Audience thrilled as Dave Degens’ anecdotes flow


Despite the early July weekend being one of the busiest in the classic bike calendar, Julie Diplock of Elk Promotions managed to stage another superb Southern Classic bike show at the showground in Ardingly, Sussex, writes Ian Kerr.

A few brief showers did not deter too many from attending the usual mix of a classic show, autojumble and Q & A with a classic biking celebrity, ably hosted by former Classic Bike editor Brian Crichton.

Dave Degens took centre stage in the packed Stockmans Building to tell the assembled audience of his work with Honda, both in the UK and in France with the Japauto endurance team.

As the man behind the Dresda brand and, according to many, the man responsible for the whole café racer scene in the Sixties, his dialogue this time was mainly about his time working with the Japanese giant, although as you might imagine thanks to the question and answer session many other facets of his illustrious career were uncovered.

A Dresda-built Honda 750/4, complete with the de rigueur white, yellow and green paint scheme usually seen on the Dresda Hondas of the time. The seats behind were full when Degens’ talk was in full flow. PHOTOS: IAN KERR

The event saw him just short of his 80th birthday at the end of the month, but with a thriving business still producing Dresda frames and goodies, not to mention Triumph engine parts, and with a book to complete, the pace of life remains fast.

Born in Whitton, near Twickenham, in 1939, the eldest of five children, to an engineering father who was to encourage and support his racing activities, he was to rise to fame not only as a racer who won several times at Barcelona, but also as a development engineer.

Dave Degens brings motorcycle history to life.

Having left school aged 16, much of his engineering expertise was gained while working for his father, who insisted he spent time with contractors learning the art of chrome plating, casting, and other skills, giving him a grounding in all aspects of engineering to build on the knowledge gained from his parent.

Read more and view more images in the August 2019 issue of OBM – on sale now!

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