1960 British Cyclocross Race: Old School, Hardcore, And Insane

Disclaimer: I know that you are probably at work and that you will likely be tempted to just watch this video without the sound on but DON’T DO IT! The narrator’s commentary makes up at least half of this video’s awesomeness. (I have a tool in my laboratory that measures such things.) You will miss amazing moments, like when the narrator describes one man as a referee for high-class football clubs and says this about him:

“And he goes out training for referee, he runs backwards down the road…he’s been run over twice.”

You also might pick up that, although the title of this video claims that it is from 1950, at two points during the short film the narrator contradicts that claim. At around 4:40 in he observes:

“That must be the first of the mountain bikes, early sixties.”

What he’s looking at is a road bike with straight bars, really the first of the hybrids. But these guys are doing so much running and falling down; it really doesn’t matter what type of bike they’re riding (some riders are even running single speeds)…especially during the swimming leg of this proto-cross race. There are a couple serious water crossings in the video, you see dudes just CHUCKING their bikes across the river, nearly hitting other riders in the process.

The narrator doesn’t hold back either, no filter on this guy. As a rider of above-average carriage rolls by, the narrator snarks:

“Track man, time trialist, he might be riding this to lose a bit-ah weight.”

This video is what the term “classic” is truly reserved for.

Comments

Jake - 10/27/10 - 1:25pm

No way guys would “chuck” their 2 or 3 thousand $ bike in a race today. Too cool of a video. Thanks for posting.

Ben - 10/27/10 - 2:45pm

Hey, but at 3:50 he was taking about the guy who had a kidney transplant. If I’m not crazy, I’m pretty certain he says “last year which was 1993″. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense…

Jake - 10/27/10 - 9:32pm

The narration of the video is not part of the video….or should I say, film. The narrator is watching the film and making comments in apparently 1994. Which would make sense.

Cor - 10/27/10 - 9:40pm

I totally heard 1993. WTF?

John - 10/27/10 - 10:49pm

The only thing that makes sense to me is that the comments are a voice over, done well after the fact – 1994 to be exact.
At first I was amazed that the guy that won had a kidney transplant the year before, but in retrospect, the kidney transplant
took place about 33 years AFTER the race. That’s my guess anyway.

Orin - 10/28/10 - 2:32am

So the commentary must have been done in 1994 when it was transferred to video. Looks like it was 8mm home cine film – you can hear the projector/whatever they used to transfer it to video running in the background.

Tim F - 10/28/10 - 3:02am

1993 wouldn’t be a problem. The video could have been made several years ago but just now posted online.

Chris - 10/28/10 - 7:23am

This is absolutely awesome. Real cyclocross with real obstacles rather than a man-made course in a park.

Regarding the mention of 1993 – I believe the commentary was recorded in the ’90s, but the footage is from 1960. So, several of the comments about people in the race concern what they did since the race, not just before.

il Bruce - 10/28/10 - 8:14am

RE: 1993.

Probably someone videoing a 1993 screening of the old film. The winner, Wes Clayton, died last year at 76.

John - 10/28/10 - 9:22am

It’s not that hard to figure out, the guy made the film in 1960, he recently copied the original film onto a modern format and did a voice over describing the action. Cool stuff!

Everett - 10/28/10 - 10:11am

I think what we’re watching is an over-dubbed narrator. It sounds like he was present at the race in the early 1960s and is, possibly sometime in the 1990s, narrating the race and explaining who each of th racers is and providing some “color” commentary. That’s why he switches decades, describing the race as taking place in the 60s, but describing the racers as “retired,” transplantees, etc.

Ronan - 10/28/10 - 11:17am

The Republic of Ireland is not in Britain. Sligo is in the Republic.

Just sayin’, ‘cos people round this way… they wouldn’t be too happy with that.

Mike - 10/28/10 - 12:16pm

Here’s what it sounds like to me after one play: the narrative was added many years after the film was shot. The narrator gives 1960 as the year of the race. Much of what he says refers to what’s happened to his mates since this event. I’m not English, but I’ve worked with a few & thought my ability to decipher their various accents was pretty good. Still, I missed a lot & need to run it a few more times!

Thanks so much for posting this!

ThomP - 10/28/10 - 10:59pm

Thanks Mike, I think you nailed it.

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