In his youth John Banks travelled widely with David and they became very good friends. David had many quirks that made him unusual and below are a couple of incidents that John remembers from his time on the road with him.
‘I reckon I travelled with David more than anybody. He showed me the ropes, ‘cause I hadn’t a clue. I was only 17 when I first travelled with him. He liked being with people. He liked to have somebody travelling with him. I wasn’t used to roughing it and I wouldn’t have known what to do. My parents had never taken me abroad, so it was all new to me. Devon was the only place I’d been to!
‘When we used to go from Belgium into France, we had carnets.’ - A carnet was a document that stated that they were carrying motorcycles and the customs officials, by all accounts, would often be very officious - ‘So, he said, “I aint doing the carnet.” So, I said, “Well, what are we going to do?” He looked at me and said, “Turn left, we’ll go through this farm, down this track, and we’ll come out the other end.” And we used to do that every time and never did get caught. He knew some things!’
On another occasion David made an impromptu stop on a trip home from racing abroad, which landed John ‘in the drink’. ‘One day we were driving back from a meeting with David’s Mercedes and trailer, and we were somewhere near Calais when he spotted a Mercedes in a scrap yard. He went and had a look at it and agreed a price and he said, “John, you drive this, and I’ll tow you.” So, we hooked up a rope and David leaves the scrap yard and turns on to the road and just as I start to turn the steering lock goes on and took me straight into a ditch. That didn’t bother David though, it just gave him another problem to solve!’