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16 October 2014

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Motorcycling

Jimmie Guthrie win European Grand Prix 1935

Jimmie Guthrie's bike

Photo courtesy of Hawick Museum

The funeral procession in Hawick stretched for three miles. The town had lost its favourite son and European motorcycle racing had lost an exceptional rider. Similar scenes were witnessed in Hawick in 2003 when popular motorcyclist Steve Hislop was laid to rest. Again, the funeral procession stretched for miles.

The Glasgow Herald of 1 September 1937 reported on the idea of a memorial to Jimmie Guthrie. “The proposal is that a bronze statuette should be erected in some prominent place in Hawick, and that a bed should be endowed in Hawick Cottage Hospital primarily for the use of injured motor cyclists and to be known as the Jimmy (sic) Guthrie bed.”

That statue, by Galashiels sculptor Thomas Clapperton, was erected in 1939 and sits in Wilton Lodge Park in Hawick just next to the town's museum, which features a splendid exhibition about Guthrie. Curator Richard White recalls that around 500 people visited the Guthrie room on its opening day, and every year bikers from around Europe come to pay their respects to one of the sport's legendary figures. Jimmie's son, also called Jimmie, who won the 1967 Isle of Man TT and now lives in South Africa, has donated many of his father's trophies to the collection.

There are other memorials to Jimmie Guthrie – the “Guthrie Stone” at the Sachsenring where he died, and another at the roadside spot, The Cutting, where he retired in his last Senior TT.

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