The deaths of Shawn Rayner and Steve Dear on the Loco 2 Stages Rally on December 29 have rocked the world of UK historic rallying.
The driver and co-driver of the Ford Escort Mk2 died in the accident during a single-venue event at Bramley Camp near Basingstoke on what was intended to be a low-key day of rallying at a local event over the Christmas holiday.
No further details of the accident have been released but a statement by the organising club, the Sutton and Cheam Motor Club, confirmed that the accident was being investigated by the MSA, Hampshire Police and other local agencies.
Rayner (52) was a popular figure in historic rallying having made a comeback to the sport seven years ago. He enjoyed success in the early 1990s before stopping rallying after two major accidents. In 2009, he was tempted to make a return in historic rallying.
Rayner developed his Escort Mk2 into a front-running car on both gravel and asphalt events and had enjoyed particular success during the 2017 season on closed-road rallies in Ireland. His regular co-driver had been Declan Dear, but for the Bramley rally Declan’s father Steve (64) took over the co-driver’s seat.
Steve Dear was a regular competitor a decade ago but then stepped back from co-driving to support his son’s rallying.
Declan Dear told the BBC that the crash had been a “freak accident”, and that it would not make him give up rallying in the future. He said: “I don't think it will keep me from getting in the navigator's seat, [my father] would not want that.”
A statement from their Hehku Rally Sport team said: “We can take some solace in the fact that they were competing in the sport they loved so much.”
A statement from the organisers of the MSA British Historic Rally Championship said: “The terrible accident that befell them is a stark reminder of the inherent danger in the sport we all love.
“On behalf of everyone involved in the BHRC and across historic rallying, we offer sincere sympathies to their families and many friends in the sport.”
Story by Paul Lawrence