Belfast Telegraph

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Irish rallying in tributes to crew killed in crash

By Sammy Hamill

An investigation has been launched into the deaths of two competitors during a rally in the south of England at the weekend.

Shawn Rayner, who appeared regularly on Irish events, and his co-driver Steve Dear, died when their Ford Escort crashed during the Loco 2 Stages, a single venue rally held within the Bramley army complex in Hampshire.

Rayner, a vastly experienced competitor from Windsor, took part in many Irish rallies including the 2017 Donegal, Ulster and Cork internationals. He finished third in the Irish Tarmac championship's historic category partnered by Declan Dear, son of the co-driver who died alongside him at the weekend.

Messages of sympathy were posted on social media from friends in Ireland including the organisers of the Donegal International who wrote: "Deepest condolences to all their families. Your attitude and smile made you welcome visitors every time you came to Ireland.

Paddy Flanagan, manager of the Irish Tarmac championship revealed that Rayner had already signed up for the 2018 series, and posted: "Shawn was a big man with a big character and had made many friends throughout Ireland, he will be sorely missed on the Irish Tarmac. Our deepest condolences go to Shawn's family and friends and to Steve's son Declan, his family and friends."

A statement from the UK Motor Sports Association said: "As with all serious incidents in or around UK motorsport, the MSA is now working with the event-organising club and the police to establish precisely what happened on this occasion.

"The MSA sends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased crew."

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