Tick Steward, the first ever Legends Cars National Champion, inaugural Legends Cars World Champion and one of the most recognisable names in national motorsport, has tragically lost a lengthy battle with cancer, aged 52, it has been confirmed today by his family.
It’s difficult to put into words the impact Tick had on Legends racing in the UK, moreover the hugely significant role he played in the creation and development of the National Championship having been the first person to purchase a car from series owner Phil Cooper back in the mid-nineties.
Conducting all of the original demo runs at Silverstone when Cooper was first planning to establish Legends racing on British soil, Tick was integral to the early success of the category and became regarded as a terrific competitor.
Renowned motorsport commentator Richard John Neil followed Tick’s career closely and has very kindly provided some wonderful statistics from his archives which underscore what a glorious career the Essex driver enjoyed.
Joining the fledgling circuit-based Legends Cars as a multiple oval racing champion, Tick was the man to beat in the early years and was actually unbeaten over the first three race meetings – two at Brands Hatch and another on the Mallory Park mile oval. He was on his way to another clean sweep in the fourth event, at Silverstone, but was just pipped in the third race by Ian McKellar Jnr.
Tick responded, winning both races at the next Brands Hatch meeting and then winning at each of the remaining events – including five victories at Lydden Hill, a hat-trick at the second Silverstone meeting and another at Mallory.
Across four seasons, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000, Tick won an incredible 70 races from 153 starts, meaning a win rate of 43 percent which is the highest of more than 300 drivers who have taken to the grid in the National Championship. Additionally, Tick set 52 fastest laps and scored 98 podiums.
After becoming one of the most successful drivers ever to grace Legends Cars racing, he stepped away from circuit racing for 18 years before making a return to a 5/8 scale Legends car at the Autosport International Show in 2020, as part of the Live Action Arena. It was as part of ASI where Tick teamed-up with renowned stunt driver Terry Grant in the 1990s to showcase the Legends Cars.
Tick had also dipped his toe back in the water of competitive action in 2018 at Wimbledon Stadium, driving his son’s Oval car, and in recent years had been restoring his famous, and very distinctive, original ‘Old Spice’ liveried car.
Tick leaves behind his loving wife Helen and sons Thomas and Harry.
Legends Cars National Championship with MRF Tyres owner Phil Cooper:
“This is such terribly tragic news and, on behalf of everyone associated with the Legends Cars National Championship, I want to express our sincerest, most heartfelt condolences to Tick’s wife Helen and his wonderful children Thomas and Harry. Tick had fought cancer successfully a number of years ago, it very sadly returned recently and became terminal.
“I can’t stress enough what a pivotal role Tick played in the early years of Legends racing here in the UK, he was the first to buy a car from me – showing great commitment to our plans – he then went on to become our first champion and, of course, won the first World Championship. Tick was an incredible driver, fantastic competitor and, most importantly, a wonderful person and friend. He will be so very sadly missed, all of us are deeply saddened by this tragic loss.”