“semi-factory” Honda 450s for Bob Hanson. Swede Savage
and Larry Darr were Experts while Odom would be a relatively
unknown rookie road race Junior competing at the premiere
American race event.
Walt Fulton III tells the ’67 story this way:
“Jimmy had never been on a road race bike before, but Bob
Hanson was convinced by Roxy to sign the kid. Now, Odom
was a real quick study. So the flag drops, we’re off and it’s
In 1976, Odom stepped away from fulltime racing
to begin raising a family. “I didn’t want to put my
wife through the traveling, the race life-style…but I
hung around with the race guys when it was conve-
nient locally.” After his oldest son was stricken with
leukemia, “A hundred and ten percent of our lives was
to wholly support him.”
Twenty-five years later, Mike Akatiff, an old scram-
bles buddy from San Jose, was planning a land speed
streamliner. Akatiff knew Odom’s past connection
with Suzuki and needed an intro for engines and
parts, etc. Before too long, Odom ended up being
brought on as pilot for the LSR attempt. The TopOil
Ack-Attack build took 14 months and Odom acquired the entire
requisite Bonneville unlimited licensing in one year, the first
racer to do that.
In 2004, Odom crashed big on the salt and chuckles about
the story. “It was my ego and a 2½ mph cross wind at mile
marker five. Once it starts to go bad, you’re committed at that
point and basically along for the ride.”
Instead of seeing the horizon, the rider’s vision quickly
becomes a blur of blue sky and clouds. Onboard telemetry
says the incident started at 316 mph and witness reports say
Ack-Attack was off the salt for a thousand feet.
“My first thought was the parachutes. They opened up and
pulled that big, long vehicle straight but I was up off the sur-
face. When it came down, it hit hard enough to pop out the
windscreen.” He laughs and says, “That was when I had some
concern because the design of the vehicle was going to make
it act like a shovel and bury me in salt at 200 mph. I slid 2½
miles off course.”
Odom was unhurt and, after the streamliner was mag-
na-fluxed, rebuilt, and re-skinned, the crew went back and
broke the record. The campaign always goes on.
“We came back in six months and broke the Bonneville Land
Speed record and the World Land Speed Record. It was not the
FIM sanctioned record, but we raised the 326 mph record to
329.993. I’m in the Bonneville Hall of Fame, no one can take
that away,” says Odom.
Does Jimmy still ride?
“I do a lot of trail riding and have been riding some AHRMA
events as well. I have a really bitchin’ Street Tracker. It’s a
modern 2008 Triumph motor. I call it a TT bike…‘tavern-to-
tavern.’ I ride that on the street. It’s still fun. I know now what
I can do and what I can’t do.”
He does a lot of riding in Nevada with a tight group of
friends a half-dozen times a year. “Everyone’s goal was to be
Number One but I probably did stuff that even a #1 guy didn’t
do. I won on a Norton, a Kawasaki, a Suzuki, a Bultaco, a
Triumph, a Yamaha, a Harley. I probably won more Pro races
on different brands than anyone else.” Not to mention the Bon-
“The motorcycling community is my second family. I might
not see them all the time but I can pick up the phone and talk
for hours. I’m very fortunate to have come up in that era. In my
67 years, I’ve had some great experiences. It was awesome.”
Seeing double—Odom leads Keith Mashburn at the San Jose mile in
1972, both on Yamahas, both missing the inside rail by mere inches.
Promo shot of Odom to advertise the Flat Track National at Ascot in 1972.