Film ID:
NEFA 21387



Visitor Tabs


Compilation of amateur footage of various motorcycle events in the north east in the 1950s and a test promotion for Dot motorcycles at St Andrew’s Motors, Newcastle upon Tyne. The film may be outtakes, or a rough cut for a film. The work was a commission by St. Andrew’s Motors (SAM) and produced by amateur filmmaker George Cummin (Conway Films), with assistance from film units at the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA). Includes footage of speed trials on a beach, believed to be the Redcar to Coatham stretch on the Cleveland coast. Most of the motorcycle events are fully recorded in other film productions in the Newcastle & District ACA collection. 

Amateur filmmaker George Cummin records his scripted commentary ‘live’ in a studio at Brent Laboratories, North London.

The first section features highlights from the 1953 Belmont Jubilee Motorcycle Scramble at Belmont Park in Durham (?).

Again, George Cummin is pictured at a microphone in a studio at Brent Laboratories, North London. He checks his watch after recording his piece.

The next section features highlights of motorcycle speed trials on a long stretch of flat sands, believed to be the beach between Redcar and Coatham. A starter flags off rows of competitors on the beach, poles in the sand marking the course. The riders race up and down the beach in a series of laps. Spectators watch from the seafront promenade and the edge of the beach. One of the races includes motorbikes with sidecars. A small flag of sponsor Avon Tyres is stuck in the sand. After each race, the winner poses for a portrait on his motorbike, No. 42, 16 and 4 all recorded as winners. After the speed trials, the crowds gather at the shoreline as the tide comes in.

Next, there is footage from a Travers Trophy cross-country motorcycle trial event (also known as Travelers Trophy) from St John’s Chapel, Weardale, the riders tackling a series of uphill observed sections, scrambling up rocky and muddy gullies. Competitors also ford a burn as part of the trials.

The next sequence features motorcycle race highlights from a mixed car and motorbike meeting at the Charterhall circuit racetrack, probably taking place on 29th April 1956. Footage includes a brief shot of the double-decker transporters for the Edinburgh-based Ecurie Ecosse race team in D-type Jaguars, and visitors strolling around show tents. There are various sequences of motorcycle racing around the circuit. 

George Cummin is at his microphone in a studio at Brent Laboratories, North London, when he is handed a note. He reaches for his raincoat and wellingtons.

Footage follows of motorcycle speed trials along a beach, probably between Redcar and Coatham. The races include motorbike and sidecar trials, as well as individual bikes. Includes shots of the crowd [out of focus].

The following sequence opens with a general view of a Newcastle street, probably Gallowgate. A promotion follows for motorbikes for sale at the showroom for St Andrew’s Motors. A man presents some of the British Dot motorcycles for sale at the shop, pointing over to some of the latest models [out of focus]. He sits on a bike and displays the price tag - £201/17/9 incl. Pt. There’s a close-up of another price tag, the bike at £127/15/7 incl. Pt. A Vincent motorcycle has the price tag £290.8.0.

A man wheels a bicycle with a customised back wheel into frame, parking it kerbside on a back street. A sign next to the bike reads: “Latest Competition Model. £98 – 15/6 on offer”.

The final part in this compilation features highlights from another motorcycle trial event, including gathering at the start of the trial, a close-up of the wheels and boots of contestant No. 61, a competitor surrounded by a group of men and boys, a female observer chatting to competitor no. 92, and a boy examining a motorcycle engine. The competitors then set off on a cross-country race across rough terrain, with observed sections pictured. Motorcyclists check over their machines. A filmmaker quickly gets off the course as bikes begin one section. This footage may record part of the 13th Inter-Centre Trial for motorcycles, starting from Alston in Cumbria on 24th October 1954.

Title: The End. ACA