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As many of his friends within the BRDC and the BTCC world will no doubt already have heard, Steve Neal passed away on Sunday 2 July.  He was 82 years old and had been suffering from Bladder Cancer for some time.  Although he came to be best known in recent times as Team Principal of Team Dynamics and as the father of three-times BTCC champion Matt, Steve had enjoyed a successful career as a driver in the 1960s. In 1993 Steve became a Full Member of the BRDC.

Steve acquired his first racing car, a second hand Formula Junior Kieft, in the early 1960s with the proceeds of compensation for injuries sustained in a road accident. Even when new, the Kieft was hardly a competitive proposition and Steve used it for formule libre racing at Silverstone and other Midlands circuits. But it was through the Kieft that Steve met Jim Whitehouse of Arden Engineering who encouraged him to abandon ideas of becoming a single-seater star and instead race a very competitive Arden Mini-Cooper S in the British Saloon Car Championship. From 1965 to 1969, first with Arden, then the Cooper works team (as team mate to John Rhodes) and ultimately with the Britax Cooper Downton team with Gordon Spice as team mate, Steve was very much at the forefront of the 1300 cc class battling against the works-supported Ford Anglias and Escorts driven by the likes of John Fitzpatrick and Chris Craft. Although at times there seemed to be just as much battling going on within the BCD team between Steve and Gordon.

At the end of 1969 the BSCC rules changed from Group 5 to Group 2 and the Mini-Cooper Ss became history. Steve turned to GT racing first with a Ginetta G12 and then with a Cosworth FVA-engined Chevron B8, enjoying success with both as Team Supra. In the RAC Sports Car Championship Steve was regularly the best of the Chevron B8s, finishing well up among the newer B16s. In fact, these were not Steve’s first ventures into sports car racing. While making his way into the BSCC, Steve had the opportunity to share Bill Bradley’s Triumph Spitfire in the Nurburgring 1000 Ks and John Moore’s Austin-Healey Sprite at Mugello (the original road race), the ‘Ring and Montlhery.

The son of a metal manufacturer, and an engineer himself, in 1968 Steve founded 100+ International Ltd to manufacture leather-rimmed steering wheels. Some years later, in 1984, he set up Rimstock and led it to become the UK’s largest manufacturer of light alloy wheels until relinquishing control in 2016. In parallel with the growth of Rimstock, Steve encouraged and took great pride in the career of his son Matt both within the business and as a touring car driver.

In 1989 Matt finished fourth in the Ford Fiesta Championship before progressing to the National Saloon Car Cup for Group N ‘showroom’ saloons. In 1990, armed with a BMW M3 E30 Matt won his class in the NSCC, finishing first both in the Willhire 24 Hours at Snetterton and in the Silverstone 500 Ks with a Nissan Skyine. From 1993, when Matt won the TOCA Challenge for Privateers in a BMW 318is E36, Team Dynamics with Steve as Team Principal set the standards by which all other independent teams in the BTCC were judged. A second Independents’ Trophy was secured in 1995 with a Ford Mondeo followed by a third in 1999 with a Nissan Primera and a fourth in 2000, the last year of the Supertouring era, again with a Primera. The first Nissan year also saw Steve, Matt and Team Dynamics earn a permanent place in BTCC history when, at Donington Park, they became the first independent team to win a BTCC race outright. The fact that a cheque for £250,000 was the prize made the success even more palatable.

In 2004 Team Dynamics ran with Halfords sponsorship and a Honda Civic Type R for the first time. The following year with a Honda Integra Type R Matt won his first BTCC Drivers’ Championship, the first Independent driver to do so, and Team Dynamics won its first Teams’ title, both repeating these achievements the following year. A third drivers’ title followed for Matt in 2011 while Team Dynamics continued to scoop up the Teams’ and Manufacturers’/Constructors’ series. Gordon Shedden joined the team in 2007, taking his first drivers’ title in 2012 with more to follow in 2015 and 2016 whilst in 2013 Andrew Jordan won the drivers’ title in a Honda Civic built for Pirtek Racing by Team Dynamics.

As others came and went, Steve Neal presided over one of the most successful teams in the British Touring Car Championship. He achieved success both in business and in racing, never losing his enthusiasm for the sport and delighting in the achievements of both Matt and grandsons Henry and Will.

To Steve’s wife Diana, brother Richard, son Matt, daughter Sophie and grandchildren William, Henry and Matilda the BRDC extends its deepest condolences at their loss.  Steve's funeral service is being held at St. Mary’s Church, Oldswinford, DY8 2HA at 12.00 noon on Wednesday 26 July.  A very brief Committal will follow at Stourbridge Crematorium.  After which there is a gathering and celebration of life for all friends and family at Hogarths Stone Manor Hotel, Kidderminster, DY10 4PJ.  Please inform the Club Office if you are planning to attend in order that we can advise the family on numbers.

Steve’s family have asked for no flowers but those inclined to make donations to Birmingham Childrens Hospital which is one of the charities Steve supported. 

The Club regrets to report on the death of Neville Hay, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1993
The Club regrets to report on the death of Alan Minshaw, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1984
The Club regrets to report on the death of Ray Thackwell who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1957
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