TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular former champion TT sidecar racer from Stourbridge who has died at the age of 75.

Warwick Newman died on December 22 at his home in Bridgnorth Road, Wollaston, from heart failure - his family have said.

Born and bred in the village, Warwick started riding motorbikes as a teenager and he then moved onto motocross.

He started to race in the Isle of Man TT in the 1970s and he became part of race folklore in 1986 when he won the Isle of Mann TT 1,000 cc sidecar championships with his partner Eddie Yanker - with the win making the front page in The Stourbridge News.

He retired from the sport the following year, however, after starting a relationship with Gwynneth Brookes whom he went on to marry in 1995.

Following Gwynneth's sad death in 2004 - Warwick reignited his interest in riding and he began to enjoy social rides out with a group of friends from Wollaston known as the 'biker buddies' and they took many touring holidays in Europe.

His niece Jo Pegler-Hadlington said: "He was a brilliant rider and passionate about his riding."

She described him as a "character" - adding: "He was very witty, very quick and very sarcastic."

Close friend Michael Boddice Jr, whose father Michael Boddice Sr - a nine-time TT champion - used to race against Warwick, added: "He was definitely one of a kind. He had an answer for everything. He was always funny, always comical, but when it came to racing he was 100 per cent committed."

Aside from his passion for racing, Warwick worked in Cradley Heath High Street as an apprentice bookkeeper after leaving school; he then moved to CMT in Cradley Heath where he was an accountant.

After being made redundant, he joined Autoguard Alarms in Wollaston where he worked as operations manager until he retired.

He was a popular figure in Stourbridge and Wollaston, his niece told the News, particularly in The Princess pub where his late wife had been the licensee until the early 1990s.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend his funeral which will be held at Stourbridge Crematorium at 4.10pm on January 31, followed by drinks at The Greyhound pub, Norton Road, Stourbridge.

It promises to be a fitting send-off which will see Warwick transported on his final journey in a sidecar hearse.

Relatives have requested donations instead of flowers, which will go to the British Heart Foundation.