Film ID:
NEFA 21217



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This amateur film documents the Belmont Jubilee Motorcycle Scramble at Belmont Park in Durham on Saturday 19 July 1953. The film was commissioned by St. Andrew's Motors (SAM) and produced by George Cummin with members of the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA).

Title: Scottish Amateur Film Festival 1954 - A Prize Winning film.

Title: Newcastle & District ACA and St Andrew's Motors have decided to:

Title: Leave it to Sam

Titles: to describe a Belmont Scramble pictured at risk to life and limb by Ted Davies and Don Nichols.

Title: The whole thing put together and dished up by George Cummin.

A telephone rings on a table. A man with his back to camera sits in a chair and identifies himself as 'Sam' as he answers the call. He is being invited to the Belmont motorcycle scramble. He makes some notes on a writing pad beside him, then puts the phone down.

Setting the scene, there's a general view of Durham Cathedral high on its promontory above the River Wear. Shots of the castle across Palace Green and a bridge follow.

A notice in a window advertises 'Newcastle and District Motor Club, National (Open) Motor-Cycle Scramble at Belmont Park, Belmont, On Sunday July 19th - 2.30pm'.

A motorcyclist sits astride an AJS motorcycle at a roadside kerb. Behind him on a telegraph pole an AA (Automobile Association) sign reads 'Belmont Race Course' accompanied by a directional arrow. A notice placed on a set of large gates reads 'Belmont Stadium Racing Sat 11am and Mon 2.30pm.’

The commentator explains that the main event is taking place in an area behind the stadium where the flag of the Newcastle & District Motor Club is flying, and cars and crowds are gathering.

First aid crews and police are on duty at the event. A double-decker bus acts as 'grandstand and office' for race officials.

A group of motorcyclists gather together for a practice session before the start. Shots follow of teams and riders getting ready for the day's racing. Number 15, Sammy Jobling, brings two bikes to the event. Two riders Bill Barratt, number 1, and Terry Cheshire, number 47, get ready with the Dot motorcycle team. Tommy Brown, number 4, prepares for the racing. Charlie Fairburn from the Newcastle & District Motor Club waves Matt Davies [?], number 13, on his way. A late arrival is Pete Myers, last year's Belmont winner. He drives over the rough ground in a car towing his bike on a trailer.

A race official speaks into a microphone on the double-decker bus seen earlier. An official is writing in a ledger on a table. Just in front, two time clocks, or stop watches, lie face up in a box.

Announcer Bill White on the bus announces the first race, and official starter Bill Dobson drops the Union Jack flag for the start of the race. The riders speed off into the distance.

On a hillside, a large crowd watch the racing.

The first race is nearly over, and the starter changes his Union Jack for a chequered flag. Rider Harris wins with Ryan second, and Kerr's Norton third.

George Fairburn uses a flag to shepherd spectators who are late into the right enclosures before the start of the next race.

At the end of the race, the Dutch team finish together, Peter Hodgson finishing third on a Francis-Barnett motorcycle.

Dave Hyde [?], number 20, wins his first race at Belmont and salutes to camera with his cup of tea.

Pete Myers wins the 500cc race on a Norton motorcycle.

Before the main event helpers assist with refreshments at the interval, which precedes the Belmont Jubilee Cup.

Competitor number 22 gives his Ariel motorcycle some final adjustments.

The next race is the Belmont Jubilee Grand National Scramble. The camera pans left to right and back again as the riders line up at the start, a field of 45 entrants. Assistants hold the riders’ bikes upright, while the riders go back to their mark. The starter drops the Union Jack and the riders dash forward and leap onto their machines. Pete Myers gets a very good start as they ride off across a dusty field. At the end of the first straight the riders turn a sharp left.

The riders race down a steep drop into a valley section, with Pete Myers leading the field.

A high angle shot shows the crowd in the foreground watching motorcyclists traversing a small gully. This section often sends rider and machine leaping into the air for a brief moment. After this they ride to the valley bottom. The riders go over a small hill, which the commentator describes as a 'pimple', down a dip, and then out of the valley area up a steep hill.

At the top of the hill there's a ridge next to a hedgerow, which means more jumping in the air for the riders. They then engage a left hand bend then back to the start for the next lap.

The spectators gathered enjoy the weather and the event.

The rest of the field pass through the start for their next lap. They negotiate the first drop again. A marshal at the top shows a green flag to let the other riders know that the way is clear. A closer shot follows of the field as they ride to clear the small gully.

Down in the valley a muddy section has to be negotiated by the riders, but the fine weather has dried most of it up. Away from this section, the riders negotiate the steep hill up to the ridge. As they ascend the hill a huge amount of dust is generated. General view of riders negotiating the hill up to the ridge.

At the top of the hill the riders come through jumping over the ridge as they did on the initial lap. A high angle shot shows the rest of the field approaching this section.

At this stage of the race, Pete Myers leads with Stan Holmes in second place. Dave Tye is in third place, Ted Ogden fourth and Harry Wood fifth.

Two St John's ambulance men watch the race beside the race track as the riders speed by.

Riders become airborne at a gully section of the race. Pete Myers jumps through, still in the lead. Up the long hill climb and to the ridge near the hedgerow, Dave Tye, (?) who was in second place, is now in the lead. Both leading riders, Pete Myers and Dave Tye, have pulled away from the rest of the field. More shots of the riders as they negotiate again the long hill climb to the ridge.

A rider leaps out of the gully section.

On a muddy section, a rider spins around as he fails to negotiate the mud. He attempts his approach again and succeeds to get through.

General view of the spectators and the steep hill section opposite. Riders pass through the straight section once more.

Spectators buy refreshments from a mobile canteen.

A slow motion shot shows the leaping riders flying gracefully through the air at the gully section. Motorcycle number 13 is abandoned at the side of the track as a casualty of a rugged race.

A high angle shot shows the riders going through the muddy section. Tubby Harris tries to avoid the mud by going through long grass. However, the grass fouls up the bike's chain and the drive mechanism breaks down. Ted Ogden is now in third place and Pete Myers is still in second place.

Lap scorer Roy Morris marks his score sheet as Dave Tye goes into his last lap. The next shot shows him going over the first 'drop' for the last time as does the rest of the field. At the finish, Dave Tye wins the Belmont Jubilee Scramble, Pete Myers is second and, after a gap with some lapped riders still on the course, Ted Ogden comes in third.

General views follow of the course as the competitors finish and the dust from the course finally settles.

Spectators start to leave the course. Others hang back to wait for the trophies to be presented to the winners by Mrs Bill White.

The film cuts to a shot of the motorcyclists standing behind a small table of trophies for the winners. Portrait shots follow of riders covered in grime and mud.

Dave Tye, number 10, the winner of the Belmont Scramble is awarded the Harrison Cup by Mrs. White for winning the 350cc class. He is also presented with the Davison Cup for the main event, the 1953 Belmont Jubilee Grand National Scramble.

The runner up, number 10, Pete Myers, comes forward. A rider from Ambleside takes home the Fairburn Cup as winner of the 500cc class. Mrs White shakes his hand as they pose for the camera.

The BSA motorcyclist, Ted Ogden, number 46, celebrates his third place with a cup of tea.

A final shot shows 'Sam's preferred tipple, as a bottle of beer is poured into a glass on a table. 'Sam', the commentator, lifts the glass and wishes the watching audience 'good health' then consumes the drink. The empty glass is placed back on the table.

Title: The End