He salvaged British pride; staved off the Swedes; fought the Finns and won at home. Twice. And the British Rally Championship four times.
Roger Clark: two words that mean so much to rally fans throughout Britain.
The unassuming superstar from Leicestershire led the Safari Rally, won the Acropolis and became a household name largely thanks to that prowess behind the wheel. And Cossack Hairspray. Cossack’s television commercials carried the first Briton ever to win a round of the FIA World Rally Championship (the 1976 Lombard RAC Rally) into living rooms up and down the country.
Twenty years ago, British rallying lost a genuine hero when Roger Albert Clark passed away.
This September, the Clark family will join Castle Combe's Rallyday for a special commemoration of his life.
(Olly Clark’s stunning Gobstopper will be one of the highlights at Rallyday on September 22)
Rallyday organiser Tom Davis said: “Rally fans talk to us consistently about two drivers. One is Colin McRae, our first world champion, the other is Roger Clark.
“Roger’s name remains so emotive in our world. After 13 years of Scandinavian domination of the RAC Rally, it was Roger who showed the Finns and the Swedes the way home on our biggest motorsport event.
“A lot of the people who attend Rallyday probably weren’t even born when Roger won the 1972 RAC Rally, but it doesn’t matter. His name has been passed from generation to generation and the love and appreciation of him remains as strong today as it’s ever been. It’s for that reason that we are very proud to work with the family on what we want to be a fitting commemoration of his life and success.”
Members of the Clark family will attend Rallyday on September 22.
Roger’s son Olly, who works in the family business RCM (Roger Clark Motorsport) said: “It’s incredible to think it’s 20 years since we lost the old man. But this will be a really special day for us – the chance to formalise the anniversary at an event like Rallyday is just brilliant.
“Obviously, we still work in the industry – although much more in tuning than rallying – and people still talk about him and what he achieved on almost a daily basis. Mum, Matt, we’ll all come down to Rallyday and I’m sure we’ll dig out some of the old trophies to bring with us. It’ll be a great day.”
Olly Clark has made his own name in motorsport, winning the Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb twice in his now world-famous Subaru-based Gobstopper Time Attack cars. The good news for Rallyday fans is that he’s bringing Gobstoppers one, two and three with him to Castle Combe in September.
“We’re still building Gobstopper 3 at the moment,” said Olly, “but it’ll be great to bring them along and see them alongside some of the cars dad used in his career.”
The Clark family don’t hold any of Roger’s original rally cars, which is why Rallyday organisers are keen to hear from anybody who has access to some original Clark machinery.
Davis said: “We always have a real fascinating array of cars at Rallyday and we’ve had some of Roger’s original Escorts before – we’re really hoping people will realise the importance of this event and bring their cars along to share with family, friends and fans from around the world.”
As well as celebrating the life of Roger Albert Clark, Rallyday 2018 is also marking the 60th anniversary of the British Rally Championship and the Ford Escort Mk 1 – the RS1600 derivative of which Roger used to win the 1972 RAC.
“We’ve got plenty going on at Rallyday this year,” said Davis. “Sixty years on from its inception, the British Rally Championship is as popular as ever. And then there’s the Ford Escort which, like Roger, really needs no introduction, hype or hyperbole.”
The good news for rally fans is that Rallyday tickets are on sale already at rallyday.com, with a discounted price for early purchase (until March 31, 2018). An adult ticket is priced at £15. Under-17s will be admitted free with one adult ticket.
Phone: 01249 782417 Castle Combe, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 7EY
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