Andrew James « Jimmie » Guthrie was born on 23 March 1897 in Hawick (Scotland - UK). After a period as an apprentice engineer, he went to the army – World War I was raging - moving from Scotland to Gallipoli, Palestine and France, where he served as motorcycle dispatch rider. Back in Scotland he took part in local races and championships. As from 1927 he would take part in the TT races each year until his death. His first win took place in 1930 where he clinched the TT Lightweight race (350cc) riding an AJS at the average speed of 64,71 mph.
He retired in the Junior and Senior TT races. That same year1931, he established a number of world speed records on the circuit of Montlhéry near Paris (one-hour, 50 km, 50 miles, 100 km and 100 miles). In 1931 he joined the Norton factory team managed by Joe Craig. Guthrie finished both Junior and Senior TT races in second place behind Percy “Tim” Hunt, making them the first double wins for the Norton factory. In 1932 he finished once again in the second place behind Stanley Woods in the Senior TT. It would take until 1934 to see Jimmie on the top: first he won the 500cc North West 200, and then clinched the double Junior/Senior win at the TT, as leading Norton factory rider.
In 1935 he won again the Junior TT, but lost the Senior he had been leading from the start to Stanley Woods for 4 seconds following misjudged instructions from his pit. He won again the Senior TT in 1936 ahead of Stanley Woods. In 1937 he won the Junior TT but retired from the Senior TT race on the fifth lap. On 8 August he was racing at the Sachsenring when he crashed at high speed and was killed.
A memorial was erected two years later on the Isle of Man at the place where he was retired during the 1937 Senior TT race. Another memorial was erected in 1949 at the Sachsenring at the place where he lost his life.
Text: Marc Pétrier / Photo: FIM Archives