Five nominees for Bridgestone South Africa – Guild of Motoring Journalists


“Motor Sportsman of the Year”

There are five nominations for the 2011 Bridgestone/Guild of Motoring Journalists “Motor Sportsman of the Year” award, which will be announced at a special function in Johannesburg on February 28. There are five nominees for the Colin Watling Award, which recognises significant contribution and achievement by a non-competitor in motor sport.

This is the 18th year that Bridgestone has sponsored the most prestigious award in local motor sport, which dates back to 1965 and recognises and rewards outstanding and remarkable achievements by South African motor sport competitors.

The nominees, in alphabetical order, are:

Motor Sportsman of the Year South Africa:

David MacFadden, former motocross rider, competing on a 600 cc Kawasaki motorcycle, won the ultra competitive South African Supersport Championship in 2011 in only his second year of competition.

Cristiano Morgado won the Master category in the Rotax Max World Karting Finals, the biggest international karting event in the world, held in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi. He beat drivers from 60 countries to win a second world title following his victory in 2004, when he won the Senior category in the Rotax Max World Finals.

Sheridan Morias competed with distinction in the international FIM SuperStock 1000 Championship. Riding a Kawasaki for the Italian Lorenzini team, the three-time SA Superbike champion achieved a podium result and finished finished 10th overall. He also found time to compete in the national Superbike championship on a Kawasaki and finished runner up despite missing three of the eight rounds, winning eight out of 10 races contested.

Leeroy Poulter’s second season in the national rally championship and first in the premier S2000 class was sensational to say the least. Driving a factory Toyota Auris, he won his second event, the Sasol Rally, and went on to also win the MTN Polokwane Rally, finishing the season as the highest ranked driver. A former national production car champion, he graduated to S2000 after winning the S1600 championship in his debut season in 2010.

Michael Stephen, who added the Bridgestone Production Car Championship to the numerous titles he has won in karting and saloon cars. He claimed the 2011 title in convincing fashion in a class A Audi S4, with 10 race wins, 22 podium finishes, two pole positions and five fastest lap times. He went into the final round of the 2011 season with a one point deficit to the championship leader and emerged more than 20 points to the good after winning all four races.

Colin Watling award:

The marshals of the Kyalami Marshals’ Association, a small core of volunteers who tirelessly support motor sport in a most thankless and unglamorous way. It is not only at Kyalami where they are active; the same people work at other circuits and on rallies and off road races, helping out where they can for no other reason than their dedication to motor sport. Out of the limelight, on regional events of all descriptions, you will inevitably find the same enthusiasts doing duty. Without these people, motor sport would be much the poorer.

Yoshyiaki Nakamura, CEO of Honda South Africa, has promoted and supported the South African Motorcycle Riding Academy, a school that uses Honda’s NSF100 for instruction and racing by youngsters of all races and genders from 8 to 13 years old. This class of racing has grown to such an extent that there was a Honda NSF100 international race meeting Red Star Raceway in November 2011.

To allow riders to move up to more powerful machines, Nakamura San has imported 10 Honda CBR 250R production bikes for regional racing and 15 NSF 250 RC 4-stroke bikes to compete in the new international Moto3 class in South Africa. The support and enthusiasm that he has given to South African motorcycle racing and the training of youngsters to progress through the ranks has been immense.

Mike Rowe, motor sport manager of Volkswagen, is responsible for the successful management of three separate national motor racing series supported by Volkswagen. His dedication and enthusiasm has seen these categories grow and make a significant contribution to local motor racing. The Volkswagen Cup one-make series for VW Polo Vivos has grown into one of the best-supported and most popular racing categories, with guest drivers like Sarel van der Merwe a popular feature.

Richard Schilling, president of the Motorsport South Africa Off Road Car Racing Commission and a former president of MSA, was appointed in 2011 to represent South Africa on the FIA Cross-Country Rally Commission. A strong proponent of South African motor sport internationally, he has dedicated many hours to the successful management of off road racing, arguably South Africa’s most successful non-circuit racing formula. He also serves on the MSA Rally Commission. He is a sporting member of the MSA National Court of Appeal, dedicating many hours to ensure fair arbitration of motor sport disputes and has served on this body for a number of years.

Clare Vale is a racing driver who heads up MSA’s Women in Motorsport initiative, which organised a highly successful Women’s Day event at Zwartkops highlighting the achievements of women in the sport as well as encouraging female competitors to enter motor sport. . Clare has worked tirelessly to encourage women to race and to achieve the best results they can. In 2011 she started the Women in Road Safety forum, a gathering of influential and powerful women in motoring dedicated to highlighting the need for more to be done in promoting road safety. She is a successful fundraiser for worthy causes and uses motor sport as a vehicle to achieve this. She has become an effective ambassador for motor sport and is much more than a racing driver.