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Run in the family: The Neave twins
Meet Tom and Tim Neave, the British twins taking motorcycle racing by storm having just come in first and second at Snetterton.
Belstaff has a long tradition of supporting pioneers in sport, especially those doing it on the back of a motorbike. The Trialmaster was created in 1948 to protect riders from the harsh elements during the Scottish Six Days Trial, an event that Belstaff would later sponsor, and the jacket was subsequently worn by biking legends John Lee and Sammy Miller as they rode to victory. Belstaff’s sponsorship of the Neave twins is the latest additions to a storied timeline of support for these trailblazers and their incredible achievements.
Remaining grounded must be difficult if you spend your life tearing around racetracks on high-powered motorcycles in front of thousands of cheering fans. For 22-year-old twins Tom and Tim Neave coming back down to earth is simple: they get right back to work on the family farm.
The brothers made headline news earlier this month when they rode their 165mph Kawasaki bikes to first and second place at Snetterton, with Tom coming in first and Tim following him six seconds later. The race was one of 11 legs of the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship, which is watched by millions on ITV and Eurosport. With the Neaves tipped for motorcycling superstardom, you would forgive them for seeing life beyond the Lincolnshire farm. So has this recent success changed them? ‘Not at all,’ says Tom. ‘We were straight back to work on Monday morning at 7am and celebrated the win at Snetterton by cleaning the grain stores ready for harvest.’ The farm work is incredibly demanding, with 16-hour days the norm at the busiest times of year. But with racing now taking up an ever greater amount of time, the farm has had to employ some extra hands to help cover the brothers’ absences. Thankfully the family is fully supportive of their racing careers, but this was not always the case. When the brothers got into bike racing at the age of 15, their parents were horrified. ‘They hated the idea,’ Tom recalls. ‘I remember my mum crying. They didn’t try to stop us, but for the first few years they just didn’t show any interest. But then as things progressed to the point where we started to get podiums, they started to get behind us. And now they are amazing. We couldn’t do it without their support – it is a real family effort.’Alongside the Snetterton one-two, another milestone this year has been signing sponsorship deals with Belstaff and Chalk Global. ‘We are just two young farm lads going racing,’ said Tom. ‘Then all of sudden we get this support and more people have started to take notice of us.’
‘The involvement with Belstaff has boosted our rider profiles,' he adds. 'It has been amazing to have the support from such an iconic brand. And this year we look really professional in our Belstaff race leathers. We hope to develop our relationship into a long-lasting association.’ Does the twins’ closeness affect them on the track? ‘I thrive off beating my twin brother,’ says Tom. ‘We have always been competitive on and off the track. In all honesty, when my helmet goes on he's just another racer, but I always wish the best for both of us.’ Tim agrees, but says there are times that they worry for each other. ‘Yes, when we are on track Tom is just another rider. But if I am not racing and he is, I do get nervous for him.’ Their current race series has a maximum age of 25, so the twins are already looking ahead to a future in the senior ranks. But even if success means no longer needing to do a day job, they both see the farm as an incredibly important part of their lives. ‘I’m not sure I’d want to stop working on the farm,’ says Tom. ‘The hard, manual work provides a great balance to the racing. Plus it is our family business, and I really can’t imagine life without it.’