TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘lovable giant’ and ‘wonderful gentleman’ who died in a rally crash in Bramley.

Both Steve Dear, 64, from Reading and Shawn Rayner, 52, from Windsor, died during the Loco 2 Stages rally, which was held at the Bramley Training Area on Friday, 29 December.

During the race, the two friends car hit a tree on the course shortly before 1:30pm. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. Today the pairs families have paid tribute to the duo.

Steve’s family said: “Steve Dear was a truly wonderful gentleman who won the hearts of all that came into contact with him. We as a family are devastated to hear of his passing whilst competing in the sport he and we loved, alongside his good friend Shawn Rayner.

“The overwhelming amount of messages of support from everyone that knew him have been incredibly touching and provided us with some comfort at this terrible time.

“The world has lost an inspirational father, loving partner and respected friend, brother and son. A man that always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, he will live on in our hearts and minds for the rest of our days. A true legend in our eyes, who leaves behind a legacy he can be immensely proud of.

“No words can describe the feelings we are currently experiencing so would appreciate some privacy during these tough times.”

The Motor Sports Association British Historic Rally Championship said that Shawn had been a regular contender in recent seasons. Steve had co-driven in the championship many times over the years before his son Declan Dear’s co-driving took centre stage.

Shawn’s family and friends said: “Shawn Rayner was a lovable giant that could put a smile on anyone's face. His personality was larger than life and he always wore his heart on his sleeve and what a big heart it was.

“Taken from us far too soon but doing what he loved and excelled at, he always said he didn't want to get old.

“Shawn wasn't solely dedicated to his passion. He was a dedicated and loving son and a hugely respected friend to many, many people that he considered his extended family. A family he would go to the ends of the earth for without a second thought.

“The world has lost two of its great characters and most incredible human beings.

“Thank you for the skids, the smiles, the rides and the memories.”

Police are working with event organisers Sutton & Cheam Motor Club to investigate the incident.