Super 8 Stories: The North West 200



Portrush, Portstewart




17 October 2004 (first transmission)


04min 21sec




Super 8





BBC NI, Colin Sittlington, Doubleband Films, Fred Cooper, Stanley McIlreavy

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C Sittlington, Doubleband, F Cooper, S McIlreavy

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Footage from three local film makers (Stanley McIlreavy, Colin Sittlington and Fred Cooper) are combined to show the thrill of local road racing at the annual North West 200 during the 1960s. Stanley and Colin both share their memories of following the sport as spectators while ex-rider Richard Creight tells us of his experience of riding the circuit. This clip appeared in Series 2, Programme 3 of Super 8 Stories.


Stanley McIlreavy first took up an interest in cine films after a visit to the Bolex movie camera factory in Switzerland. He was ideally placed to take up the hobby, working as he did in a photographic retail shop in Belfast and eventually owned, as he puts it, “nearly every camera on the market!” Stanley became heavily involved in his hobby becoming Secretary of the CPA Cine Society but didn’t make the transition to video whenever it became the dominant format, preferring instead to concentrate on stills photography. Originally from England, Colin Sittlington came to Northern Ireland, married a local girl and has remained here ever since. Recalling the beginning of his film-making hobby he recounts, “My mother bought me all the equipment for my nineteenth birthday prior to me coming to Northern Ireland to join the RUC. It was an 8mm AGFA camera which I then traded in for a Eumig Super 8”. Colin has found his films to still be of worth today. “I got them all transferred to video, though I still have my old camera and projector. I converted them myself and added appropriate sixties music. My grown up children and grandchildren have copies of these video conversions and they enjoy seeing themselves and Nana and Gramps on TV. As I said at the time of my interview for ‘Super 8 Stories’, if my house was on fire the first thing I would go for would be my 8mm movie box. I have loads of film – 40 years ago and more – my courtship, my wedding, children growing up, family holidays, Butlins and much, much more – all priceless!”. At the time of making his movies Fred Cooper worked with the Ulster Transport Association in their local goods depot and also worked for a time in local road haulage. He first became interested in cine film after buying a magazine called Amateur Cine World. After reading the magazine he spotted an advertisement which said, “Why not shoot your children before they grow up?” This was an advertisement for a movie camera and Fred bought his first camera shortly after this. Fred worked with a Sekonic Standard 8mm camera before moving onto an Elmo Super 8 Sound camera. He was a member of the North Down Movie Makers camera club but gave up on his hobby when video cameras took over – “I didn’t have the same enthusiasm or interest in video or other modern-day recording formats as I did for cine/movie filming/recording”. As well as Super 8 Stories, Fred has also been happy for his films to be used for other BBC programmes – “In the recent past, some my vast collection of cine film (both Standard 8mm and Super 8) has been used by the BBC (Producer, the late Mr David Dillon) and these include ‘Farewell the Derry Road’, ‘The Clanrye Connection’ and ‘The Day We Went to Bangor’”. Fred has fond memories of his movie making days and of his films, which he still watches often. “Yes, many happy memories. It was an exciting event setting up the screen and preparing the projector for the showing of my films to friends and family. There were plenty of family ‘get-togethers’. It gives me great satisfaction to look back at material I recorded on cine. I can look back at a way of life which is history and is now, sorrowfully, only committed to my memory”. The North West 200 is a motorcycle race meeting held each May in Northern Ireland. The course, made up of public roads running between the towns of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush (the Triangle), is one of the fastest in the world, with speeds in excess of 200 mph (320 km/h).

Shot List

Scenes both outside and inside Barry's Amusements in Portrush. Various scenes of motorbike road racing cut with views of spectators by roadside making notes. Injured driver being helped away from the road by First Aid. Lots of brief views of racing both in countryside and from within towns.


Narrator - Maire Jones; Camera - Michael Quinn; Sound - David Kilpatrick, Kevin McCarthy; Music Consultants - Jim Meredith, Ralph McLean; Production Accountant - Anne Hegarty; Production Assistant - Tammy Moore; Dubbing - One Zero Zero; Online Editor - Alan Perry; Researcher - Ronan Feely; Archivist - Evan Marshall; Assistant Producer - Jenny Waugh; Executive Producers - Deirdre Devlin, Michael Hewitt; Editor - Greg Darby; Producer - Diarmuid Lavery; Director - Brian Henry Martin



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