Friday 3 April 2020

Obituary - Jim Barclay, 1936 - 2020

"Well, ah'm here and ah'm ready
but thae bluidy cars are late - again!"
Another sad loss this week, videographer, film maker and rally enthusiast Jim Barclay passed away on Tuesday after a period of poor health. He was taken into hospital on Monday evening and passed away peacefully during the night.

Jim was active in both Lanarkshire CC and Coltness CC club events in the 1960s and 70s, initially contesting navigational rallies before persuading his near neighbour Ian Carbry to take up the gentle sport of stage rallying. They rallied a Hillman Imp throughout the 70s into the early 1980s with Jim in the co-driver's seat. Outright success eluded them (for numerous reasons!)  but the object of the exercise was achieved. Great times and much fun. Jim also did other events with the likes of John Brodie in the Sunbeam and John Hyslop in a Vauxhall Viva GT.

But it was when Jim got involved with a new hobby that he became better known to a wider national audience throughout the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s. He was amongst the first to take video film cameras and cam-corders into the stages, but went farther than most. A room in his house in Lanark was converted into a rather basic but perfectly functional film editing studio from where he would edit and compile his 'All Action Videos' first on VHS tapes and latterly on DVDs. He also got involved in the early days of in-car filming and assisted many teams with their video filming equipment and supplied many individuals and teams with personalised films.

There were no 'star' commentators or informed commentary in Jim's work, he let the pictures do the talking, and what pictures. Jim would spring up in the most unlikely places on Scottish forest and Tarmack stage events and somehow had the uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time - or as many of his 'subjects' might have thought, the wrong place at the wrong time! He found filming locations that explorers couldn't find. One of the secret's of Jim's success was that he filmed everybody on a rally, not just the top seeds and the stars with his film compilations and rally reports providing the main attractions at car club nights right across Scotland.

He was as much a part of Scottish rallying as gravel, ditches and trees and he trudged through more of them than most of us in his pursuit of the perfect picture and ideal location. In fact much of his work was used by professional film makers including television companies and also David Winstanley of Acceleration Television and Video production whose series of 'Rally Crash Videos' entertained generations of rally fans before the arrival of digital media.

Jim also had a razor sharp wit with a word or a quip for everyone and he was full of stories for anyone who would stop and listen, whether they wanted to hear them or not.

For most of his working life, Jim was a 'Steelman from Motherwell' working up to a managerial position in the Ravenscraig Steelworks rolling mill before it closed. The onset of poor health in his later years stopped him from getting out and about with his camera but there will hardly be a house anywhere in Scottish rallying that doesn't have a Jim Barclay VHS cassette gathering dust or a DVD sitting in a disc drive somewhere.

His funeral will take place next Thursday but given these abnormal times in which we find ourselves he won't get the send-off he truly deserves. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his wife Dorothy, son Derek and daughter Sandra, and four grandchildren, at this especially sad time.


  1. I had one of Jim's Videos of the Scottish in 1987 in which he managed to catch us spinning in the Borders and then going off into a bog on the third last stage after managing to miss Andrew Wood's ditched Astra who hadn't put out a warning triangle. He kept cutting back to the car as it sank further into the mud. He'd a runny nose as every 30 seconds or so there was a loud sniff! RIP Jim.

  2. Hi John, I am James’ granddaughter thank you so much for your kind words. Jillian

  3. Thanks Jillian. Your Grandad was well known throughout the sport and since most folk involved in the sport read my stuff it's the best way of letting folk hear the news, even when it's not nice news. Take care, JF