Bridgestone South Africa

Giniel de Villiers crowned Motor Sportsman of the Year 2009

Feb 24, 2010

Giniel de Villiers, who became the first South African to win the international Dakar Rally, the world's toughest motor race, is the 2009 Bridgestone/Guild of Motoring Journalists Motor Sportsman of the Year.

There were six other nominations for the prestigious award, which was first won in 1964 and has been sponsored by Bridgestone for the past 17 years. They were Gavin Cronje, winner of the inaugural Formula Le Mans Cup for prototype sports cars; Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries, winners of the Sasol Rally Championship for the second year in a row; Evan Hutchison, winner of the Special Vehicle category of the Absa Off Road Car Championship as well as class A7 of the Sasol Rally Championship; Sheridan Morais, who won both the Interfile Superbike and Supersport championships in the same year; Ralph Pitchford, who started the year finishing second in the Dakar Rally as co-driver to American Mark Miller and ended the year as champion off road racing production car co-driver with Nissan Motorsport's Duncan Vos; and Vos, champion off road production car driver for the third year in succession.

Winner of the Colin Watling Award for special achievement in motor sport by someone other than a competitor was Peter du Toit, owner of the popular Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria, which he rebuilt and revived, and who has done more than anyone to popularise historic car and bike racing, importing cars and drivers from overseas for his annual International Historic Car Racing Festival.

Also nominated for the Colin Watling Award were Glyn Hall, who, in his last year as motor sport manager of Nissan, saw his off road team win an unprecedented ninth successive driver's and co-drivers championship and who also managed a privateer team of South African-built Nissan Navaras that finished fourth, fifth and 21st in the Dakar Rally; and Jan Hartzer, who has been in the forefront of filming and production of television programmes of all kinds of motor sport both on tar and in the dirt for many years, distinguishing himself by providing a service to many of the non-mainstream and grass roots forms of motor sport

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Bridgestone South Africa

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