Celebrating Jim Clark, a true sporting champion

Dario Franchitti, former winner of the IndyCar Series, Indianapolis 500 and 24-hr Daytona event, delivers a car to the new Jim Clark Museum.
Dario Franchitti, former winner of the IndyCar Series, Indianapolis 500 and 24-hr Daytona event, delivers a car to the new Jim Clark Museum.

The new Jim Clark Motorsport Museum in Duns is open to the public today (Thursday) following the completion of a £1.6million partnership project.

The Scottish Borders’ latest visitor attraction has been delivered by Scottish Borders Council in partnership with charity Live Borders, the Jim Clark Trust and the Jim Clark Memorial Room Trust.

Funding for the project has come from the Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and the Jim Clark Trust, the latter including a grant from the Fallago Environment Fund and individual donations from around the world.

The museum, operated by Live Borders, includes two of Jim Clark’s race cars, new image galleries, film footage, interactive displays and a simulator. There is also expanded exhibition space showcasing memorabilia and the trophy collection.

Councillor Mark Rowley, SBC’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “This is an outstanding new visitor attraction of exceptional quality and one which will bring people from all over the world to Duns, and hopefully then on to the wider Scottish Borders, spreading the positive economic impact across the area.

“The opportunity to see some of Jim’s race cars close up, explore the fascinating story of this incredible man and experience laps of the world’s most famous racing circuits in the simulator is unique.”

Ewan Jackson, chief executive officer for Live Borders, added: “To be able to tell the Jim Clark story in these fabulous new surroundings, with interactive displays, two of Jim’s actual race cars and a simulator is an honour for Live Borders.

“Positive cultural exhibitions and celebrating our local heritage is very much in line with our commitment to communities across the Borders being healthier, happier and stronger.

“This has truly been a partnership project and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to bring this must-visit attraction to fruition. We are looking forward to opening the doors to the public and providing a first-class customer service.”

Adult admission to the museum costs just £5, with visitors able to return as often as they like for free for the following 12 months. There is a small additional cost for the simulator.

Jim Clark won the Formula One championship in 1963, becoming the then youngest ever world champion.

He followed it up with victory again in 1965 and, in the same year, also won the prestigious Indianapolis 500 in America. He remains the only driver to have won both the Formula One and Indy 500 titles in the same year.

Clark tragically died in a Formula Two race crash at Hockenheim, Germany, in April 1968, at the age of just 32. He was much admired for his modesty and humility alongside his remarkable natural ability in all forms of motor racing. He is still considered one of the greatest ever racing drivers and remains, to this day, one of Scotland’s most admired sporting heroes.

Doug Niven, a trustee of the Jim Clark Trust and Jim’s cousin, said: “The new museum brings together the story of Jim’s life both in and out of racing cars.

“Jim was a very humble person and would be astonished to see this museum honouring him. But I think he would be extremely proud that it sits here in Berwickshire – his home town from a young age and at the heart of the community that embraced him and still feels such a connection to him to this day.”

Ben Smith, secretary of The Jim Clark Trust, said: “A new museum to honour Jim has been a goal for so many people for a significant period of time and it is deeply satisfying to see that hard work and commitment come to fruition.

“The support from across Scotland and internationally for this project has been overwhelming and reflects the high esteem in which Jim is held, both amongst fellow racers, including the Trust’s Patrons, but also those who were lucky enough to see Jim race in his day. There has also been significant support from many who have learnt about Jim’s story and achievements and wanted to see it told to an even wider audience.

“In addition to the new museum, the Trust has been working on a variety of other complimentary projects, including a Jim Clark Tourist Trail and a range of future events. Together with the museum these will bring more visitors to Duns, and the wider Scottish Borders, and will ensure that Jim’s legacy lives on and continues to inspire future generations.”

The project benefited from almost £635,000 of National Lottery funding.

Riona McMorrow, acting head of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland, said: “Thanks to players of the National Lottery, Jim Clark now has a visitor attraction worthy of his sporting greatness. The museum will be a huge boost for the Borders’ tourist economy, attracting motorsport enthusiasts from across the globe and inspiring future generations, as they follow the story of a tractor driver who became the greatest Formula 1 racing driver of his time.”

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the development of a museum that recognises and celebrates the remarkable achievements of Jim Clark. The project has been developed through strong community partnership working and support and I feel this will really ensure the continuation of the local legacy of a man who was such an inspiration to many.”

Gareth Baird, chairman of the Fallago Environment Fund, said: “The Fallago Environment Fund’s initial £75,000 grant helped the Jim Clark Trust to leverage funds from a number of additional sources, which together have made possible the creation of this wonderful modern museum celebrating the life of one of Scotland’s greatest sporting heroes. We’re delighted that funds from the Fallago Wind Farm have been able to support a project that will honour Jim Clark’s legacy and attract many more visitors to the Scottish Borders.”

The Jim Clark Motorsport Museum is open Monday to Saturday (closed Wednesday) 10am to 4.30pm, and Sunday 1pm to 4.30pm.