Along with people he had known from his past, David always seemed to be happy with other motorcyclists. Clive Noy had ridden motorcycles in motocross and speedway, and a friend of his, Dick Todd, who was also a very keen motorcyclist, impressed David when he did some work for Clive. Dick told me: ‘David knew that anyone who was any good with motorbikes could get on in the film industry. He never interviewed anyone but when you worked with him, he knew what you were capable of. He looked for people who were clever but also efficient because you have to work quickly in the film business.
‘I lived near Clive at the time, and I was with him one day and he asked me to make a rig up for a car, and David, who was there, called me ‘Clever Dick’. I thought he was taking the mickey, but he weren’t.’ David was obviously impressed as he invited Dick to join him working on the Bond film Octopussy in 1983.
Dick has many memories of working with David and here he shares a couple. The first illustrates both his will to recover things and his honesty: ‘We were at Pinewood (film studios) one day, and David couldn’t pass a skip without taking a look inside. So, he rifles through this skip and finds an old guillotine. So, he asks the nearest bloke, who just happens to be walking by, “How much for the guillotine, mate?” and the guy says, “It’s been thrown out so you can have it.” But he reached into his pocket and said, “Here’s fifty quid. I’ll take it.” He would never take anything without paying for it.’
This second story reflects a mischievous side to his character: ‘We were over at North Weald airfield one day doing a commercial for Ford. Dave was in this big 4X4 GMC, which we referred to as a ´Jimmy’. It was lunchtime and he said, “Let’s go and get some grub.” So, Ray Purkis got in the seat of the Jimmy, and I got in this old 2CV runabout we had. So, I’m driving along the airfield and he came up behind me, right up to the bumper and starts pushing me. Well, we pass 70 mph, then eighty and a hundred, and he ends up pushing me along at 120 mph in a 2CV! I daren’t turn the steering wheel. He was always doing daft things like that!’