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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Group Dynamics boss Steve Neal dies aged 82

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The ebullient and ever-cheerful Midlander, whose son Matt turned a three-time BTCC champion with the workforce he had based, started his racing profession after he purchased a Method Junior Kieft in 1959 with among the proceeds from an insurance coverage payout following a bike accident.

Ultimately Neal moved into saloon automobiles and have become one of many famend exponents of Minis – sarcastically one of many tallest drivers shone within the smallest of automobiles.

Driving for the manufacturing facility Cooper workforce in 1968, Neal scored an general race win within the British Saloon Automotive Championship (the forerunner of the BTCC) at Crystal Palace, the place because of the quick circuit the smaller courses had been break up from the larger divisions. He additionally claimed some good outcomes, once more within the 1300cc class, within the European Touring Automotive Championship.

Neal moved to the Britax Cooper workforce for 1969 alongside Gordon Spice, however ultimately wound down his driving profession after an accident on oil at Manufacturers Hatch brought on a watch damage.

Steve Neal, Austin Mini Cooper S leads John Rhodes, Morris Mini Cooper S and John Fitzpatrick, Ford Anglia

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Picture by: Rainer Schlegelmilch

The household Rimstock wheels firm was flourishing when Neal Jr started his racing profession within the mid-Eighties in Ford Fiestas.

The workforce ran Neal Jr to nice success within the Nationwide Saloon Automotive collection in 1991 for Group N equipment with the mighty Nissan Skyline, earlier than Rimstock Racing moved to the BTCC in 1992 with a BMW M3.

For 1993, Neal Sr co-founded Group Dynamics with Ray Bellm, and the workforce would contest the BTCC for many seasons as much as the tip of 2022.

Dynamics turned famend as the category act of the BTCC impartial ranks from the mid-Nineties, first with BMW equipment, then a courageous however doomed squad of self-developed Ford Mondeos, after which with a Nissan Primera – sourced from Neal’s {old} Mini-racing pal, 1969 BSCC champion Alec Poole, who was in control of the Japanese producer’s European motorsport programme.

From 2004, Dynamics turned inextricably related to Honda equipment and spent many seasons because the producer’s official workforce within the BTCC.

2006 BTCC champion Matt Neal, Team Halfords with his father Steve Neal

2006 BTCC champion Matt Neal, Group Halfords along with his father Steve Neal

Picture by: Edd Hartley

On the wheel of Dynamics-built Hondas, Neal Jr claimed general BTCC titles in 2005, 2006 and 2011, after which Gordon Shedden added three extra in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Neal Jr had taken over as workforce principal of Dynamics in recent times, whereas additionally overseeing the racing actions of his personal sons Henry and Will.

To them, the remainder of the Neal household and their numerous associates and associates, Autosport extends its honest condolences upon their lack of a massively in style, genial and entertaining man, whose devotion to motorsport made a huge impact upon the success of the BTCC.

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