Unlike a lot of riders at this level, Tim Neave wasn’t born into a family of motorcycling enthusiasts. You could say that his entrance into the arena of National racing, came around simply by chance.
At 13 years old, he was gifted a Chinese 110cc dirt bike by his grandfather. However, riding didn’t become serious until a local racing hero, Pete Boast, moved into the small Lincolnshire village where he grew up.
At the time, Pete ran a UK Flat Track series and quickly noticed Tim’s potential to progress much further on two wheels. At 14 years old, he was entered into his first race, aboard a Honda CRF150, and went on to win the ACU Junior Flat Track Championship of 2010.
“Turning up at my first race was like entering a whole new world, I’d never seen anything like it. My weekends started being taken up by something completely different. Stepping into the world of racing was a huge eye-opener, I always thought farming would be my future.” Said Tim.
He raced for 3 more years in the UK Flat Track series, tallying up an additional two British championship titles and making his small mark on junior racing.
“If it wasn’t for Pete moving into the village, I don’t believe we would have gone racing at all. He made everything possible, took me under his wing, took me to race meetings, and taught me everything I needed to know as a young rider just starting out.”
In 2014, Neave made his debut appearance on the tarmac, lining up on the Thundersport GB, Minitweens Championship grid at 18 years old.
With only a few years of experience on two wheels, this was no easy task. However, he wasn’t shy of getting stuck in and giving it all he had.
The transition between racing flat track to road racing would be a challenge for any rider regardless of their natural ability.
The first day on the tarmac, I was riding it like an off-road bike. I think the biggest difference was how quickly it can all go wrong. The speeds are crazy, and damages were likely to be so expensive.
It was in 2014, that he was also presented with the honour of being invited to compete in the Superprestigio Flat Track race, held in the Olympic stadium of Barcelona.
At the event, organized by MotoGP hero, Marc Marquez, Neave competed against some of the best riders from a wide range of disciplines around the globe and went on to outqualify Marc Marquez himself.
It was a big deal to be invited to such a prestigious event. We didn’t know what we were doing there. It’s probably one of the biggest events I’ve ever done. Outqualifying Marc Marquez was unreal, I simply couldn’t believe I had something like that in me.
From 2015 to 2018, he focussed all of his efforts on road racing. He began competing on Superstock 600 machinery in many club racing events and also got the chance to prove his capability in the National Superstock 600 Championship.
He and his brother Tom worked tirelessly and made many sacrifices to run a privateer team ‘Team Neave Twins’.
The duo managed everything from team funding to bike maintenance, putting in no less than 100 percent of their efforts to attain good results and prove they were worth a seat with a professional team.
“That was a really hard time for both of us. We were working full time on the farm, as well as preparing bikes and gouging racing on weekends.
“I only came to realize what the potential could be in around 2017. Up until then, I was just doing it for the sake of doing it. I always felt like a flat track rider, never a road racer. Looking back on it, it was quite a bizarre feeling.”
In 2019, that big break came for Tim, when he was offered a ride in the Morello Kawasaki camp, making the step up to compete in the Superstock 1000 Championship. Difficulties faced the youngster as he got his first taste of racing in a professional team.
“I feel like my outlook on racing became clouded at that point. It was one of the worst years I’ve had, if anything would have finished me off in racing, it was that year. I feel like I was sold a bit of a false dream.”
Neave ended up leaving the team before the end of the season. He went on to join forces with Buildbase Suzuki for the final 3 rounds of 2019, noticing improvements from the off and achieving finishes inside the points.
“To go from struggling to get into the points to fighting for the top 5 weekends was a big achievement. You learn through your mistakes though and I feel I learned a lot about myself that year.”
His relationship with the reputable Buildbase Suzuki squad continued into 2020. Last year he made a big step forwards in his career, achieving his first National win and also securing 3rd place at Donington Park.
For 2021, their relationship will be continuing as he aims to take another step up in his racing career. With buckets full of talent and potential for the future, his prospects for the years ahead are looking bright.
“Going into the coming season I have so much more self-belief and I’m feeling comfortable”