David Miller - The ‘proper boss’ of BSN

| | General News

David Miller was what you would call a proper journalist. Born in 1974, David start his working life as a reporter on the Stamford Mercury having successfully survived the EMAP training school. His love and knowledge of motorbikes led him inevitably to the magazine division and titles like ‘Bike’, ‘What Bike’, and the early MCN Sport. However, a “my way or no way” tendency didn’t always go down well with the hierarchy which increased his ambition to be his own boss, something he realised in 2008.

Bikesport News was originally a tabloid newspaper with additional website, based in Derby and owned by Robert Fearnall - then running the Donington Circuit under Tom Wheatcroft - and founder Dave Hardy. Having had some experience with online media, David saw the potential and made a bid for the unloved website, transforming it to the point where it made the print version unprofitable, and the original owners, somewhat reluctantly, later decide to sell up entirely. Deal done, it was decided the tabloid version was not sufficiently visible on the bottom shelf of the newsstand and so it became a colourful, glossy magazine but one which still retained its newsy content.

While a great success, the reach and appeal of bikesportnews.com eventually made it clear, as all print publishers have found, that print and online don’t mix easily and choices have to be made. It was made and bikesportnews.com became the media for road racing fans with up-to-the-minute news and great writers. David Miller can be proud of it.

Over the past 24 hours, David’s standing in the racing community has been clear to see. Friends, colleagues, riders and fans have all shared their shock, sympathies, admiration and fond memories of a man whose intellect, humour, straight-talking and unwavering passion for motorbikes was respected by those who met and worked with him.

Scott Smart
“He was always there - since before I can remember as we’re linked by our extended family,” former racer and long-time friend Smart said fondly. “Oldest friends not because of the bikes but in spite of bikes. We laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve cooked and we’ve laid in a heap of bikes and limbs together on the road. No words can reflect it all, not even those penned by you, David. See you next time, x.”

Jonathan Rea
“It was very recently that I did a video podcast with David,” the six-time WorldSBK Champion reflected. “I could see he did not look that well then, but it was something he brushed over and didn’t talk about.

“He has always been involved throughout my racing career and I always appreciated his no-nonsense journalism. That is what he will be remembered for. He was a shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy and he was always very good with me.

“He came and spent some time with me at my house once at the Isle of Man,” Rea continued. “We went riding motocross bikes together and I have always had time for him in the paddock. I am very sad that he leaves behind a young family. We both have young kids and he always talked to me very fondly about his family and family life.”

Chaz Davies
“I asked his father Robin how he was at Portimao and he said he was doing okay; a realistic okay,” the Ducati rider remembered. “He said that things were not that easy, but he was doing okay, so it’s obviously a big shock and a big loss for the British two-wheel side of things.

“David was a big advocate of WorldSBK. He was always very passionate and driven. When he came to certain races over the years, that came across in any interview you did with him. He always did his homework and presented some quite off the wall questions. You could tell he had really thought about it.

“He was an interesting guy to talk to, clearly clued up and loved the sport and he really knew his stuff in BSB, too. That passion was key to what he was doing with Bikesport News. He is a big loss.”

BSN WorldSBK reporter, Gordon Ritchie
“I was shocked and saddened to receive a phone call from David’s father, Robin, to inform me of David’s passing,” Ritchie commented. “I knew David a little before he hired me as the on-site BSN WorldSBK journalist. Over our subsequent periods of working together I got to know him well, and he was always the same person.

“David was his own man, a real character, and ready to stand his ground during any discussion. He was driven and passionate, curious and cynical - as every good journalist should be.

“He often sent me Whatsapps on race weekends to ask about something he had just heard, even when he did not go to as many rounds in person as he may have liked to. To the end, he proved to be independent in thought and deed. David’s passing will leave a space for his family and closest friends to come to terms with, as is always the case when someone leaves too soon, but I hope that they will also draw some strength from the collective heart-felt condolence and ongoing support that I am sure the entire bike racing community extends to them.”