12 months in prison for 139mph speeding biker

Published: 20 July 2009

A motorcycle mechanic caught overtaking on the brow of a hill by a policeman on an unmarked Suzuki Hayabusa in a 139 mph chase has been jailed for 12 months “as an example” to others.

Judge Roger Thorn, QC, said David Saxby warranted jailing for his dangerous riding and “arrogant” attitude to the police officer that stopped him at Fridaythorpe bikers café in Humberside.

UNMARKED POLICE HAYABUSA

Saxby claimed “it was not cricket” to use an unmarked police Hayabusa to covertly film bikers. His co-accused barrister proved that riding in excesses of the 60mph limit was not dangerous in itself and Nicholas King was aquitted.

However a jury convicted Saxby after an overtaking manoeuvre captured on video saw him crossing into the opposite carriageway with a car coming towards him at around 90mph.

His friend King walked free having proven his riding at speeds he accepted were in excess of 90mph on the road was not dangerous. His barrister even managed to get his alleged arrest comment to the police “I’m f**ked” withheld from the jury because the police officer never got him to sign his notebook.

Mechanic Saxby, 40, was testing a Yamaha R6 after fixing an electronic throttle response problem. He denied being in a road race with his friend taxi driver Nicholas King, 35, a father-of-three on a Yamaha R1 when he was caught on the A166 between Nafferton  and Fridaythorpe, near Driffield.

Both admitted speeding on the 60mph road but were not charged with that. The police could not charge them with it because it happened more than six months ago.

The police camera recorded a speed of 139mph but the defence team claimed that it could have been his “closing speed” rather than that of the bikers. It is the one of the highest ever recorded by Humberside police.

ILLEGAL NUMBERPLATE

PC David Smith one of only ten Humberside police officers trained to handle the Hayabusa chased after Saxby as part of Humberside Police operation Achilles to cut biker road casualties.

He over took a string of cars and a lorry after spotting Saxby’s illegal undersize number plate on a straight roman road on the Wolds.

Saxby was following King and filmed using a miniature camera on the wing mirror linked to a hard drive on the tank bank of the ProVida system.

PC Smith estimated Saxby topped 139mph – confirmed by the camera on his Hayabusa. When shown his overtaking of King half a mile before the village Saxby expressed “a disgusting” attitude said Pc Smith.

Saxby claimed he was doing no more than 99mph. Saxby’s R6 was towed away by the police after riding on traders’ insurance which did not show at police computer check.

He was not given the option of a seven-day producer. He was left stranded and told to make his own way home – paying a fee to recover the bike which belonged to a relative.

ARROGANT ATTITUDE DAMAGED IMAGE OF MOTORCYCLISTS

Judge Thorn, QC, told Saxby his arrogant attitude damaged the image of motorcyclists and showed him to be a gambler whose shocking riding could kill.

He said his laughing off of the risk after he was caught and accusing the officer of spoiling a nice day only made his situation worse.

Saxby, a father of two   and King, both from Hull, both denied charges of dangerous driving. Saxby was found guilty after fighting a four-day trial at Hull Crown Court.

Saxby and King‘s barristers admitted excessive speeding but argued because the officer insisted his riding was not dangerous neither was theirs.

King, who was only captured on film for five seconds was cleared of dangerous driving and allowed to walk free from court.

‘OVETOOK ON THE BROW OF A HILL’

Sentencing Judge Thorn, QC, told Saxby who had a conviction for driving while disqualified in 1993: “I accept you were doing some incredible speed - something in the region of 100 to 117mph.

"But then what did you do? You overtook on the brow of a hill in the face of oncoming traffic.  You were right behind him in some form of chase and you over took for the thrill of it.

"You are a gambler. You gambled with you own life. You gambled with the lives of anyone else out that day. Had they been on foot, or emerging from one of the farm entrances behind a hedge, you would not have had time to brake.

“Had there been an accident then there would almost certainly been a fatality.” He told Saxby he was arrogant to think he had the same skill as the police officer and his use of a small number plate on the rear of the R6 was to avoid detection.

He said he entered a small village of Fridaythorpe at probably double the 30mph limit”

‘I HAVE TO MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF YOU’

“I have to make an example of you when there are so many problems with motorcyclists both north and south of the Humber. This was shocking and dangerous riding.

"There are many perfectly-decent law-abiding particularly middle aged riders who enjoy the thrill and want to test their skills. You are part of the relative minority who damage the image of motorcyclists and bring it into disrepute.”

Pc David Smith told a jury at Hull Crown Court he was part of operation Achilles when he spotted the twin Yamahas. “I was riding the world’s fastest road bike and pushing it hard,” said Pc Smith. “The bikes went off at very high speeds well in excess of the speed limit.

"The A166 can be very busy road. It has high hedges and farm gate entrances. I was doing my best to keep a constant pace behind them.

"At one stage there were only one or two bike lengths between them. When they got on one straight they ended up way in excess of 120mph. When they approached Fridaythorpe they topped 139mph. One bike then overtook the other. There was no reason to overtake. They appeared to be racing.”

Mr Saxby’s wife Michelle wept in the witness box of Hull Crown Court as she told how his jailing would affect his family which included his son Daniel 15 and daughter Bethany 12 she said his mother needed him.

His barrister Christopher Dunn urged the judge not to jail him. Judge Thorn added: “The sentenced imposed must be a significant one due to the risk to life and limb.” He ordered he should be jailed for 12 months, disqualified from riding and order Saxby to take a re-test.

Saxby is planning an appeal. His barrister has lodged a bail application before Hull Crown Court for him to be freed pending an appeal against sentence.

What do you think of the sentence? Do you think the rider got what he deserved or was treated harshly?