The next five years

 David Bell Racing in 2001

In 2001 the road going Honda was exchanged for an ex Les Shand 600 Steelframed Honda and we went racing again, only this time on the black stuff,

David Bell

Carnaby

winning his first Newcomers Race at Croft and racing at 14 meetings, including Donington, Mallory, Cadwell, Oulton Park, Croft, Knockhill, Carnaby and Elvington.

Cadwell Park

He steadily improved and with nine wins from twelve starts in the Novice Class the hated orange vest was discarded at the seventh meeting at Elvington.

David Bell at Cadwell Park

Jumping the Cadwell Mountain

His first road racing crash of note came the following weekend at Carnaby, when whilst leading the 600 race he high-sided on a runway white line and landed in Hull General with concussion.

David Bell racing at Elvington

Elvington

He asked the same question of  Susan and mechanic Stephen Graham for three hours all the way home,  “ Is the bike allright ?”.

David Bell on the Maountain at Cadwell Park

Cadwell ‘post orange vest’

A  2nd place at Cadwell in the final race of the season and the news that he was NE Centre 600 Champion and 4th overall in the NEMCRC Club Championship was an excellent end to a first season.


David Bell Racing in 2002

For 2002 the Steelframe Honda was retained with minor mods, the most significant being Pirelli tyres,

David Bell Donington Park 2002

David well up in the pack, Donington 2002

a good start was made first out at Donington with a second from grid 16,

David Bell in the wet at Croft 2002

Damp at Croft in March 2002

then came Croft with two wins and more good results at Mallory, Scarborough and East Fortune.

David Bell at the Spring Nationals 2002

Farm Bends, Scarborough Spring Nationals 2002

He then set off for his first Manx Grand Prix which was marred the first evening when mechanic Steve badly broke his leg and had to be replaced by Manx resident ‘Dibble’ an old dirt racing adversary and also a friend of the late great Steve Hislop, who imparted some special tips on the mountain course.

David Bell At speed

At speed at the Waggon & Horses Senior Manx GP 2002

Practice week was curtailed with two punctures, but still managed a respectable 112.02mph lap and quietly confident started the Newcomers Race on Bank Holiday Monday.

Four abreast at the Creg, Newcomers Manx GP 2002

Lying 5th on lap one he outbraked three other bikes into Creg ny Baa, no-one believed him in the paddock until the photograph appeared in the local paper the following night (above).

  He pressed on to finish third with a fastest final lap of 113.51mph and the quote to Manx Radio “ I never thought I would race the TT course, never mind finish third and stand on that famous podium, it’s a dream come true”.

David Bell on Newcomers Podium Manx GP2002

Newcomers Podium Manx GP2002 with Tom Clucas and Ray Porter.

 He followed this up with a tenth place in the delayed until Saturday, Senior MGP which was good enough to be awarded the Martin Smith Trophy as ‘Best Newcomer in the Senior’ a perfect ending to a nearly perfect fortnight.

The team (Susan & two Dibbles) talking to John McGuinness

After a sensible Gold Cup at Scarborough it was Croft for the final NEMCRC meeting, the ‘little boy’ ended up Club Open Champion and equal on points with Phil Stewart for the 600, but Phil had one more win and was declared Champion and well done to him ‘that’s racing’.

We managed to be NE Centre Open Champion and Centre 600 Champion for the second year

and were all very happy with our second year road racing.


David Bell Racing in 2003

Season 2003 started with our own brand new Honda CBR600 and a Yamaha R1 from Joe Joe’s Motorcycle Breakers of  Newcastle upon Tyne and at Croft scored two seconds on the big bike and a 3rd & 4th on the 600.  It was then off to Northern Ireland in May for the North West 200 and a creditable 12th on the 600 and second non-Suzuki home in 18th on the R1.

David Bell at the North West 200

NW 200 Northern Ireland, Ballysally Roundabout 2003

This was followed by a BSB weekend in wet HELL (Knockhill) starting with the rear spindle of the R1 coming loose which tends to be unnerving at speed and certainly blew our cool for the whole meeting.

Scarborough finish line on Joe Joe’s R1

After races at Croft, Scarborough and East Fortune we went again to the Manx GP and had a disaster,

Still going at Quarter Bridge, MGP

breaking down and restarting with botched up gear linkage to finish 72nd in the Junior,

David Bell MGP 2003

Manx GP Rhencullen

and stopping with a misfire in the Senior, but it was not all bad, we met Sir Norman Wisdom on the grid and had a few laughs.

David Bell with Norman Wisdom MGP 2003

We then went to Scarborough with mediocre results and with only the final 600 race at Croft giving a win, ended a generally disappointing season.

As a warm up for 2004 we took part in the British Winter Supermoto Championship at Croft on a VOR530 kindly provide by Kawasaki Newcastle and qualified a delighted ninth only to discover a head gasket leak had lost all the coolant and ended the weekend.

With only Joe Joe’s/SMP GSXR1000K3 to race this season it was fairly relaxing  and after a 2nd & 3rd at Croft, the happy couple married and enjoyed a Caribbean honeymoon,

David Bell at Olivers Mount

Scarborough Spring Nationals, Mere Hairpin on the M&S CBR600RR

then it was off to Olivers Mount in May for the Spring Nationals with a 4th the best finish.

Push start from Dibble watched by Susan, Ken and Brian Reid

On Saturday of TT week finished 14th in the Formula One on the Suzuki at over 119mph gaining a Bronze Replica,  the Production 1000 was run on Tuesday due to bad weather and was disappointing with only 17th  on the modified Suzuki and another Bronze.

Waving at the Camera at 190mph

Then came the first race on the CBR600RR Honda, kindly provided by M&S Motorcycles of Newcastle, , finishing 14th again in the Junior TT with a final lap of 117mph and a Silver Replica.

David Bell IOM TT 2004

May Hill, Ramsey in the Junior

Friday morning brought the Production 600 TT and in stock trim the little Honda managed 20th and another Silver Replica.

The best however was to be last, as in the Senior TT, the big race of the week we managed from start position 44 on the big gixer to finish ninth with a last lap speed of 120.89mph.

Bikes, Rider and Trophies in the paddock

Joe Burns (Joe Joe’s Motorcycle Breakers) our main sponsor was elated with five top twenty finishes from five starts and the ‘little boy’ achieved a lifetimes ambition to ride in the TT, finish in the top ten and break 120mph, thanks must also go to wife Susan, Dibble and Ken Barnet for impeccable pit stops.

WHAT A FORTNIGHT.

Olivers Mount Gold Cup

After reasonably good results at Croft and Scarborough it was back to Croft in August for the British Superstock Cup which supports the BSB Series and a creditable sixth was achieved on the Suzuki. Then we had a holiday to the Manx GP supporting Keith Taylor who won the 400class and Mike Minns, however the trip was marred by the crash while leading the Junior Race of Tommy Clucas who later died from his injuries,  Susan and David returned to the island two weeks later for a tremendous turnout at Tom’s funeral, he will be missed.

Penultimate meeting of the year was Scarborough finishing a best second in the Production Race followed by Croft and two wins to secure the NEMCRC Open Championship again, all in all a successful year.

After an engine rebuild and suspension set up by K-Tech we set upon 2005 with a bit lighter GSXR1000 fitted with ‘quickshifter’ and ‘slipper clutch’ managing four wins at Croft, followed by a trip to Kirkistown, Northern Ireland where the NEMCRC team missed out on the Inter-Club Trophy by just 5 points.

Olivers Mount, Spring Nationals, The Esses

Then Scarborough for two 4th places in very good company before sailing to the TT for a nightmare.

Junior TT, Glen Tramman on the M&S CBR600

After breaking my best time in practice the big Suzuki broke a clutch pushrod oil seal in the first race,

Formula One TT, Parliament Squre, Ramsey on the Joe Joe’s GSXR1000

then the little M&S Honda twice ran out of fuel and in the Senior the Suzuki broke a chain, but I must again thank my pit crew, Susan, Dibble and my brother Richard for their help, and the support of my back-up crew, seen here backing-up with the best.

my back-up crew

After winning three races at Croft in July, we went to Olivers Mount with a ZX6RR courtesy of  Kawasaki Newcastle as well as the Suzuki and had some good results in front of notables Archibald, Griffiths and Palmer and got a nice 30th birthday present gracing the cover of Bikesport News over the jumps at Scarborough.

Scarborough Gold Cup on the ZX6RR

Croft in August gave me 4 wins and another snapped chain,  Susan and I are now preparing ourselves for the arrival of baby Spencer, due in late December.

David Bell at Croft 2005

A win on the last ride on Joe Joe’s/SMP Suzuki at Croft in October

I would like to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thankyou to Joe (Joe Joe’s Motorcycle Breakers) and Roger (SMP SheetMetalProducts) both of Newcastle for their support with bikes and help in general over the last three years and helping me achieve my dream of racing at the TT.  I probably wouldn’t be racing today if it weren’t for you, so thank you very much, you are true gentlemen and enthusiasts, once again thank you very much.