Film: 1809

Sport | 1950 | Sound | B/W


Motor racing 1950's

'NEVER SAY DIE'. Shot of seated spectators, then men gathered round one of the stock cars. Cut to a mechanic putting tape across the headlight of a car, then another underneath a vehicle. Another shot of the crowd seated in the grandstand. The start of the stock car race is shown in which fifty-seven cars take part. Track is the Michigan State Fairground. The first lap is completed two cars abreast, then everyone for themselves. Action from the race is interspersed with shots of the crowd. Close-up of car bellowing steam from under the bonnet. Cars speed round a bend past a stationary vehicle that has broken down. The saloon cars are shown hurtling round the track. A pick-up truck helps to turn cars back onto their wheels after they have turned over on the track. Cars slow down to pass the cars that cannot be restarted. One of the cars is shown continuing the race despite a battered rear.

The two leading cars, driven by Tommy Thompson and Curtis Turner, are shown battling for the lead. As they both overtake a slower driver they collide and come to a halt. Both drivers manage to restart their cars and continue their rivalry. However, Turner is forced to make a pit-stop with smoke belching from underneath his bonnet. Although he is able to rejoin the race, Thompson wins the prize of a new car and five thousand dollars in cash. He is shown being awarded a trophy for his race victory and laughs in the direction of the camera.

'UPHILL FLYING'. Cars with trailers carrying motor bikes arrive and park at Modesta, California. Two riders prepare their bikes for the subsequent hill climb in this Californian canyon. The hill is so steep that spectators need to get to the top by using a rope. The first rider almost gets to the top before losing his bike from underneath him. The next rider is also unsuccessful. A number of equally unsuccessful attempts follow, some with bikes falling back down the hill. One rider suffers a leg injury when his bike falls on top of his legs. He is shown receiving medical attention. The eventual winner is shown reaching the top of the hill successfully.

'HANDLEBAR MARATHON'. Change of country to Bordeaux, France, where the torchlight parade sees the start of the cross-country Bordeaux to Paris race that starts at night. The cyclists move off between the crowd and are then shown cycling through the countryside. They pass through Chatellerault with cars at the head of the group before a light airplane is shown flying low by the riders as they continue through the countryside. The roads are heavy with spectators as the riders pedal furiously. Through Blois the crowds are shown in the streets with the cameramen in their cars. The riders are shown taking drinks from the back of lorries while still pedalling. They pass through Dourdan before entering the outskirts of Paris and the influx of spectators. Jeff Summers, the Belgian winner, is shown entering the stadium to reach the winning line. Next he is shown exhausted on the floor being given a drink.

'FATAL SPILL'. Long-track speedway racing from Sweden is featured in the next clip. The riders are shown tuning their bikes, including the rider who was to be killed on the track minutes later. Sweden's Prince Bertil is shown among the crowd. The riders are shown starting the race and subsequently speeding round the track. One of the riders crashes into the track fence after failing to negotiate a bend and is killed. One minute's silence is observed by the crowd in his honour. Officials and mechanics are shown standing in silence.

'SPEEDWAY GHOSTS'. A 1910 Cadillac is shown having its engine serviced by its driver in period costume. A 1913 Stutz is shown being hand cranked in an attempt to start the engine for the Vanderbilt Grand Prix Cup races. A 1914 Model-T Ford is shown, nicknamed 'the Spider'. The driver of a 1907 Benz is shown climbing into the driving seat. Before the race a parade of vintage vehicles is shown along with shots of the crowd in period costume. The twenty-five lap race starts with the 1910Cadillac the early leader. It is subsequently passed by a 1910 Simplex and a 1909 Mercedes. The cars are shown racing around the track. Apparently all the cars are owned by Lindy Bothwell. A 1907 Stern is shown speeding on the track in California/Nevada. The final lap sees the race won by Danny Ilks, the national midget car champion. He is shown waving to the crowd from his car as he unties his goggles.

'STOCK CAR CATACLYSM'. At Longhorn, Pennsylvania, a stock car race is blighted by a car crashing into the perimeter fence. The oncoming cars pile into the wreckage and one bursts into flames on the track. As the car blazes the oncoming cars continue to smash into the wreckage, although some are able to pass through a gap. Finally, the track is blocked by crashed cars and burning wreckage. Aides rush onto the track to free the drivers. Surprisingly, there are no fatalities as the fires are extinguished.

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