Dave King ‘Erst­while racer’

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT - Story Ray Kinch

I met Dave King through a fel­low Bridge­stone en­thu­si­ast Bob Ed­wards. Dave had been help­ing Bob with restora­tion of his Bridge­stone mo­tor­cy­cles. Dave would of­ten tell us of his pre­vi­ous road rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, and the more I got to know Dave it oc­curred to me that I should put the story in words.

Dave was born in Mel­bourne in 1948, and later at­tended New­ing­ton Col­lege in Syd­ney. Upon leav­ing school he trained as an Ar­chi­tec­tural Draughts­man, but it was not long be­fore he had a change of ca­reer around 1969 when he was em­ployed by Ben­nett Honda in For­ti­tude Val­ley, Bris­bane as a Spare Parts sales­man. A gen­tle­man named Max James used to leave a CR93 Fac­tory Honda in the show­room be­tween events, and this piqued Dave’s in­ter­est and led to an in­ter­est in road rac­ing. He then de­cided to join the Bris­bane Club Mo­tor­cy­cle Sports­men. His first race in 1969 was on a mate’s A1R 250 Kawasaki at Surfers Par­adise. Dave even­tu­ally ac­quired a CB92 Honda twin which had been built up from a bas­ket case. “It had fac­tory pipes and pis­tons etc.,” says Dave. “I man­aged 93 mph at Bathurst in 1970 – wow! My flat­mate Ge­off Howie helped me build it; Ge­off later be­came a me­chanic for Phil Read in the UK” Later Dave be­came a trav­eller for Ben­nett and Wood un­til the mid 1970s and tells me he used to call in on a shop in Vic­to­ria Road Gladesville. ‘I used to call and try to sell them stuff, I be­lieve this was a Jim Scays­brook and Blair Har­ley part­ner­ship’. Dave’s sec­ond bike was a T20 Suzuki which was re­built with help from Alan Hales and Kevin Cass. “The T20 got me to B Grade with some spon­sor­ship from Karl and Willi Praml Mo­tor­cy­cles at Oak Flat”. Upon reach­ing B Grade Dave’s next bike was a TZ350C, and for a time he set some ‘grade’ records on the Yamaha at Ama­roo Park, Oran Park and Surfers Par­adise. Dave later com­peted in 2 Castrol Six Hour events; in 1974 on a T250 Suzuki with Rod­ney Wal­ters as co-rider, and in 1978 on a Honda CB750F with co-rider Glenn Mac­quarie, fin­ish­ing 22nd out­right and 8th in the 750 class. Un­for­tu­nately Glenn was killed 12 months later in a road ac­ci­dent. Dave has also tried his hand at side­car rac­ing. He showed me a photo, ‘This is me swing­ing for fel­low Manly War­ringah club mem­ber, Peter Cut­ting at the top of the Bi­tu­pave Hill at Ama­roo Park 1974. We com­peted at Bathurst Easter races that year. The 750 Honda en­gine blew up af­ter 1 lap. I was very re­lieved af­ter that, it was in­cred­i­bly hard work.’ In 1980 Dave was rac­ing at Bathurst on his TZ350F and crashed when the en­gine broke a con rod. This was not the only break; Dave suf­fered three bro­ken ver­te­brae in his neck and two in his lower back as well as a smashed left an­kle. The re­sult was a 9 month stint in Royal North Shore Hos­pi­tal. This brought Dave’s road rac­ing ca­reer to an end but not his in­ter­est in mo­tor­cy­cles. Dur­ing the ‘eight­ies and ‘nineties he was still trail bike rid­ing around Nowra although a lit­tle more care­fully with mem­o­ries of his pre­vi­ous in­juries. To quote Dave, “Many times I get the urge to buy an old bike and go back to do some his­toric rac­ing, what cures me un­for­tu­nately are the mem­o­ries of trail bike rid­ing and fall­ing off with a numb feel­ing down my spine.’ He went on to own and op­er­ate a Honda MPE deal­er­ship for 20 years in South Nowra be­fore re­tire­ment. Dave never lost his in­ter­est in small en­gines and to this day is a dab hand at restor­ing them. He is mar­ried to Lynette and along with three step­sons and seven grand­chil­dren is kept quite busy around Nowra. Since re­tire­ment he has taken up a new hobby – fly­ing. To quote Dave, ‘I had had mod­els when I was younger but it was now time for some­thing big­ger.’ In 1990 Dave ob­tained his Ul­tra­light pilot’s cer­tifi­cate, since that time he has built four planes, three from kits and one from plans. He cur­rently owns two of these air­craft, the ‘plans built’ Hum­mel­bird and a RANS S19 Ven­terra and has 1,600 hours in his log­books. The Hum­mel­bird is the only air­wor­thy ex­am­ple in Aus­tralia and the RANS Ven­terra is reg­is­tered as a light sport air­craft. Both these planes have Ro­tax mo­tors; the Hum­mel­bird a 359cc twin cylin­der 2 stroke of 52 HP and the RANS a 100HP 912S 4 Stroke. They run on 95 and 98 ULP mak­ing them less ex­pen­sive to run and main­tain. Based out of Hol­brook, Dave and Lynette have flown around South­ern NSW and Vic­to­ria and as far as William Creek in SA and Glad­stone in QLD. Although Dave’s rac­ing ca­reer was cut short, with his tenac­ity who knows where he may have pro­gressed to with­out that fate­ful crash in Bathurst in 1980.

Dave with his S19 Ven­terra. ABOVE LEFT At Oran Park on the TZ350F. ABOVE RIGHT Early days at Lake­side on the 125 Honda.

In the chair with Peter Cut­ting at Oran Park.

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