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On 1 January 1968, Jim Clark won the South African Grand Prix ay Kyalami, the twenty-fifth World Championship Grand Prix victory of his career. Just over three months later he was dead, killed in a non-championship Formula 2 race at Hockenheim.
There is absolutely no doubt that many race fans, particularly those of a certain age, will include the two-time World Champion in their list of the top three race drivers of all time, and we don't restrict that to F1, for the Scotsman was to finish second in the 1963 Indy 500 - later winning the Milwaukee 200 - as well as enjoying success in SportsCars and Saloon Cars.
Following his win at Kyalami, Clark headed down under for the Tasman Series, where he won four races from seven starts, before heading back to Barcelona for an F2 race. Then came Hockenheim.
Bearing in mind that Graham Hill was to win the 1968 title with the Lotus 49B, it seems fair to say that 'Wee Jimmy' might well have been heading for his third World Championship crown.
In the same way that the death of Ayrton Senna was to rock fans of the modern era of F1, when Clark died, at a time when race drivers were being killed on a regular basis, it tore the heart out of the sport.
In a year in which fans will remember the fortieth anniversary of the Scotsman's death, its good to see that celebrations of his tremendous talent are already underway.
A film festival which celebrates the life of the two-time World Champion will take place at Eynsham Hall, near Witney, Oxfordshire on February 23rd and 24th.
The programme will include film shows and talks by people who knew Clark well or worked with him.
The film shows will cover Clark's exploits at Indianapolis, including his race-winning year of 1965, his races in the Tasman series which took place in Australia and New Zealand and other rare, never-seen-before footage, as well as some of his more famous European exploits.
The talk session will feature former mechanics who worked with Clark at Team Lotus - including Bob Dance and Jim Endruweit - former Lotus designer Len Terry (who designed Clark's 65 Indy winner as well as the Eagle F1 car among others) and Ian Scott Watson, who was a big influence on Clark's early career as his mentor and manager.
Sir John Whitmore, who partnered Clark in a Lotus Elite in the 1959 Le Mans 24 hours and remained a close friend of the Scot during the 1960s, will also be speaking.
Peter Darley, who was the official Team Lotus photographer during Clark's time there, will be showing some slides of Clark during the talk session.
Other special guests attending the event will be Mrs Hazel Chapman, widow of Lotus founder Colin Chapman and her son Clive, who is managing director of Classic Team Lotus.
'Gentleman' Jack Sears is also confirmed for the Festival. Jack was the British Saloon Car Champion in 1958 and again in 1963 and was Jim Clark's team-mate in the works Lotus-Cortina team in 1965, as well as carrying out a large amount of testing on Clark's works Lotus 30 sports car.
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