March 20 2012.

RE: THE DEGNER DEFECTION - E-mail from Chris Lees. 

Many thanks for the info, makes a great change to have the BBC put something on the radio about real bike racing from the past.

For further info for anyone interested I can fully recommend the book, STEALING SPEED by Mat Oxley its good enough to make a film.

For further personal interest you may be like to know that back in the late 60s early 70s I was the parts manager for HUXHAMS M/C in POOLE, DORSET.

We were one of the first SUZUKI dealers in the UK and our MD Bryan INGLE FINCH had a call from Suzuki in Croydon to ask if we were interested in buying all the old model stocks of spares,(M15/M30 K10/K12/T10 ETC/ETC.

So with the boss I went to Croydon and in the back yard of the site were 2 wartime prefabs stacked full of the parts ,they were so full that as the door was opened stuff just fell out. A deal was done for everything in the 2 units and next day I arrived with a furniture van and some helpers from the workshop and sales departments to start loading, by about midday we had about 75% done when we came across a wooden crate about 2Mx 1Mx 1/2M,it had lots of Japanese labels and Air freight labels on it but nothing to say what was inside, so out with a big tyre lever from the van and lift the lid , and inside,


You can imagine our excitement, we carried it to the back of the truck and was just loading it when one of the Suzuki managers spotted us, you would have thought we were stealing it , he went berserk saying that we could not take it and it could not be part of the deal as they "lost it" some years before and the factory kept sending telex and faxes wanting it back , apparently it had been sent for the TT some year before but was never used as the rider was injured in a previous race in the week.

I called the boss back at the shop and got him put through (I think) to Maurice Knight the head guy at Croydon and there was a compromise that we got the bike for display in the shop for 6 months and then it had to go back , we ended up it with for about a year and it was certainly a big draw for the bikers to see.

In the end it was collected and we never heard anymore, until several years later I met up with with one of the Suzuki UK guys who new the story and was told that yes the bike had been returned to JAPAN on the factory's orders,


What would it be worth these days.

Best regards

Chris Lees