Teenage driver on top again

The win­ners of the an­nual Bridge­stone/SAGMJ Mo­tor­sports­man of the Year award have been an­nounced

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - MO­TOR NEWS RE­PORTER

KELVIN van der Linde, the 18-year-old reign­ing Bridge­stone SA/South African Guild of Mo­tor­ing Jour­nal­ists Mo­tor Sports­man of the Year, has made it two in a row. Van der Linde, who last year at age 17 be­came the youngest re­cip­i­ent of this pres­ti­gious award, has been hon­oured again this year.

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

Van der Linde 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 were 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 take his bur­geon­ing ca­reer to the next level with a full-time drive in the in­ter­na­tional GT Masters for the of­fi­cial Audi fac­tory team.

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

There were ten other nom­i­nees for the pres­ti­gious award, in­clud­ing Moto3 GP rider Brad Bin­der, na­tional rally nav­i­ga­tor cham­pion El­vene Coet­zee, Dakar star Giniel de Vil­liers, Bri­tish For­mula Ford Cham­pi­onship win­ner Jayde Kruger, Jonathan Wing, who won the 2014 in­ter­na­tional Handikart Cham­pi­onship, Jor­dan Pep­per, who won the 2014 FIA In­sti­tute of Young Driv­ers Ex­cel­lency Award for Africa, SA na­tional rally cham­pion Leeroy Poul­ter, En­gen Volk­swa­gen Polo Cham­pi­onship win­ner Shel­don van der Linde, and Wade Young, who took the SA na­tional En­dure Mo­tor­cy­cle Cham­pi­onship.

The re­main­ing fi­nal­ist was the en­tire SA Kart­ing Team which won the Ro­tax Max Chal- lenge in Spain last year.

The win­ner of the Colin Watling Award for spe­cial achieve­ment in mo­tor sport by some­one other than a com­peti­tor was Toby Ven­ter, CEO of Porsche SA. Ven­ter, a long-time com­peti­tor in lo­cal 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 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 in the top 20 (car cat­e­gory).

Kelvin van der Linde, above, took the Mo­tor Sports­man of the Year award for the sec­ond year in a row. Left: Win­ner of the Colin Watling Award for spe­cial achieve­ment in mo­tor sport is Toby Ven­ter, flanked by Den­nis and Hester Watling.

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