Film ID:
NEFA 21288



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This film compilation documents two sports events:  an automobile and motorcycle race meeting at the two-mile Charterhall circuit, near Greenlaw in Scotland, on 29th April 1956, which features Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart of the Edinburgh-based Ecurie Ecosse race team in D-type Jaguars; and the St Andrew’s Motorcycle Trial, which took place in Northumberland on a Sunday in October 1956, organised by the Newcastle and District Motor Club. The film was commissioned by St Andrew’s Motors (SAM) and produced by George Cummin and colleagues of the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA).

Title: Conway Films presents

Title: A “SAM” Film Sponsored by St. Andrew’s Motors, Newcastle upon Tyne

Title: It’s that SAM again!

The first part of this film documents a mixed car and motorbike meeting at the Charterhall circuit race track, probably taking place on 29th April 1956.  Spectators, motorbikes and car owners mill around in the car park area. Shot of Alex MacMillan's 'Bristol-Barb', registration LBU 349, a converted Mark II Cooper Bristol with a distinctive one-piece shell, which is parked in the Paddock.

Racing car No. 59 is being re-loaded onto a truck having suffered a technical problem before the race. Competitor No. 18 (a classic car - registration CES 574) is also parked in the Paddock, along with another driver checking over his car No. 58.

General view of the first race for cars under 1500cc, including one or two home made cars, known as “specials”. E. Harris Gilbert is racing in a car without a door. The British racing driver John Brian Naylor wins the race in a Maserati.

A mechanic is checking car No. 19, the 'Bristol-Barb', registration LBU 349 in the pits. A windscreen is cleaned on racing car No. 22 a Lotus Eleven, registration HGS 6, probably driven by JL Fraser.

A row of motorbikes set off from the starter line of another race. One bike fails to start initially. General views follow of bikes racing around the circuit, with rider Bob McIntyre leading on a small Norton 250cc. McIntyre is first past the finishing line.

A group of drivers discuss the next race.

Sports cars up to 2700cc race around the track in a 10-lap race. Suddenly there is a crash when a car leaves the track at Kames Curve. The driver J. C. Baines is killed in the accident. An Austin Healey driven by R. E. Evans is involved in the crash. Mechanics and race officials rush to deal with the crashed cars as other competitors continue to race on the circuit. Shots record first car No. 34 all smashed up, then both damaged cars involved in the crash. 

The 50cc class motorcycle race is underway. The winner of the race is A. Buchan on a Norton bike.

Back in the Paddock, the iconic Jaguar D-type cars employed by Ecurie Ecosse, a motor racing team from Scotland, are being unloaded from their distinctive transporter (pasted with a poster advert for ‘Top Gear’), ready for the next 10-lap race. The cars are heading for the race circuit grid.

A small boy is seated in racing car No. 61.

General views of the back straights and Tofts Turn bend of the circuit as the three Jaguar D-type cars race around well in the lead of the other cars. Racing driver Ninian Sanderson is first over the finish line.

A brief shot of the small child in a racing car (again) follows.

There’s a big line up of motorcycles for the 500cc class last race of 6 laps. One rider fails to start. The leader is John Hartnell McKintyre (who is the race winner). Along the back stretch, competitor No. 23’s motorbike breaks down and he leaves the track. He pushes his bike off the circuit and watches the rest of the race.

Competitor No. 59, J. N. Johnson, is pushed to the starting grid for the last car race, smiling at the camera. The race starts and includes the three Jaguar D-type cars employed by Ecurie Ecosse, one driven by Ron Flockhart. General views of the race from various points along the circuit follow. A crowd watch beside the track. Flockhart was the winner. [very distant shots of racing in this sequence]

Car No. 51 is towed away at the end of the racing day. A crowd of people surround the gleaming Jaguars. The commentary states that “they are looking at the car that subsequently won the 1956 Le Mans 24 Hours with Sanderson and Flockhart as drivers”. Close-up of the steering wheel of one of the Jaguars. The cars are then loaded back into their distinctive transporter coach ‘stable’. Car No. 23 is on a flat-bed trailer ready to go. All the spectators’ cars gradually drive away from Charterhall in one long line. 

The next event documented is the St Andrew’s Trial, which took place in Northumberland on a Sunday in October 1956, organised by the Newcastle and District Motor Club.

A line of cars, including the control cars, are parked along a road, the motorbike competitors collecting their numbers from the control car. Shot of a sign for the trial.

St Andrew’s Trial controller George Robinson stands in a field surrounded by cars and their drivers. He checks his watch, then gestures to a motorcycle competitor to start. Competitors leave at 30 second intervals. The bikes are heading to Dipton Woods, near Hexham, following the Roman road that leads to Hadrian’s Wall, to complete the first half at Simonburn in the Tynedale district, to the north of Hadrian’s Wall. The same route was followed in reverse on the return stretch.

Motorcyclists attempt a hill climb at a quarry over a steep and stony observed section. Competitor No. 7 gets stuck. Another competitor rides downhill and then onto another hill climb. Hardly any riders clear this tough section of the trial. A couple are perched on a hill looking down at the competitors. No. 70 tries to force his way over the shale. A small group of people are gathered on top of the quarry ridge to watch. Competitor No. 63 is helped with his bike after he fails to make the climb. He gets back on his bike to continue on the course.

A man sets up the” Observed Section” sign at Simonburn. Various shots follow of the motorcyclists tackling a section through a wood, dappled with sunlight. One rider comes off and does a back somersault. He is helped back onto his machine. Many of the competitors take a tumble on this section, which the commentator calls the “rock and roll section”. No. 76 battles up the climb, close to camera.

At the top of the wooded climb, a few men and women are relaxing in the sun. Some of the men have stretched out their shirts on a tree. Bikes of all kinds are parked by the wood.

Some riders, one with his top off, seem interested in motorbike No. 71, ridden by J. J. Hines. Another rider checks his fuel. George Robinson, the controller, speaks to some of the bikers.

The riders line up to ride downhill for the reverse section of the St Andrew’s Trial. Shots of the competitors in action, riding the course well. However, a couple of the riders come off their bikes quite spectacularly. No. 54 races downhill, followed by some of the other riders.

One of the motorcyclists fords a stream.

A crowd are gathered at the finish of the competition. Motorcyclists arrive back, including a moustachioed competitor called Gordon Blakeway from Stockton-on-Tees, the eventual winner, who chats to the controller. The competitor numbers are collected. Two men are working on a motorcycle engine with screwdrivers. The Weardale team win the team event prize. Motorcycles are loaded onto trailers. The competitors chat before setting off home. The commentator states that “ten didn’t make the complete trip” and that this film would be screened at the forthcoming annual ACU (Autocycle Union) Awards Dinner.

Title: The End