At a ceremony held at the Kyalami Country Club last night, the top South African motor sportsmen from 2016 were honoured for their achievements at the annual Motor Sportman of the Year awards.
A total of 8 awards were given for various categories, but the top honour of South Africa’s Motor Sportsman of the Year for 2016 was given to none other than Brad Binder after his dominant 2016 FIM Moto 3 World Championship.
Named in honour of motorsport photographer Colin Watling, the Colin Watling award for extraordinary contributions to motorsports in SA was awarded to the owner of Zwartkops Raceway, Peter du Toit, for his dedication to the sport in all its varying forms.
Six new awards were introduced at this year’s event, seeking to reward exceptional competitors across varying disciplines.
Joey Evans picked up the Off Track Rider of the Year award after completing the Dakar Rally last year. What makes his feat so incredible is that Joey was paralysed in a race crash 10 years ago. Not only did he learn to walk again, but he overcame his KTM being run over during the Dakar, fixing it on the side of the ‘road’, to complete the race.
Multiple discipline racer, Leeroy Poulter, took the title of Off Track Driver of the Year for his titles as SA Rally and Cross Country Champion.
In addition to his overall title, Brad Binder also picked up the Circuit Rider of the Year award, whilst Sheldon van der Linde, winner of 4 European Audi Sport TT Cup races, took the Circuit Driver of the Year award.
12 year old Jayden Els took the Junior Driver of the Year award after winning the Rotax World Mini Max Karting Championship last year. Junior Rider of the Year went to 15 year old Branden Staffen, winner of the KTM 390 Cup.
Other nominees that were recognized for their efforts were:
- Bradley Liebenberg, who took his third premier SA Rotax DD2 karting championship in 2016, alongside strong multiple race-winning Engen VW Polo Cup campaign.
- Circuit driver David Perel stepped up to the Blancpain GT Championship driving for Kessel Ferrari, scoring several AM class wins, pole positions and fastest laps through the year.
- Giniel de Villiers once again flew the SA flag high on Dakar and delivered a fine South African Rally Championship performance.
- Jonathan Aberdein scored podiums in German ADAC Formula 4 championship and won 14 of 16 rounds of Formula 4 UAE series run by the end of January.
- SA’s Bentley racer, Jordan Pepper enjoyed a strong second season in the highly competitive ADAC GT Masters with pole positions, fastest laps and podium finishes.
- Circuit rider Jordan Weaving who won the British Super Stock 600cc championship.
- Stephen Simpson won his class in the 2016 Daytona 24-hour for JDC-Miller Motorsports before winning twice more en route to third in the US IMSA Prototype Challenge.
The Colin Watling Award nominees to miss out were:
- Motorsport South Africa CEO, Adrian Scholtz for his efforts of over 30 years of motorsport administration.
- Des Easom and the Western Province Motor Club for securing Killarney as a World Rallycross venue and Zwartkops boss.