The First 25 Years

David Bell motorcycle racing at Swanage in 1982A Fathers Tale

Once upon a time in 1975 there was a baby born in Shiney Row, Co. Durham who grew up to like bikes, anything with two wheels was fair game, but in 1982 on holiday at Swanage in Dorset, everything changed, aged six he had his first ride on a petrol powered machine (left) and fell in love.

He had followed Motor Cycle sport for many years with family outings to Olivers Mount, Croft, East Fortune, Hawkstone Park, Foxhills and obscure scrambling events, some no longer raced, like Boltby near Thirsk, Bassenthwaite and Bootle in Cumbria, Nantwich and many others, and is pictured right in 1985 on holiday in Crete (possibly the shape of things to come ?)

1985 on holiday in Crete

His favourite rider was Greg Hanson, whom he met at a Championship meeting at Butsfield near Satley, (another venue casualty) Greg gave him his leathers (which the boy still treasures) after he won the British 125 Championship at Canada Heights, Kent in 1986 (pictured below).

David Bell at Canada Hights 1986Canada Heights 1986

This was followed by devouring any motor-bike based books, magazines and the Motor Cycle News, which was then a bike paper, a far cry from it’s fashion based present form.

On Christmas Day 1986 Santa Claus left the 11 year old a Honda CR80 and his elder brother a Suzuki RM125 and they played happily at Carlton Bank, Warden Law or any available muck, until the Suzuki fell ill and the brother grew tired of fixing it and retired, to concentrate on his football.

Bell Brothers Christmas 1986Christmas morning 1986, the garage

When the Honda was stolen and replaced by a Montesa 250 Trials, he rode it like a ‘Crosser’ and did the exact opposite to his brother and gave up a promising soccer career to concentrate on MotoCross, he is pictured below in his first race at Newfield aged 13 on a Kawasaki KX100.

David Bell first ever race 1989First ever race, Newfield near Willington, Co. Durham

After a promising youth career, several Honda’s and many wins, he progressed to senior MotoCross reaching ‘A’ Class status and is pictured below competing on a CR250 in a National event at Brampton in 1996.

David Bell racing at Brampton 1995Brampton, Cumbria 1996

and holding an inquest outside the ‘P***van’ with onlookers, following another ‘National’ at Witton Castle in 97’ the 6’1” little boy is pictured rear view in white ‘T’ shirt and cap. He qualified in 1998 for a British Championship event at Kingsteignton in Devon and was doing quite well until he got a stone in the eye, which is not the best prep for dirt racing and we made an early trek home.

Witton Castle, Co.Durham 1998

The same year he and nineteen other friends invested £50 each and formed the Falcon Motocross Club (still operating) and designed and built a track near Rowley that has hosted British Championship events, the boy with Kyle Deswert and Steve Airey can be seen below with the virgin field.

David Bell at Longedge‘In the beginning’ Longedge Motoparc

Throughout his career he has only had one other hero, ‘Fast’ Freddie Spencer, whose racing number was nineteen (perhaps you can spot a link in future pictures ?) they met (below) at the Honda 50th Anniversary of the TT, can you guess what he named his son (born 2006).

Freddie Spencer and David Bell at the IOM TT(Fast) Freddie Spencer with David at the IOM TT

In 1999 he decided to hang up his muck racing duds and take to the roads on a Honda CBR600 (pictured below in back garden)

David Bell changes from dirt to tarmac  and takes up motorcycle road racingThe change over 1999

which he did for a year until the racing bug bit again and (excuse the pun) a crash course was taken with the Ron Haslam Race School at Donington his tutor being Steve Plater.

David Bell at the Haslam Motorcycle Race School Donnington ParkDavid Bell With Steve Plater at Donington 2000