Salt Addiction – Scott Guthrie

February 18, 2010
Rocky Robinson
Rocky Robinson
Contributing Editor| Articles|RSS

Having raced everything from Flat Track to Trials, Rocky Robinson now pilots streamliners at the Bonneville Salt Flats and currently holds the ultimate land speed record at 376 mph aboard the Ack Attack streamliner.

Stretch  the first conventional bike to record over 200 mph. According to Guthrie  the record still stands after 20 years.
According to Guthrie, 20 years later the record he set in 1990 on “Strech” is still holding.

Entering his first swim competition in 1958 at Lake Winona, Florida, Scott Guthrie outdistanced his competitors in the mile long event. In high school he made the State Finals in the 100 Yard Breaststroke. By 1962 he set a National record in the 220 yard relay and was an All American candidate his senior year in college. He became a Masters swimmer in 1978 and would later win multiple World and National championships in his division.

By now you’re probably wondering, “Yeah, but that’s swimming. Let’s talk about racing on land.” Okay, in 1993 he was also the Florida State Masters Champion in 1-mile Speed Walking.

As a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Guthrie is also a competitive marksmen. Remove the “camo” and the gun and give the lad a pair of dancing shoes and you’ll learn that from 1956-1962 he was active in competitive Ballroom Dancing and was the Florida State Chacha Champion in 1961.

Guthrie is towed up to speed by wife Ellen in their van. Guthrie reached 156 mph on the powerful Harley Davidson.
Guthie’s wife, Ellen, would tow him up to speed on his 156 mph Harley-Davidson.

But we’re here to talk about land speed racers and their addictions accomplishments.

Okay… At Bonneville Scott Guthrie personally set over 60 land speed records. Between Maxton and Goliad, the number exceeds 240. Scott Guthrie Racing as a team has set more than 380 LSR records in all. Just how bad is Mr. Guthrie’s speed addiction? In 2004 the shiny-shoed speed guru went 251 mph at the Texas Mile for his 60th birthday. Rather than huffing on candles and choking down cake, the Sultan of Speed was collecting timing slips and sipping beer with friends.

Not one to curtsy and sidestep into the sunset, when Guthrie hung up his leathers he decided to remain involved in the sport helping others to achieve their goals. His mentoring and bike prep skills are a proven combination: Team riders like Jason McVicar, who in 2006 set the Bonneville motorcycle open wheel absolute record at 253 mph, or team rider Wayne Pollack running 255 mph at Maxton (riding for Rich Yancy Racing) in 2005. Or more recently, team rider Shane Stubbs setting the record for the world’s fastest street bike at Loring, Maine on August 1st riding Guthrie’s wicked-fast Hayabusa nicknamed “The Hammer” at 265.135 mph!  (Official FIM world record for non-streamliner motorcycle remains 252.832 mph. – MCUSA ed)

Shane Stubbs: “I first met Scott in Texas at the Mile in Oct of last year. I’d been helping Terry Kizer with his (Scott’s) bikes so I’d already heard of him but this was our first meeting. I ran my Stock ’08 Hayabusa. My personnel attempts to break 200 wasn’t going so well, 197-198 about 6 times. Scott walks over and asks: “Do you want to go 200?” I would love too! “Would you

The core of Scott Guthrie Racing: Scott Guthrie  Shane Stubbs  Debbie Dross and Todd Dross.
Shane Stubbs at speed on THE HAMMER.
Scott Guthrie Racing crew: Scott Guthrie, Shane Stubbs, Debbie Dross and Todd Dross.(top). Shane Stubbs pushes The Hammer, a turbo’d Busa to over 265 mph. (below).

like to ride my gas bike?” I said sure… I’ve built turbo bikes and ridden past 200 many times before, just not at an “official” meet. I was excited at the opportunity. He had me sit on the bike to examine my tuck; he then instructed a couple of changes. My first pass on the gas bike I went 219 mph. To some this might be a big check mark in the box. It was to me but Scott had other plans. Everyone’s giving hugs and I’m so happy… then Scott leans over with that inspiring glance. “You know that’s only one mph off that bike’s record. Would you like another shot?” Really, do I even have to answer that? Next pass was 222 mph, upping my personnel best and beating the bike’s mile record. This is how our relationship started and every track we’ve been to together since we have been faster then anyone else.”

Loring: “I received a call one afternoon out of the blue. It was Scott, “Wayne’s (Pollack) been hurt and the Hammer needs a pilot for Loring.” Of course I said I would love to!”

On the ground in Loring: “Wow, what a beautiful sight! We make a few shake down runs to uncover huge handling issues at speed. The whole time Scott remains solid in the ideas and motivation department. We get to a point where we just can’t make any more speed—mind you our last passes were all 257-261 mph. He leans over as I was fixing to take to the track and says “Do Something Different,” I said I have… He said, “Well, Do Something Different Again!” I get 1/2 mile out. A cross wind and head shake pitches the bike to the left hard. I DID NOT want to loose this run. It was so good up until this point. Like a bell tone in a huge clock tower I hear that voice in the back of my head saying: DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT… We did and I pinned it. This would make our fastest run of the meet, 265.181 mph in less than favorable conditions.”

Joe Amo, current world’s fastest sit-on racer at 272 mph, recalls fondly: “Years ago Scott came up and interacted with me. His team was running a car streamliner with a similar powerplant as us. I was telling my wife, wow, Scott Guthrie is talking to us. He mentioned how excited he was that we were there. Cool, Scott was glad to see us… He then said he was glad because they knew where they would be able to get spare parts later in the week—after we blow up!”

60 year old birthday boy Scott Guthrie poses with the ride that took him to a new track record at Goliad  Texas August 4th  2004.
In 2004, at 60-years old, Scott Guthrie set a new track record at Goliad, Texas.

Jason McVicar: “I’d been running a Suzuki RG500 against one of Scott’s records for three years. I tried everything to beat Scott’s record and after dozens of passes and three years trying I finally bumped the record by 1 mph. Scott comes up and congratulates me. He later let me know it was one of his “soft” records! I thought, who the hell does this guy think he is!”

That started a great friendship and I consider Scott the main reason for my success in LSR. He’s a fierce competitor, great thinker, and generous to a fault. A great friend and mentor.

“The Devil’s in the details,” Jack Dolan would remind us. And if there ever were a stickler for details, it’s the Sultan of Speed.