The nominees for the 2015 Bridgestone SA / SA Guild of Motoring Journalists “Motor Sportsman of the Year” award includes many leading lights in the motor sport world, and the vote for the winner was not an easy one.
The eleven nominees for the 2015 Bridgestone SA / SA Guild of Motoring Journalists “Motor Sportsman of the Year” award are:
The elder of SA’s Moto 3 brothers, Brad Binder stepped up to the Red Bull KTM Moto3 GP team in 2015 and impressed as he progressed through the season with strong performances and podium finishes later in the year.
Multiple South African quad racing champion Brian Baragwanath returned to the Dakar this year following a heart breaking debut in 2015 and came home third overall with three stage wins and an increasingly dominant performance as the race progressed.
After sacrificing almost everything to live out his dream, David Perel came so close to winning the 2016 Italian GT Cup aboard a Lamborghini Gallardo. David won twice as many races as the next best crew but lacked the necessary luck to clinch the title.
Evan Hutchinson took his seventh SA Cross Country Special Vehicle Drivers Championship in a dominant display in 2015. Often overlooked in the shadow of the mighty factory teams’ PR avalanche, his privateer efforts should not be overlooked.
Giniel de Villiers
Why Toyota attempted to take on the might of Peugeot and Mini minus turbocharging at Andes altitudes remains a moot point, yet Giniel de Villiers still dragged a car that was beaten before it started onto yet another podium.
Following his winning the Polish VW Cup two years prior, Jeffrey Kruger made the best of his prize drive to take second in the 2014 European VW Golf Cup and then taking that title to make him SA’s only international champion in 2015.
Stepping up from his VW Scirocco Cup title, Jordan Pepper impressed in the ADAC German GT championship in an excellent debut season where improved consistently as the year progressed despite the Audis being less competitive in 2015.
Dominant 2015 SA Cross Country champion Leeroy Poulter won every race of the year while fighting all the way for the SA rally championship, where he ended second before bringing his SA-built Toyota Hilux home fifth overall in Dakar 2016
Mark Cronje took his third SA Rally Drivers’ Championship – a record for a privateer with five wins in eight rounds despite a midseason co-driver change to make him sixth most successful SA rally driver in titles and fifth in wins with 22 victories.
Sheldon van der Linde
Already a double South African main circuit champion at the tender age of sixteen, Sheldon van der Linde drove a sensible season to win his second Engen VW Polo Cup championship as he prepares to embark on an international race career in Europe in 2016
South Africa’s hard enduro hero, Wade Young was on the podium on both of the world’s toughest races in 2015 at Austria’s Erdzberg and SA’s Roof of Africa. Mountain man (or is that man mountain?) Wade started the new season in style win in the Hells Gate in Italy.