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Tyneside Vagabonds 1959 Cyclo-Cross

Cyclo-cross riders join hard-school marathon man “Geronimo Jim” Alder on a brutal race around the Shaftoe Crags, Northumberland.

Amateur film 1959 16 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


High spirits at the Ox Inn in Mitford as crowds gather for the start of a slightly quirky winter sporting spectacle, hosted by the Tyneside Vagabonds in 1959. The event pitted cyclo-cross riders against runners, including top British marathon man and brick layer “Geronimo Jim” Alder on a brutal 10 mile race across burn, moorland hills and peat bogs around the Shaftoe Crags in Northumberland. Mechanical tragedies abound at the end of this tough endurance test.

First across the finish line were cyclist Wesley Clayton of the Tyne Road Club (winner of the 1958 cyclo-cross event) and, on foot, Jim Alder of the Morpeth Harriers, Commonwealth Games marathon champion in 1966 and a world record holder. Also pictured is Tyne Velo veteran cyclist Bill Baty, winner of the Beaumont Trophy in 1958. The event was filmed by amateur Tyneside filmmaker, and friend of Bill Baty, Milton Newton, who recorded many of the popular cycling events in the north east during the 1950s and 60s.