David Bull passed away last Saturday night. David was 59 years old and a father of two. Since 1995 David Bull Publishing published over 100 books, many familiar to motorcycle race enthusiasts. He is survived by his children, a brother, a sister and a step-sister, countless friends the world over.
A not-nearly-complete list of books Bull published on motorcycles include:
Troy Bayliss, A Faster Way, Troy Bayliss, author
Ben Spies, Talking It To The Next Level, Larry Lawrence author
GSX-R, A Legacy of Performance, Marc Cook author
The Haydens: Nicky, Tommy, and Roger, from OWB to MotoGP, Chris Jonnum author
Museo Ducati: Six Decades of Classic Motorcycles of the Official Ducati Museum, Chris Jonnum author
The Grand Prix Motorcycle, Kevin Cameron author
Sport Riding Techniques, Nick Ienatsch, author
Sportbike Suspension Tuning, Andrew Trevitt, author
Bull published a great number of car titles which won international awards but he loved motorcycles. Even after a terrible, life-changing street crash.
Bull walked out of the press tent at Laguna Seca USGP in 2011 and never walked again, unfortunately.
After his crash David’s inner strength became almost otherworldly. Many put in his place would have lost the will to live, but David was a committed father, crazy about his kids, and he loved his work and chose to push on no matter how uncooperative his body became. In time he was able to leave assisted living and live on his own in an apartment. Some people might have turned their back on motorcycles after suffering what David did but he never never took that route. When his handicap apartment was being designed, he made sure there was a spot for his Ducati 888 where he could see it daily. He lived independently in the apartment for as long as possible but medical issues made him a frequent flyer in hospitals. Finally his body ran out of fuel and he crossed the finish line.
With his then-wife’s help, he continued to recover and work and then moved to his own apartment upon their divorce.
David Bull was a close friend of mine for thirty years. His impact on my life was enormous. In the late 1990s we brought our wives to the Laguna Seca WSBK races and stayed at a local inn. On check-in the clerk mentioned she still had two suites open and both featured fireplaces. ‘Big friggin’ whoop’ I thought to myself, but women on the scene let it be known this would be a romantic touch and Bull convinced me this would be a good thing, so we upgraded. Long story short, about six weeks after returning home my wife discovered she was pregnant with the conception date coinciding with David’s “fireplace directive” as I called it. My middle son Kipp was the result.
I don’t know if it was the dying and coming back or something else but post-crash David became a rock of stability to his friends, including me. If you are a Christian, or spiritual, it was almost like he had been sent back as an angel. He never said if he had seen the answer to the final question (what comes next at death) or suggested he had become a celestial attendant because he endured such pain while partaking in an activity he loved, but his post-crash aura became literally Zen-master level. He always had an open ear for a friend, sound advice and a way of explaining things (his vocabulary was legendary) which resonated on a soul level.
Typical David response to one of my many phone rants:
“I understand and empathize with the tremendous anger you have for Albero Puig, Dean, but I think it’s important that you consider that Nicky would not want you to go to jail for assaulting Puig. He’s, really, such a minor character in the story of Nicky, you know? No one will remember who he is but they will always remember Nicky. There’s always a villain. Nicky would not want this if the results put you in prison.”
Or, the winter I pushed a land-barge NR750 on my workbench and popped something in my back, putting me out for a winter with sciatica. I called David and whined endlessly about the pain, the doctors I had seen who seemed grossly incompetent and that I had to swallow a nice handful of Tylenol in order to pick my kid up at school. Did David Bull give me a sound verbal slap across the face and point out that I was complaining about pain in my back and an inability to drive to a man who was paralyzed and had underwent ten surgeries if he underwent one in order to just get decent movement out of his one remaining good arm? No, he did not. David empathized with me, and offered to even talk to his doctors about my sciatica, see if they had any ideas on how to treat it. (For the record, confirming I am an idiot, I called Wayne Rainey countless times during the same period and whined about the same stuff to him. Rainey did nothing but empathize as well.)
If you didn’t know David Bull I suggest you check out one of his many books.
Once, when it rained at Daytona, my friend Kevin Cameron and I took the rental car over to the local Barnes and Nobles where we sat all afternoon drinking coffee, watching it rain and paging through books we found on the shelves. I brought some of David’s books over and plopped them on the table and I passed them to Kevin once I paged through them. Most of the books KC saw that day were paged through quickly and dismissed but Kevin really slowed when he examined David’s books. After he finished the last one he said “Nobody makes a better book than David Bull.”