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NOTICE OF DEATH - NEIL CRANG (1949-2020)

We have just learned from Tim Schenken in Australia the sad news that Life Member Neil Crang died on the 20th July at the age of 70.

It was while he was studying Economics at Monash University, Melbourne that Neil had his first taste of motor sport in autocross and rallycross but it was not until he moved to Geneva, Switzerland to pursue a career as a commodities broker in the 1970s that he was able to start racing regularly. He teamed up with Ian Taylor to run a pair of Tiga SC79s in the Chequered Flag British Sports 2000 championship which Ian won. Continuing with Sports 2000 in 1980, Ian and Neil, with Swiss Mario Hytten as third driver, entered the Brands Hatch 6 Hours round of the World Manufacturers’ Championship. After Ian had qualified fastest in the class well up among more potent machinery, the trio finished 15th overall, and third Sports 2000, in what became a two-part race overshadowed by the fatal accident to Martin Raymond.

Another Swiss driver, Angelo Pallavicini, teamed up with Neil in 1981 for four of the major endurance events – Daytona, Sebring, Silverstone and Brands Hatch – in Pallavicini’s Porsche 934 and were joined by John Sheldon the following year when they started, but failed to finish, Neil’s first venture into the Le Mans 24 Hours. In 1982 and 1983 Neil undertook full seasons in the British Formula Atlantic Championship with a Tiga FA82, regularly finishing in the top six with third places at Mallory Park (1982) and Donington Park (1983) being his best race results. In 1982 Neil finished fifth in the championship and went one place better the following year. Also in 1982 Neil finished fourth in the Macau Grand Prix in the Asian classic’s last year before switching to Formula 3.

Having acquired a shareholding in the Tiga company and a taste for endurance racing, Neil encouraged Tiga founder Howden Ganley to build him a Group C car which, powered by a 5-litre Chevrolet engine, made its first appearance in the 1983 Brands Hatch 1000 Ks round of the World and European Endurance Championships. With Gordon Spice as team mate, they finished in 14th place with the Tiga GC83 but did rather better than this a few weeks later by finishing seventh overall in the Imola 1000 Ks behind only a works Lancia LC-83 and five Porsche 956s. Thus encouraged, for 1984 Neil and Gordy aimed to embark on a full season as Spice Tiga Racing in Group C Junior, the predecessor of Group C2, with a Cosworth DFV-powered Tiga GC84 and Ray Bellm as third driver. After a difficult start, which included being forced to retire at Le Mans while going well after Neil crashed at Tertre Rouge, from the Nurburgring 1000 Ks onwards the team won the category five times in succession.

While Spice Tiga Racing evolved into Gordon Spice’s eponymous team and achieved great success over the next few years, there was a parting of the ways with Neil at the end of 1984. He continued racing, now in the British Thundersports Championship with a Tiga-Cosworth GC84 and Tim Lee-Davey as his team mate, with the occasional outing in the World Endurance Championship. Victory in the opening round of the Championship was followed by second places at Thruxton and Brands Hatch and third place at Snetterton. The following year was a struggle as the team ran in several rounds of the World Endurance Championship while 1987 was little better, Neil having set up a new team with Duncan Bain, Dune Motorsport, the title derived from their first names. A new C2 Tiga GC287 was deployed, using the Austin Rover V6 engine but, of the few races which they attended, only the Silverstone 1000 Ks resulted in a finish, in 12th place with Swiss Jean Kruger joining Neil and Duncan as third driver. At the end of 1988 on his home circuit Neil shared a Porsche 962 with Tim Lee-Davey in the Sandown Park Supersprint 360 K round of the Sports-Prototype World Championship, finishing sixth behind two Sauber Mercedes C9s, two Jaguar XJR9s and the Gordon Spice/Ray Bellm C2-winning Spice SE88C.

Elected to the BRDC in 1985, following his Group C Junior successes with Gordon Spice, Neil maintained his contacts with the Club as Regional Co-ordinator for Australia and New Zealand. The BRDC offers its most sincere condolences to Neil’s family.    

 

The Club Office has just learned that one of our oldest Members, Mike Oliver, died last Wednesday, 15th July. He was 99 years old and had been a Full Member since 1949.
As many Members may have already heard, Ron Tauranac passed away peacefully in his sleep on 17 July. He was 95 years of age and had been an Honorary Member of the BRDC since 1971.
We regret to have to advise Members that we have just learnt that Life Member Jonathan Sieff passed away on 1st July at the age of 86 after a stroke.
NEWS ARCHIVE
Notice of Death - Neil Crang (1949-2020) | 22-Jul-2020
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