The rallying world in the UK is shocked and saddened to hear of the deaths of two great ‘clubman’.
Regular Stage Master Challenge contender Shawn Rayner and navigator Steve Dear were tragically killed when competing on the recent Loco Stages at Bramley Camp in Hampshire.
I got to know Shawn and Steve approximately 10-years ago when competing in the BHRC and then seeing them at a club level on events in the Berkshire and Hampshire area.
His friendly nature shone through and you could not resist spending 10 minutes talking about his exploits on the stages – He simply loved rallying and all the sports ups and downs.
Always wanting to better himself both equipment and time wise he made sure that ‘Bessie’ as the car was fondly known would be immaculately turned out. A sponsors dream as he teamed up with with Hehku as he tried to pursue every avenue to do what he loved – Rallying.
At the time Steve was there at every event supporting and helping his son Declan who was in the navigator’s seat and over time the duo would win many class and championship awards becoming a force in peddling the 2-litre Pinto car to some amazing results.
The challenge opened his eyes up to Ireland where he was crowned the inaugural Stage Masters Challenge winner and category 3 winner by taking a start to finish victory at the final point scoring round Killarney, against his main rival but one of his closest friends Stanley Orr.
He posted this tribute; “Absolutely devastated, I’m so glad to have known them, great memories and lots of laughs – rallying for me will never be the same.”
This taste of stage rallying in Ireland lead to a full campaign in 2017 in the emerald isle – but he never forgot his rallying background or roots.
He competed on the Wyedean Rally in November his first foray into the woods for nearly a year, taking maximum points on his way to another class win in the Stage Masters series.
Shawn’s navigator and Steve’s son Declan Dear said: “The sport has lost a pair of its finest characters and we can only take some solace in the fact they were competing in the sport that they loved so much.”
“Thank you for all your kind words at this time.
“We have lost 2 of our heroes and they would be touched to see your well wishes.”
Killarney 2017 would see the introduction of a new BD powered Escort and while the rally didn’t go to plan with a few spins, every service halt or stage start he was beaming with delight at the performance of the new car.
HRCR Chairman Paul Loveridge said: “Shawn was a true clubman and his heart and soul was in rallying.
“We have lost two true gentlemen to the sport they loved.”
Below see a promotional video: