Two police officers in costume, riding their 'motorcycle chariots', Ben Hur style

Daredevil motorcycle chariot races!

NSW Police Carnival 1936
 Miguel Gonzalez

The NSW Police Carnival 1936 was anything but boring. It took place at the Sydney Showground and featured dogs jumping through hoops on fire, as well as two daredevil cops whose motorcycle stunt has captured the imagination of our Facebook followers. It has to be seen to be believed.

This clip starts like the typical newsreel report, with footage of the parade featuring the Senior Service, the 'kilties', the mounted men and 'the boys in blue, the long arm of the law'.

It's everything you'd expect from this type of event, but suddenly the action begins, and it's like a scene out of a movie... Ben-Hur, to be exact. Inspired by the 1925 silent film (the Charlton Heston remake was still 23 years away), two police officers recreate the famous chariot race scene ... with motorcycles! Note how each of them is controlling two motorbikes at once.

'Perhaps they've got more horse power than Ben Hur', says the narrator. More than three million people have seen this clip on social media.

Although this moment was almost impossible to top, the next act - starring the NSW canine heroes - was remarkable in its own way. From a 21st century perspective, it can be hard to watch as one imagines the stress experienced by the dog climbing the ladder. Both the motorcycle and dog acts would be unthinkable today, as society has changed its views on safety and animal rights.

The footage was included in Fox Movietone News on 7 March 1936. Courtesy of Cinesound Movietone Productions.

Motorcycle chariot race at the 1936 NSW Police Carnival, Movietone News, 7 March 1936.

Courtesy: Cinesound Movietone Productions. NFSA: 136981