Kelvin van der Linde (17), winner of the 2013 International VW Scirocco R-Cup against drivers from 24 countries, has become the youngest recipient of the prestigious Bridgestone/Guild of Motoring Journalists Motor Sportsman of the Year award.
The award, which was made yesterday evening at a function in Johannesburg attended by the Who’s Who of South African motorsport, was accepted on Van der Linde’s behalf by his uncle, Etienne van der Linde, as he is in Germany attending official testing for the 2014 ADAC GT Masters Championship. He became the hottest property in South African motor racing with his VW Scirocco Cup victory and will be taking his burgeoning career to the next level with a full-time drive in the international GT Masters with the Prosperia C Abt Racing team, winners of the 2013 team title.
A former national karting champion and Volkswagen Cup champion, Van der Linde was the class of the field in this curtain-raiser series to the DTM (German Touring Car championship) and won five of the nine rounds, including the final round at Hockenheimring from fifth on the grid. 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.
There were seven other nominations for the prestigious award, which was first won in 1964 and has been sponsored by Bridgestone South Africa for the past 21 years.
Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton dominated the 2013 SA rally championship on their way to a second successive title, with seven wins out of eight events.
Brett Cummings was recognised for his heroic performances in the 2013 and 2014 Dakar Rally in South America, where he finished 43rd and 28th respectively. This year he was second in the Malle Moto class, where no service crew or any kind of assistance is permitted
Giniel de Villiers finished second overall and first in the class for petrol-engined 4x4 vehicles in the 2013 Dakar Rally and fourth overall and again first in his class in the 2014 Dakar.
Hudson Kennaugh, a former South African Superbike champion, won the 2013 British Superstock championship, one of the most hotly most hotly contested motorcycle championships.
Cristiano Morgado won the DD2 Master class at the Rotax Max World Karting Finals. It was his fourth Rotax Max world class title since 2003. The entry of 72 included some of the best karters in the world, many of whom were national champions.
Riaan van Niekerk rode a factory Broadlink KTM 450 Rally machine to 13th overall in the bike general classification on his debut appearance in the Dakar Rally in 2013. He followed this up with 12th overall in the 2014 Dakar in January.
Wade Young,17, became theyoungest competitor to win a South African enduro motorcycle championship when he took the honours in the E2 (200 cc) class in 2013 with victories in three of the six rounds. He also competed with distinction in the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Italy as well as in two of the toughest extreme enduro events in the world, the Erzberg Rodeo in Austria and the Red Bull Romaniacs in Romania.
Winner of the Colin Watling Award for special achievement in motor sport by someone other than a competitor was Beaulah Schoeman, former managing director of Motorsport South Africa. In a lifetime devoted to motorsport, her many achievements include becoming the first woman to serve on the International Motorcycle Federation (FIM) management committee and is a permanent member of the executive board of the FIM.
Also nominated for the Colin Watling Award was Richard Schilling. As President of the South African Cross Country Racing Commission he is responsible for one of the most successful forms of national motorsport and has helped put South Africa on the world cross country racing map. He was appointed to head up the FIA Cross Country Racing Commission in December.