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Coddenham/Ipswich: Former European motocross champion and James Bond stuntman Dave Bickers dies

21:18 07 July 2014

Dave Bickers in action at Hintlesham Hall in August 1967. Photo by Dave Kindred.

Dave Bickers in action at Hintlesham Hall in August 1967. Photo by Dave Kindred.

Dave Bickers, the Suffolk motocross legend who dominated the sport in the early 1960s, has died.

The former double European motocross champion, of Coddenham, died peacefully at Ipswich Hospital yesterday morning surrounded by his family after suffering a stroke. He was aged 76.

He leaves behind his wife Sylvia Bickers, 70, two children, Paul Bickers and Andrea Leach, and six grandchildren.

In a statement, his son Paul, 46, said: “It is with great sadness that I am announcing the passing of my father Dave Bickers.

“He left us peacefully (on the morning of July 6). All of his family were at his side. His daughter Andrea (made) it back from Brisbane, Australia, just in time to be with the rest of the family.

“The stroke was very severe and he could not win the fight against the damage caused. We plan to have a celebration of his life in the not too distant future.

“Details of this will follow when arrangements have been made.”

In the early 1960s, Bickers was one of the top motorcycle racers in the sport of scrambling, which eventually became more popularly known as motocross.

He won two consecutive 250cc European motocross championships in 1960 and 1961 for the Greeves factory racing team.

The European championship was considered to be the world championship at the time, as the sport of motocross had yet to develop outside of Europe.

In 1976, after retiring, Bickers started his own company – Bickers Action – manufacturing stunt equipment for the film industry.

Bickers himself doubled for James Bond actor Roger Moore in Octopussy in 1983. His first film as a stuntman was the 1979 classic Escape to Athena.

His son Paul now runs the family business, which is based in Coddenham, near Ipswich.

On Twitter, the Ipswich-based seven-time British speedway champion Scott Nicholls said: “Saddened to hear Dave Bickers has passed. He was a local bike legend (and) worldwide for that matter. Thoughts are with his loved ones.”

Roger Chaplin, president of the Sudbury Motor Cycle Club, paid tribute to a “true and wonderful gentleman, rider and a legend”.

He said: “It is with great sorrow and sadness to hear of the passing of Dave Bickers who is regarded as a legend by those of us in the motor cycle world and judging by the many tributes that I have seen also well known throughout the world.”

Trevor Brame, 64, of Stratford St Mary, worked as a warehouse manager for Mr Bickers for 27 years.

He said: “He was our Pelé in those days, and I never regretted working for him. He was very fair, generous and never forgot a favour.”

Former Ipswich Witches speedway rider John Louis said: “He was world class in his peak. He was in effect double world champion as the European championships later became the world championships.

“He will be sorely missed.”

Orwell Motorcycles Ltd said on their Facebook page: “Sad news today for the Orwell family. Dave Bickers passed away today following a stroke aged 76.

“Having had many happy years working for Dave as ‘Bickers Motorcycles’ we took over in 1983 to form Orwell Motorcycles and remained close friends. RIP Dave, our thoughts are with your family. Ray, Judi and all here at Orwell x.”

Four-time world speedway champion Barry Briggs, in his autobiography Wembley and Beyond: My Incredible Journey, described Mr Bickers as one of his two “heroes”, saying: “Dave Bickers was brilliant at motocross, he did it with heart.”

7 comments

  • I remember Dave so well he was a true gent and a fantastic rider I will never forget Glastonbury 1962 British 250 moto -cross grand prix he beat the world that day in front of 30,000 people and made us all so proud.RIP Dave.

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    DUKE

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

  • Although I followed Dave in the early 60s at Shubland park & Thebertham Hill climb, I met him later on at VMCC events at Ipswich in Suffolk UK ;the last in late July 2014 at a gathering at an airfield near Stebbins in Essex. Always a gentlemen easy to talk to ;a true champion. Kind regards to family. RIP Dave

    Report this comment

    Brian Wright

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • Sad news. I started motocross as a schoolboy & rode against his son. My dad always told me of stories of Dave, & the races he rode out to on his old Triumphs & Nortons to watch him compete in. So at the age of 13 yrs old & seeing a REAL hero walking around the pits I was in awe of this giant legend of a man. RIP Dave

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    Concerned of Suffolk

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

  • I too also used to go to Dave Bickers shop on Barrack Corner and look at the bikes there in my younger days in the 70`s (the bikes where fantastic back then) Also used to go and buy my riding gear and bike accessories at the shop later on. I wonder how many people Dave Bickers and the Revetts family unwittingly opened the door to the motorcycling world to so many people. In my case I am glad they did. Very fond memories of what seemed a better time and I still can picture it all now whenever I pass Barrack Corner and the old shop. So sad to hear of another local name that has now gone. Thank you Dave for the memories. Kind regards to Dave Bickers family.

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    Ander P

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

  • my wife started working for Dave in 1980 and has fond memories of Dave and his family he was a true gentleman who kept to his word such a sad time for all

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    kingsley

    Monday, July 7, 2014

  • many happy hours watching dave riding shrubland park, thanks for the memories,R.I.P.

    Report this comment

    david peters

    Monday, July 7, 2014

  • Every Saturday morning as me and my mates walked up town to go to the ABC for the Saturday morning pictures, we would always stop off to dream about the motorbikes at Revetts then on to Bickers. Bickers was my favorite because he had the small scramblers in there, we used to ooh and Ahhh at those for ages (even though we knew we could never have one!)So sad that a piece of my childhood and local history has gone. RIP Dave Bickers, thanks for the memories, god bless your family too. Richard Wisbey. Age 47 and a half! and still not got a scrambler.

    Report this comment

    richie w

    Monday, July 7, 2014

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