Film ID:
NEFA 21222



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An amateur film produced by George Cummin in which his character 'SAM' (based on the acronym for St. Andrews Motors) looks back at various motorcycle and car rallies that took place around the region in 1955: a veteran and vintage car rally from Whitley Bay to Newcastle upon Tyne, Weardale’s Arthur Emerson Memorial Trial motorbike scramble event, the first ever Catterick Garrison Hill Climb, North Yorkshire, featuring racer Angela Brown in an Aston Martin and the Belmont Senior Grand National Scramble at Belmont Park, Durham.

Title: Conway Films present

Title: A "Sam" Film sponsored by St Andrew's Motors Newcastle upon Tyne

Title: Photographed by Ted Davies, Frank Beaton, Geoff Henderson, Don Nichols. Edited and produced by George Cummin and entitled

Title: Sam Looks Back

Title: Variety of Veterans

The first film shows a veteran and vintage motorcycle and car rally starting at Whitley Bay. The camera pans right to left following a driver dressed in a sheepskin jacket as he manoeuvres his veteran vehicle. A collection of veteran and vintage cars park in front of the Rex Hotel on the promenade at Whitley Bay.

An old Peugeot driven by Dr Clayburn is given a push start by officials. A shot follows of a 1929 Brooklands Riley [Reg. No. WD 3648], and the owner of a small Austin Seven tries to start his engine using a crank handle.

General view of the imposing frontage of the Rex Hotel and to the left one of the distinctive electric street lamps, which can be seen along much of the sea front at Whitley Bay.

The official starter holds a Union Jack flag. The flag goes down to start the event. The first car away is driven by P H Turvey in a 1903 De Dion Bouton, which heads south along the promenade. The next car is a 1910 DFT driven by PC Gibbon. This is followed by a 1910 Renault driven by A C Sturman, and then by a 1911 Peugeot driven by Jack Lawson. All entrants head for North Shields, which is the first stop.

A number of entrants have engine problems which delay their start. Some officials and members of the public push start one of the vintage cars.

On open ground in North Shields a special course has been set up to test the skills of the drivers. A large crowd has gathered to watch the events. A row of steel drums has been set up as an obstacle course. A rider on his vintage motorcycle weaves in and out of the drums, followed by a motorcycle and sidecar, both creating smoke and dust.

Next, a 1924 Bentley is driven by Ken Kirkpatrick, its length creating problems along the course as the driver tries to successfully manoeuvre between the drums. A 1912 Austin driven by O R Clayburn has a much shorter wheelbase and negotiates the course with ease. A Wolsley Stellite is progressing well until the engine stalls. A Model 'T' Ford or 'Tin Lizzie' is next hitting a few of the drums along the obstacle course.

Wallsend is next on the route, followed by Newcastle upon Tyne, where the cars travel down St Mary's Place to park up behind St Thomas's Church. The first to arrive is P H Turvey's De Dion Bouton [Reg. No. BR 20]. Second is the 1904 De Dion Bouton [Reg. No. 494 C] driven by Mr Harrison. The DFT [Reg No. J 792] of PC Gibbon is next. Behind this a Renault is driven by A C Sturman. After the Renault, Jack Lawson makes his way into the car park in his Peugeot [Reg. No. X 6014], then O R Clayburn's Austin [Reg No 006 HN]. The gathered crowd watch the motorbikes arrive next, a wide range of marques from 1914 Triumphs and Rovers to 1928 Scotts.

The spectators watch as the cars parade around a ring which has been set up in the car park. First in the ring is a 1925 Morris Oxford [Reg. No. TN 2148]. A number of Austin Sevens, a Swift and a Bean are also in the parade.

A close-up follows of the engine of one of the cars, a 1903 De Dion Bouton, and also its competition number plate, 2. The next shot shows the very simple controls the driver has to hand on a veteran car dashboard.

Mr White, President of the Newcastle Motor Club, officiates by speaking through a public address system, the loudspeakers mounted on a nearby van. Another official, Brian Robinson, talks to Mr Harrison about the finer points of the tests he has to perform in his car.

The next test is to park the car in a 'garage'. The garage is a simple construction of four poles with flags. The cars have to move into the 'garage' forwards and in reverse. With some skill Mr Harrison performs the test. A close-up shows Jack Lawson studying the order of competitors. Mr Sturman attempts the garage test with his car. A 1913 Ford Wagonette is next with a full passenger quotient. A large 1928 Rolls-Royce attempts to master the garage, whereas the small Austin Seven nimbly nips in and out of the flagged posts.

Title: Wandering Round Wearhead

A general view of Corbett's Garage at Wearhead with a 'Start' banner in the forecourt facing the road, petrol pumps in the background, opens this sequence. This is the start of the Arthur Emerson Memorial Trial organised by Weardale Motorcycles.

A shot follows of three participants getting ready for the trial. Outside a large shed, a group of riders gather together.

The official starter scrutinises his clipboard as he prepares to send off the riders. He drops his hand and the first rider is off. Henderson, number 2 of 38 starters, is next. The competitors all have to complete the 18-mile circuit three times. There are 16 sections where there are observed tests making 48 in all. The riders exit the garage forecourt and join the main road.

The film cuts to a section where the riders go cross country on one of the observed sections. Frank Lee rides his machine over the wide expanses of Burnhope Moor. Flags are placed on the moor to guide the riders. As part of the test on this section, riders proceed down a small stream. Other riders race across the open moor towards Todd Sike.

Rider Butterfield from Consett negotiates a downward descent on a steep bank. Rider Frederick of Newcastle makes his way down the rocky stream, followed by Butterfield. The riders then negotiate an even muddier track around some old mine buildings and remains. Peter Armstrong makes his way through the rocky terrain and other hazards without needing feet contact with the ground, a clear run. Rider Harrison struggles to keep upright going through the same section.

The next hazard the riders face risks submerging both man and machine in deep mud. This section is called the 'Frog Pond' and riders struggle to make a clean exit through grass tussocks and mud. A high angle shot shows other riders negotiating this very wet and muddy section. General views show the rest of the field of riders struggling through this observed section.

At the finish riders make their way to the final check. Rider number 16, Ken Holloway, has collected the least number of penalty points, and wins the event.

The section ends with riders cleaning the mud from their motorbikes as best they can. Some attempt to scrape the dirt off, while others hose down their machines with water.

Title: Climbers at Catterick

A line of cars belonging to spectators are parked on a tree-lined road. The spectators have come to watch a hill climb competition at Catterick.

The competitors and their cars wait patiently for the start of the competition. One of the competitors pumps up his car's [Porsche Carrera?] tyres with a foot pump. A number of special cars are entered, which resemble more conventional racing cars.

The cars line up to take their turn on the hill climb. A marshal speeds off on a motorcycle to take up his position on the course. An electronic timing device is placed just in front of the wheel of the first car, a DKW driven by L G Wardle. Given the signal, he speeds off up the hill. An on board travelling shot gives a passenger’s eye view of the road over a stretch of the route. The DKW heads towards the finish banner across the road, a distance of half a mile in 60 seconds.

Driver Hutchinson in a Standard saloon [Reg. No. WHN 923] is next on the hill climb. Spectators on a windswept slope look on as another Standard speeds towards the finish.

Mrs Stewart in a Ford Zodiac [?] makes her way from the start to complete the climb, and L G Wardle drives a Porsche along the route, his car racing up the hill. As he negotiates a left bend, the car skids. Keith Schellenberg, who has three entries in the hill climb, consults a notebook. P G Warden puts his Vauxhall through its paces as he speeds up the hill at an angle, struggling to gain grip, then passes successfully under the finish barrier.

A Healey driven by E B Wadsworth takes a wide approach to the final bend with the, so far, fastest time of 49 seconds. D Wood speeds his Jaguar up the hill. Angela Brown, (daughter of Austin Martin manufacturer David Brown), drives her Aston Martin [Reg. No. 68 AMF] up the course. An MG waits to start, driven by Pamela Leatherland of Tees Motor Club. Men use large brooms to sweep the start area.

Angela Brown negotiates the hill in her Aston Martin, past the area where the course ambulance is parked.

Next, a change of location with a tricky hairpin bend where a Silverstone Healey slides its way round the corner driven by Goodman. Next an Austin Healey [No. 52] driven by Cooper approaches the hairpin.

Keith Schellenberg drives his Bentley up the hill course.

A brief shot shows a man painting a white line on the road.

The special hill-climbing cars are next. Keith Hall drives a Cooper to the top of the hill at an impressive speed. A Somerville Cooper, driven by driver Harrison, loses control out of the hairpin bend and also loses a component from his car, which is picked up from the track. A Cooper, driven by Phillips, slips and slides to the finish line and sets a new time to beat of 41.8 seconds. Driver Burgess drives the last of the Coopers up the hill. The last special, an ERA driven by James Berry and fitted with two pairs of rear wheels, finishes the competition.

Back at the start where most of the competition vehicles are parked, the officials confirm that Phillips in the Cooper special has the winning time of 41.8 seconds.

The film ends with shots of two men near the start section of the hill climb, and another two men drinking beer while standing next to one of the special cars

Title: Big Day at Belmont

The final film sequence is of the Belmont Senior Grand National Scramble at Belmont Park, near Durham.

The opening shot shows officials sorting through flags and other insignia. The official starter, Ken Holloway, has in his hand a Union Jack flag to start the race. Holloway is wearing a long white shirt but no trousers as he goes to his car, a Standard Vanguard. The starter discusses with his assistants where they need to be on the course.

Les Stockhill uses a PA system located in his control tower to keep spectators informed of the proceedings. Ken Holloway organises riders and machines at the start. The crowd watch in anticipation. Ken Holloway raises his flag, drops his arm and the field of 30 or so riders launch themselves into the scramble race.

The bikes come over the top of a ridge and then drop down into open grassland, creating clouds of dust. Another precipitous drop, with J B Smith on a BSA out in front. A long shot shows the rest of the field coming over the drop.

A high angle shot shows the riders speeding away in open grassland and through a gap in a hedge.

The field of entrants negotiate a right hand bend. The leader goes up a hill, then a change of shot as he speeds past the camera on a straight section. The leader J B Smith [No. 67] drops into a section which takes the riders through a quarry for a second time. He climbs up a bank to another steep drop. A long shot follows of the drop. The leader negotiates a dried-up area of bog land.

One of the course marshals is wearing a handkerchief across his nose and mouth to protect him from dust.

At a steep bank the rider Gilmore on a Norton suffers a puncture.

In a more open part of the course the riders come thick and fast. Going up a steep bank the riders create a lot of dust, with the wind now carrying the dust towards the spectators on a bankside.

Another hill and the leader, Smith, speeds up. At the finish, the chequered flag awaits the winner. Jeff Smith wins the race in 24 minutes 25 seconds. Johnny Giles is 4 seconds behind, and Gordon Jackson in third position. The rest of the field follows across the finishing line.

The winner and the two runners-up pose for the camera on their motorcycle machines. The final shot shows the crowd of spectators.

Title: The End