Jim Clark ‘milk float race’ revival

Clark was a modern race driver who took advantage of the many PR opportunities offered to him. That is to say money of course. But he also put up money to enable Scotchcircuits Ltd. to open a new race track near Edinburgh and took part in an impromptu race of electric milk vans. He obviously enjoyed that, too.
Clark was a modern race driver who took advantage of the many PR opportunities offered to him. That is to say money of course. But he also put up money to enable Scotchcircuits Ltd. to open a new race track near Edinburgh and took part in an impromptu race of electric milk vans. He obviously enjoyed that, too.

July the 10th 1965 will forever be remembered as a pretty momentous day in British Motor Racing.

For the British Grand Prix had just been won Jim Clark who would be joined on the podium by two fellow British drivers Graham Hill and John Surtees with Clark team mate Croydon’s Mike Spence finishing in fourth place and a young Scot by the name of Jackie Stewart finishing fifth.

In this, the year of Clark’s second world championship win to go along with winning the Formula Two title, the Tazman Series and the Indy 500, only the BBC Sport’s Personality of the Year seemed to elude him going instead to cyclist Tom Simpson.

However it’s one of the lighter moments in what was to be a hugely successful year for Clark that will be relived this September

Just two weeks after Clark had won that pulsating British Grand Prix , he and friends including Sir Jackie Stewart found themselves at Ingliston taking part in an altogether different race. At a meeting sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board, a number of drivers were invited to cover one lap in electric milk floats, stopping to pick up milk bottles on the way. It was in effect a PR stunt and fun way to get the message out to the public about dairy farming.

Successful Galashiels business man John Cleland was only 13-years-old at the time of the ‘milk float race’ but remembers it clearly having went to the event with his father Jim who was a race scrutineer at the time.

“It was a great occasion,” recalled John, who went on to become a double British touring car champion among many motor sport honours.

“There was a huge crowd there, this was one of the first occasions Ingliston had been used for racing and it drew huge attention.

“The milk race was just a publicity stunt ran alongside the scheduled racing but to have Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart both there was a huge thing.

“It was very funny to see two Formula One drivers on milk floats and to think that Jim was a world champion at the time – it was all a long, long time before Top Gear.”

The fun of this quirky stunt will be recreated at the Ingliston Revival over the weekend of September 12 & 13 when two modern-day drivers take to the track to re-create this memorable occasion.

As part of a weekend of celebrations to mark 50 years of Ingliston Racing Circuit, the drivers will race around the track in the floats while also tackling a series of challenges.

The 2015 event will see drivers compete to finish a number of challenges around the track. They will be scored on their skills in completing the tasks which range from milking a fibreglass cow to rounding up farm yard animals against the clock. In full racing helmets and suits only the most fearless drivers will complete the tasks and claim victory on the winners podium.

No champagne will be on offer at the ceremony, a cool refreshing pint of milk is the order of the day.