELSO B6437… B6461 13.30 - 14.30

From this point on, depending on numbers it may be advisable to take all the right roads, but not necessarily in the right order (see reference to horses above). The B6437 from Chirnside takes you to the B6461 and then all the way to Kelso for coffee and cake in the Crosskeys Hotel in the town square. Kelso incidentally was the scene in the early seventies where a certain budding little boy-racer caught sight and sound of the Ecurie Ecosse Racing Team arriving noisily in the town Square on their return from one of their forays to racing circuits south of the Border; thus was smitten at a tender age that small boy from Edinburgh with the addiction to drive fast and noisy sports cars for the rest of his life.

KELSO to CARFRAEMILL A6089 and/or B6364 and/or B6397 15.00 – 16.00

From Kelso participants should make their way by whatever route they wish all the way back to the Hotel for a late afternoon dinner. This is not a formal affair - we are invited to choose from the usual menu but it would be useful to be able to give the Hotel an idea of how many of us intend to dine before we leave after breakfast in the morning.

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