Tuner to Hailwood, Ago, Roberts, Redman and Carruthers claimed by cancer
Derek “Nobby” Clark played a key role in capturing 17 world roadracing titles across multiple displacements over three decades passed away on Sunday after a long illness. He was 81.
The greats Mr. Clark worked with include AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Kel Carruthers and Kenny Roberts. In addition to the 17 FIM Grand Prix world titles that he earned in classes ranging from 50cc to 500cc, Mr. Clark contributed to winning three Daytona 200s, one Daytona 100, four Imola 200s and eight Italian championships.
Mr. Clark was born in September 1936, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia). He studied engineering at Bulawayo Technical High School and did his apprenticeship for Rhodesia Railways. As a vibrant motorcycling counterculture developed in Zimbabwe, Mr. Clark’s high-school friend, Gary Hocking, built a reputation first on the streets of Bulawayo then on local racetracks. Hocking’s exploits ultimately took him to Europe, and he encouraged Mr. Clark to follow.
In 1960, Hocking got a ride with MV Agusta and hired Mr. Clark as his tuner. That year, Hocking was runner-up in 125, 250 and 350cc FIM World Championships. In 1961, he won the 350 and 500cc titles.
Mr. Clark went to work for the factory Honda team and Jim Redman, following Hocking’s death in a Formula One car crash in 1962. He stayed with Honda, where he worked with Hailwood, and then joined a Yamaha satellite team in 1971. In 1972, he joined the Yamaha factory team.
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