At 16 David Burgess became an apprentice to Bill Shakespeare, whose boatyard was on the River Avon at Tewkesbury.
David takes up the story. 'I was 22 when I left Shakespeares and I went to work for Freddy Miles designing and building the Milesmaster cats. I was there for two and a half years then started my first business.'
'My designed and built boats have to my recollection won about 45 World Championships in all classes from monohulls to F1. Just look down the list of F3 winners – 17 of those were in my boats. I probably built more catamarans than anyone else. The NF boats shown on the website – I must have built about 55 to 60 of them. I couldn’t build enough Formula 4 boats.'
'I knew the Ospreys from day one. In the beginning I stored their equipment at my factory. For a bet, imagine if you can, on the Monday morning before the Bristol weekend – I think it was 1976 – I had finished all the cat work for Bristol and I said to my painter f**k it, I will build a NF mono for Bristol. So I designed, built and painted it, and rigged it with a 650xs Mercury engine. We took it to Bristol on the Friday afternoon but we got there too late for testing. Charlie Sheppard kindly agreed to let us have two laps after every one else had finished. Peter Balmford drove the boat for two laps, put it on pole position and won all three heats. And I did that for a bet.'
'That was the first NF mono I ever built. It was made entirely of wood, and the interest I had from that led me to produce a highly successful GRP NF boat. I made about 55 to 60 of those, and then sold the moulds to Dutchman, Wiep Torenvleit, who continued producing them for a while.'
'There is a story behind the OZ boat I built for Roger Jenkins. The previous year OMC loaned those motors out to some other boat builders in Europe to develop boats for the following season, when the motors would become commercially available to approved drivers. I approached OMC for the same deal and their director of racing told me, "you may be able to build small cats but there’s no way you can build an OZ boat." As they say – the rest is history.' That year, Roger went on to become F1 World Champion.
'I quit building boats in 2002. The only work I still do with racing boats is some pattern making for Dragon F1 when they want some modifications done.'