There were few things I craved more as a child than speed, competition, and a sense of ever-present danger. Incidentally, none of those desires have devolved much in the time since, having found but different avenues of exploration.
Bike crashes were the norm growing up, as were visits to the ER; so frequent were the visits that at one point my parents were questioned by Child Services under suspicion of abuse. I’ve had stitches (thrice – narrowly avoiding a fourth time by having my eyebrow pieced together with super glue), my jaw wired shut after being crushed by a tractor, my gums split open twice and teeth knocked loose once, and two titanium plates and twelve screws in my right forearm. I’m also pretty sure I now have a tear in my left knee. C’est la vie.
Just the same – thanks in part to the aforementioned desires and largely to a favorite daily-reader, Silodrome – Formula One has recently captured my attention. It is fraught with what I love – speed, cars, innovation, danger, great style and championship – and has a history that is purely fascinating.
One of the greatest F1 drivers of all time comes from an early period of the sport, beginning his career in the decade following the War. Jim Clark was in many regards different than other drivers. His path to the sport was unconventional, his spirit indomitable, and he was considered by friend and foe alike, while fierce, a gentleman racer.
His involvement in a deadly crash early in his career provided an experience and guilt that would stick with Clark for the rest of his life. Eventually, he was, like many great drivers of the era, killed in his prime, leaving behind an astounding legacy with 25 wins on 33 pole positions and 72 Grand Prix starts.
Feel free to have a look for yourself at Jim Clark: The Quiet Champion