Rider Of The Week shines a light on the career of a famous racer and looks at what they’ve achieved. Scottish rider Jimmie Guthrie won various races, which included 19 Grand Prix wins and 6 Isle of Man TT victories. His tenacity and natural talent made him one of the greatest UK riders in the history of racing.
Guthrie was born in Hawick in 1897 and served as an apprentice engineer with the 4th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers. After he was deployed from Scotland to Gallipoli, Guthrie was involved in the Quintinshill rail crash near Gretna Green. 210 men were killed, but the Scot survived and went on to serve in Palestine and France. Throughout his service, Guthrie worked as a motorcycle dispatch rider.
After The Great War, Guthrie returned to Hawick and joined the local motorcycle club with his brother Archie. The club nominated Guthrie to ride in the 1923 Isle of Man TT, though valve problems with his bike stopped him from getting any further than the first lap on the Junior Snaefell Mountain course.
Undeterred, Guthrie continued to race and picked up wins at the 1926 and 1927 Scottish Speed Championships. In 1930, he won the lightweight race at the TT, which propelled him into mainstream success. He joined the Norton team in 1931 and finished second place in the Junior and Senior TT races. In 1934, Guthrie became the leader of the Norton team, replacing Stanley Woods. He won the 500 cc North West 200 and Junior and Senior TT races the same year.
1935 proved to be a fruitful year for Guthrie, as he won two more TT races. His final ride on the Isle of Man was in 1937. Tragically, Guthrie died a few months later while racing in Germany. He was only 40 at the time.
On February 12th 1939, a memorial for Guthrie was unveiled in Wilton Lodge Park. It was sculpted by Thomas J. Clapperton as a tribute to a man with an unquenchable passion for racing.