Almost 100 motorcyclists hit road from Denholm for tribute to Jimmie Guthrie

Alistair and Paula Huddleston, of St Boswells, taking a break at Harestanes during the 56th Jimmie Guthrie memorial run on their 1927 Royal Enfield.
Alistair and Paula Huddleston, of St Boswells, taking a break at Harestanes during the 56th Jimmie Guthrie memorial run on their 1927 Royal Enfield.

Almost 100 vintage motorcycle enthusiasts got on their bikes on Sunday to mark the 80th anniversary of the untimely death of Borders bike-racing legend Jimmie Guthrie.

The 56th memorial run held as a tribute to Hawick-born motorcycle champion Jimmie took place on Sunday, and not only did it attract the owners of 90 pre-1980 motorcycles but also those of 50 vintage cars .

Keith Hayes proudly displays his pristine Morgan Super Sports three-wheeler.

Keith Hayes proudly displays his pristine Morgan Super Sports three-wheeler.

Both the legend’s son, also called Jimmie, and his daughter Margaret Bowen were there to attend a memorial ceremony at Jimmie’s statue in Hawick’s Wilton Lodge Park, the former having flown in from South Africa for the event and the latter having travelled up from Devon.

Jimmy Steel, organiser of the annual event on behalf of Hawick and Border Motorcycle Club, said: “It was an exceptional day, especially because the weather was so nice.

“I’m not sure what the temperature was, but the green in Denholm, where we start, was heaving with people.

“The run itself went very well, covering the 40 miles in about two-and-a-half hours, with lots of people enjoying an ice-cream at the end.

The statue of motorbike champ Jimmie Guthrie in Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park with a bike wheel around his neck.

The statue of motorbike champ Jimmie Guthrie in Hawick's Wilton Lodge Park with a bike wheel around his neck.

“It was very successful, and I think everyone really enjoyed it.

“We only had one mishap, which was Mike Povey, who suffered two punctures within one mile in his 1912 Model T Ford.

“It was very unfortunate as no one really gets punctures nowadays.

“Luckily, Mike was only a mile away from his house.”

The first Jimmie Guthrie memorial run took place in 1962 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the club and also to commemorate its most famous ever member, killed by a crash during a race in Germany in 1937 at the age of 40, and it has been held annually since.

The first run attracted 32 entrants, and, at that time, it was an unusual sight to see so many vintage cars and motorcycles out on the road.

Jimmy, of Ancrum, said: “I gradually took over the running of it.

“Now we have a committee of one – that’s myself – so there are no arguments!

“In the last 10 years, the run has been really, really busy.

“It seems to be that this is the run that most enthusiasts want to be involved in.

“It’s not so regimented, and it actually becomes quite a social event so people come and meet people they have not seen for a year.”

The first run was from Kelso to Hawick via Earlston, Galashiels and Selkirk, and that continued for the next five years.

The run was then based at Lilliards Edge caravan park until the early 1980s.

These days, it starts and finishes at the green in Denholm.

Covering around 40 miles, the route varies from year to year, but it always makes a detour to Wilton Lodge Park in Hawick to visit the exhibition on Jimmie in the museum there and to visit his statue.

For the past 15 years or so, it has also been sponsored by auctioneer Bonham’s.

Jimmy said: “They told us that they had been very impressed with the way that the event was run and told us they wanted to sponsor us.

“It was a very big thing for us because they could have sponsored any of the runs in Scotland.

“This year, we had two entrants from Camberley in Surrey. I was very surprised and thought I recognised the names of the people taking part.

“It turns out that I used to work with their mother and father, and this was them making a nostalgic return to Hawick.”

Despite the fact that the latest run was just a few days ago, preparations have already begun for its 2018 follow-up.