This film is part of Free

The Ton-up Boys at Plymouth Speedway

Plymouth Speedway opens its track to the ton-up boys.

News 1962 7 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Plymouth Speedway promoter Bernard Curtiss offers the ton-up boys the chance to ride motorbikes at the track instead of on the roads where they have attracted complaints. The ton-up boys are speed merchants gaining a thrill from driving at speeds of one hundred miles an hour or a ton. The bikers who also become known as rockers and greasers like a tarmacked straight road and gather for leisure but to some they are a dangerous nuisance.

The ton-up boys express genuine passion and thrill for the danger of doing the ton. They represent a generation of disaffected youth and help create a lifestyle out of motorbike racing only to become perceived by society as loutish outcasts. Bernard Curtiss is an advertising executive who has just taken over as promoter at the Pennycross Speedway Stadium and this invitation to the ton-up boys is at the start of the 1962 season so perhaps he is looking to recruit new Speedway riders. To the ton-up boys, it is not as easy as it looks! Their mothers however have every confidence in them.