It is our sad duty to report the passing of former colleague and good friend, Steve Gray (pictured right), at the age of 71.

He succumbed at the weekend after a period of gradually deteriorating health, throughout which he remained determined to live his life as fully as possible, both personally and professionally.

Steve joined MT sister title Commercial Motor’s technical team in the early 1970s, having worked in a variety of jobs within the motor industry including a spell at the Transport Road Research Laboratory.

Following his promotion to Commercial Motor’s technical editor he led a strong team of highly-talented CV journalists consisting of deputy editor Bill Brock and technical writer Tim Blakemore.

Under Steve’s leadership, together they created an industry-standard road test programme for commercial vehicles with specific routes for long-haul, medium, and light vehicles as well as off-road trucks, which still forms the basis for our road tests today.

Readers quickly came to rely on the data from those tests as benchmarks for vehicle purchase and operation, while manufacturers often used Commercial Motor routes to evaluate their own products.

Steve was a great enthusiast for, and supporter of, the road transport industry with a passion that inevitably rubbed-off on his junior colleagues, whatever the job.

He also enjoyed getting behind the wheel, whether at product launches or participating in Commercial Motor’s test programme and was a shrewd and insightful judge of the vehicles he drove, being highly-respected within the manufacturing industry.

Steve subsequently took over the editorship of Motor Trader (one of CM’s stablemates at IPC Business Press) the weekly motor trade and automotive industry newspaper where he was especially keen to develop the talent of young journalists. He went to join the RHA, including a spell as editor of its in-house magazine, Roadway.

As well as being one of the forces behind TipCon, and then its successor Tip-Ex , he continued to write the occasional feature for Commercial Motor, but also enjoyed a change of direction as a freelance PR. His PR clients included Weightlifter, Dawbarn and Dennison.

Rick Nichols, director of the Weightlifter PPG Group, spoke for many when he said “Steve looked after our group publicity and organised our Tip-Ex show stand right up to the time when ill health forced him to have to give up.

"He was always enthusiastic with the tasks we gave him and could be relied on to produce excellent work. He was very well known and liked by everyone in our industry. I don’t think there will ever be someone of the same calibre to fill his shoes."

We send our deepest condolences to his widow, Linda, and his son and two daughters.