A DOUBLE helping this week with a pair of Northallerton & District Motor Club meetings of different disciplines at interesting venues in the locality.

After the hostilities of the Second World War ceased and despite rationing still being prevalent and the inevitable austerity, society was emerging, none more so than in motorsport and in particular, motorcycling.

Motor clubs were dusting off the cobwebs of years of inactivity and competitors, many of whom had served during the war, wanted a slice of action. Venues started to spring up and back in those pre-health and safety and less environmentally-conscious days, organising was a fairly simple process. Permission of the landowner was sought before applying to the local Auto Cycle Union (ACU) for a permit, send out regulations, advertise the event in the local and specialised press and away you went!

Northallerton and District Motor Club was one such organisation which was prevalent in the early 1950s and who organised mainly off-road events. Two such meetings were in the space of eight months of each other both in and around the town, namely a Grass Track in August 1952 followed by a Scramble in April 1953.

Grass Track racing was very popular in the region for many years and regularly saw some local Speedway aces take on other riders in the oval arena in four lap sprints of up to a dozen competitors. Also popular with spectators were the Sidecars as they wrestled their way around the quarter mile course, usually in the opposite direction to the solos.

The meeting in 1952 took place at the Show Field in Northallerton “by kind permission of Mr J Almond”. Some questions fired in the direction of my 89-year-old auntie (whom the programmes belong to and whose brother – #12 L Wade – was racing that day) told me the track was in the vicinity of the Bluestone Ground at the rear of County Hall, just off Racecourse Lane – the playing fields you look over when waiting for a southbound train at Northallerton railway station.

The programme doesn’t list the home towns of the competitors, just their affiliated clubs, but as well as my uncle Les listed above, notable names from the time included the Tate brothers from the Swainby area, George Dawkins who ran the motorcycle shop in Bedale for many years and the Stead brothers from Northallerton. Middlesbrough speedway stalwart Frank Hodgson and Thirsk garage proprietor Jack Moss were others in the entry list.

Scrambling was different to Grass Track and usually held on hilly or rolling land and although the eastern fringes of Northallerton do have some undulations, the location of the event in 1953 at Hailstone Moor wasn’t particularly conducive to either.

Again, the exact location isn’t defined but basic research would have the track at Bullamoor, somewhere between the top of Scholla Lane and Crosby Court.

The club acknowledged the permission of Messrs. L. Bramley, H. Hill, and O. Johnson so presumably these were the landowners.

Familiar names from the previous year’s aforementioned Grass Track were again in evidence such as George Dawkins, Alf Stead, Maurice Tate and Les Wade, whilst local ace Bert Hind along with Norman Crooks, later to become an established motorcycle dealer in Northallerton and Ken Saddington from Great Broughton, were others entered at the meeting.

There is a reference to Eric H Smithson, Printer and Stationer, Northallerton on the Scramble programme whilst the back page of the Grass Track programme invites readers to a Saturday Night Trial later in the month, starting from Zetland Street at 10pm, whatever that entailed. Sadly, no results are recorded for either meeting.