Film ID:
NEFA 21298

SAFE DRIVING RALLY

1960

Visitor Tabs

Description

This amateur film documents a 1960 safety rally run from Durham Light Infantry’s Brancepeth Camp in County Durham. Some of the competitors were also members of the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA). Vehicles are observed at various points on the rally route and marked on their adherence to the Highway Code. At the finish, cars are tested on reversing into an enclosed space. This film may have been a commission, produced by George Cummin with film units from Newcastle & District ACA.

A sign outside the entrance road to the Regimental Depot of the Durham Light Infantry (DLI), possibly at Brancepeth Camp off the A690, reads “Safe Driving Rally Entrance”. A two-tone Austin A40 Dorset car pulls into the road, attending the rally.

A policeman gives directions to a young boy at the rally, another policeman directing a passenger in a Volkswagen Beetle. A Morris Oxford car drives into the DLI depot for the rally. A group of policemen gather before the start of the rally.

The cars are lined up at the grounds of the DLI depot including the Austin, a policeman checking participants before the start. In the background, a man wanders amongst the cars with a cine camera. A Morris Oxford Traveller drives up to the starting point where two policemen are timing the intervals between individual cars setting off and carefully recording the times.  The next participant, No. 10, a sport car with the roof down, moves into position. The policeman presses his timer. A Morris Minor, competitor No. 13, now sets off from the starting point, a Mini behind it.

The cars follow an unrehearsed route, each driver expected to be on time along the route, so observers man checkpoints to record when competing cars pass by. A rally observer and his three children stand beside a road sign at a junction, one of the checkpoint stages along the driving route. The children snack whilst the father works.

At another junction, some of the rally cars wait to turn onto a main road, a Hillman Minx car out in front. A couple of rally observers are at another checkpoint, seated on a bench beside the road, marking participants’ timing at the checkpoint. Competitor No. 42 in a Wolseley waits at the junction.

Another competitor in a Ford Anglia drives through a village where two more rally observers wait to mark the drivers. More cars taking part in the rally drive through the village one after the other.

An observer waves down a Morris Minor, No. 30, into a layby. The driver uses a hand signal to rejoin the road. Another car, competitor No. 51 in a Nash Metropolitan, is pulled over and the same routine is followed.

Three observers are standing beside a lamp post at another junction as rally cars drive up, including two Triumph Heralds. Group portrait of another three rally observers standing with a young boy.

The cars begin to return to the DLI Regimental Depot to take part in the second part of the safe driving rally. Blocks mark out courses through which the cars must drive. The skills of the Morris Minor driver are tested on their accuracy during a manoeuvre - reversing into a parking space. 

People hang around beside a wall watching family and friends taking part in the driving tests. The Nash Metropolitan, No. 51, is put through its paces.

A large number of spectators are watching from outside the NAAFI canteen. An Austin Devon attempts a parking test. A policeman marks him on the accuracy of the parking. Two policemen measure the distance between the car wheels of competitor No. 47, a Ford Anglia. The driver is instructed on the test, which he goes on to complete. A policeman adjusts the block markers and a car drives through the course. The policeman then measures the distance of the wheel from the block markers. The driver of a Morris Minor is instructed on a ‘stopping’ test. The officer then measures the distance between front bumper and marker.

The DLI Regimental Depot is full of all the competitors’ cars. At a display board, the police road safety officers are writing up the scores of each competitor. People queue at a catering truck. Two couples, the women in 50s frocks, lounge on the grass with a toddler.

A table at the event displays the many trophies and prizes such as clocks and a cutlery set. Close-up of some of the prizes. A man announces the winners at a microphone set up for the awards presentations, the Mayor beside him. Shot of the competitors. The prizes are awarded by the Mayor. The crowd watch as they happily collect their awards. The Mayor makes a speech. The film closes with a shot of the row of cars parked in the grounds of the Regimental Depot of the Durham Light Infantry.