Roger Albert Clarke was a British rally driver who was the first competitor from his country to win a World Rally Championship (1976)
The world may remember him for active years between the 1960s to the late 1990s, but here are 16 facts about Roger Clarke people don’t know about
- He debuted in a Pre-WWII Ford Prefect. A company he’d be very loyal to throughout his career.
- He met his co-driver, Jim Porter when he was at the Leicester Car Club. He joined the club immediately after he passed his driving test. Porter would be his co-driver for 20 years.
- His father was a motor dealer. His fascination towards cars can be attributed to this reason.
- Together with his father, they owned four car dealerships around the area of Leicester retailing brands like Alfa Romeo, Ford and even Porsche.
- His younger brother, Stan Clark, was also a rally driver and one of the very few to tame the legendary Ford Capri. He later drove Alfa Romeo GTVS in his career.
- The affinity to number his cars with the famous “2 ANR” was because he initially borrowed a Ford Model Y from his father for his rally debut, and the make had the number plate “2ANR”.
- In 1975, Clarke and Porter won the coveted Segrave Trophy.
- In 1979, he was awarded the title MBE.
- After his debut, he competed in a Ford 100E van before switching to a BMC Mini Cooper.
- With the BMC Mini Cooper, he won the East Midlands Rally in 1961 and 1962, came fourth overall and a win within his class in the International Circuit of Ireland and a third in the Motoring News Championship in 1963, and finally a third in his first Circuit of Scotland
- In 1964, Clarke switched to the Rover Company for two years in which the pair won, in a Rover 2000, their Monte Carlo Rally.
- He won his first British Rally Championship (of four) in 1965 after he made the first two of his five circuit wins in his private Ford Cortina.
- In 1966, Clarke and Porter signed with Ford of Britain which lasted 15 years. Ford of Britain would lead Ford of Europe rallying team, financed by Esso Uniflo.
- His work alongside drivers Vic Elford and Bengt Soderstrom who all rode the Ford Cortina GT.
- He rode a Ford Escort RS from 1968 till he retired in the 1980s.
- Even after he retired, he remained loyal to Ford.