Bridgestone SA /SA Guild of Motoring Journalists Motor Sportsman of the Year

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Kelvin van der Linde, 18, the reigning Bridgestone SA / SAGMJ Motor Sportsman of the Year, has made it two in a row.

Van der Linde, who last year at age 17 became the youngest ever recipient of this prestigious award, has again been honoured this year, as the 2014 Bridgestone SA / SAGMJ Motor Sportsman of the Year.

The talented track racing star received the award at a function in Johannesburg today for his exceptional performance in the prestigious GP Masters Series last year.

The function was attended by nearly 200 of the most influential role-players in South African motorsport, including Kelvin’s proud father and former national champion Shaun van der Linde, his mother Bernadine and younger brother Sheldon (also a finalist this year).

Kelvin went back to Germany in his matric year to compete in the prestigious championship in an Audi RS8 of the Prosperia C Abt team. He and partner Rene Rast was the class of the field and won the title against some of the finest sports car and F1 drivers in the world.

This world-class achievement follows the former national karting champion and Volkswagen Cup champion’s victory in the 2013 International VW Scirocco R-Cup against drivers from 24 countries.

During 2013 he was also chosen to attend the elite FIA Institute Young Drivers Excellence Academy as Africa’s representative after an exhaustive selection process. This year he will be taking his burgeoning career to the next level with a full-time drive in the international GT Masters for the official Audi factory team.

The award, which recognises and rewards outstanding and remarkable achievements by South African motor sport competitors, was first won in 1964. It has been sponsored by Bridgestone South Africa for the past 22 years.

There were ten other nominees for the prestigious award:

Brad Binder, 18, riding an Indian Mahindra motorcycle, was one of the stars of the Moto3 GP series. He led many Moto3 Grands Prix outright and achieved two podium finishes. He will this year ride for the KTM works team.

Elvène Coetzee in 2014 became the first female navigator to win the South African Rally Navigator’s Championship since 1960 as navigator to Leeroy Poulter.

Giniel de Villiers has over the past twelve years established himself as one of the greatest international motorsport stars to hail from South Africa. He again finished runner-up in the world renowned 2015 Dakar Rally, universally recognised as the toughest off-road event in the world. With the Imperial Toyota Hilux Dakar team De Villiers has finished on the Dakar podium three times in the last four years. He has been a three times recipient of the Bridgestone SA /SA Guild of Motoring Journalists Motor Sportsman of the Year title – in 2006, 2009 and 2012,

Jayde Kruger, South African Formula Ford and Volkswagen GTi Champion, went to the UK and won the ultra-competitive Dunlop British Formula Ford Championship at Brands Hatch in the last race of the season – a very significant title he shares with the likes of Ayrton Senna.

Jonathan Wing,17, from Hilton College in KwaZulu-Natal won the 2014 Handikart World Championship held in torrential rain in France. The only karter in South Africa who rides with a prosthetic left leg against able-bodied competitors, he started the final round in second place and opened up a gap of 4.5 seconds to win, giving South Africa it’s first Handikart World Championship.

Jordan Pepper, 18, was the Rookie of the Year in the 2013 International VW Sirocco Cup, Last year Jordan went back to Europe and won the Volkswagen Sirocco Cup against drivers from 23 other countries with one round to go. He also won the 2014 FIA Institute of Young Drivers Excellence Academy Award for Africa against drivers from twelve other countries.

Leeroy Poulter won the 2014 South African Rally Championship with navigator Elvéne Coetzee, giving Toyota its first rally championship title in twenty years. The versatile multiple South African champion also finished sixteenth overall in the 2015 Dakar Rally. He was awarded the Bridgestone SA /SA Guild of Motoring Journalists Motor Sportsman of the Year title in 2011.

The SA Karting Team won the Rotax Max Challenge in Valencia, Spain, last year, beating fifty other countries and 270 drivers in heavy rain. 15 000 Max Challenge karters from all over the world compete for a place in the grand finals making this championship one of the most competitive in the world. The team consist of Kohen Bam and Jordan Sherratt (Junior Max); Eugene Denyssen and Luke Herring (Senior Max); Benjamin Habig and Bradley Liebenberg (DD2); Cristiano Morgado, Erwin Sterne and Richard van Heerde (DD2 Masters)

Sheldon van der Linde, 15, Kelvin’s younger brother, won the 2014 Engen Volkswagen Polo South African National championship at his first attempt from a large and highly competitive field, becoming the youngest driver ever to achieve this. He also has .two South African karting championships behind his name.

Wade Young, 18, won the 2014 National Enduro Motorcycle Championship overall and the E1 (200cc) Class Championship for the second consecutive season. He won the E1 Class at each event and took five of the six overall victories. He also won the 2014 Roof of Africa in Lesotho for the second time. He also participated in extreme enduro motorcycle races internationally and claimed great results beating some of the world’s top riders. He has established himself as one of the youngest and best riders in the world.

Winner of the Colin Watling Award for special achievement in motor sport by someone other than a competitor was Toby Venter, CEO of Porsche South Africa.

Venter, a long-time competitor in South African motorsport and winner of numerous Porsche Challenges, bought the Kyalami Grand Prix racing circuit to save the iconic track for South African motorsport.

Also nominated for the Colin Watling Award was Glyn Hall. Hall, a multiple recipient of this award, is the inspirational leader of the Toyota Motorsport team who won both the South African Donaldson Cross-Country and SA Rally Championships. Eighteen Toyota Hilux vehicles built at his Hallspeed workshops competed in the 2015 Dakar, with five finishing in the top twenty of the car category.

Motor Sportsman of the Year since 1992
1992 Greg Albertyn
1993 Greg Albertyn
1994 Jan Habig and Douglas Judd
1995 Jaki Scheckter
1996 Wayne Taylor
1997 Etienne van der Linde
1998 Alfie Cox
1999 Thomas Scheckter
2000 Grant Langston
2001 Schalk Burger and Piet Swanepoel
2002 Tschops Sipuka
2003 Alan van der Merwe
2004 Cornel de Villiers
2005 Alfie Cox
2006 Giniel de Villiers
2007 Serge Damseaux
2008 Tyla Rattray
2009 Giniel de Villiers
2010 Ralph Pitchford
2011 Leeroy Poulter
2012 Giniel de Villiers
2013 Kelvin van der Linde
2014 Kelvin van der Linde

Colin Watling Award
1999 Glyn Hall
2000 Rory Byrne
2001 Peter du Toit
2002 Sarel van der Merwe
2003 Dave McGregor
2004 Alistair Gibson
2005 Dave Clapham
2006 Danie van Jaarsveld
2007 Glyn Hall
2008 Roger McCleery
2009 Peter du Toit
2010 Adrian Pheiffer
2011 Kyalami Marshals’ Association
2012 Glyn Hall
2013 Beaulah Schoeman
2014 Toby Venter

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