Part and parcel of the Borders Farming life, as a youngster was to join the Ednam Young Farmers Club. Jim joined and quickly became well acquainted and good friends with Ian Scott-Watson who bought his attention to motorsport. In 1953 Jim acquired he obtained his full drivers license and was introduced by Scott-Watson to Berwick & District Motor Club. Although he did not yet know it, he was about to be steered towards his future career. Close to Edington Mains was Winfield Airfield, home to the first ever Scottish motor race meeting, where at an early age Jim had witnessed the Ecurie Ecosse team testing Jaguars who famously won Le Mans in 1956 and 1957. Another race track was created close by at the Charterhall Airfield in 1952 and be graced by a who’s who or motor racing through to the 1960’s, including Moss, Hawthorn, Salvadori, Farina, Abecassis, Parnell, Stewart and of course Jim Clark…
Ian Scott-Watson is widely regarded as the person responsible for Jim’s early racing career, competing in saloon, sports cars and rallies. In contrast, Jim’s parents James and Helen believed that motorsport was not the path to take for Jim as it was dangerous, expensive and considered frivolous at the time in comparison to farming.
This led Jim to drive in local rallies and other such small race events as a hoby to begin with, until Scott-Watson entered his DKW Sonderklasse at Crimond Race Meeting on 16th July 1956. Although the DKW boasted only 856cc which was somewhat down on its competitors and despite the fact that Jim came last, his times were impressive. So impressive in fact that Scott-Watson was penalised for the handicap race later that day by the organisers due to Jim’s quick times, who believed the art of ‘sandbagging’ had been employed to improve Scott-Watson’s chances of victory.
Jim did not compete for a further 14 months until 5th of October 1957 at Charterhall, Berwickshire where he drove Scott-Watson’s 1957 Porsche 356A 1600 Super. Jim competed in three races that day winning the final race – The BMRC Trophy. It was a great victory for Jim. On this occasion Jim once again showcased his potential, beating local garage owner and Border Reivers founder Jock McBain who was far more experienced and had more power at his disposal.