Families pay tribute to 'hero' pair killed in rally car crash

The families of two men who died following a crash during a rally car race have paid tribute to the pair.

Steve Dear, 64, of School Green, Reading, Berkshire, and Shawn Rayner, 52, of Eton Wick Road, Windsor, both died at the event held at the Bramley Training Area near Basingstoke, Hampshire, on December 29.

The car they were competing in collided with a tree and both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement released through police, Mr Dear'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 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.

"I personally would like to thank the paramedics and organisers for doing all they could to help my dad and Shawn. My heroes."

Mr Rayner'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. Keep smiling up there big man."

A Hampshire police spokesman said: "Our investigations into the exact circumstances of the collision are ongoing."

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