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The nominations for the 2013 Bridgestone/Guild of Motoring Journalists “Motor Sportsman of the Year” award have been announced, and now eight racing competitors will vie for the prestigious title to be awarded on Tuesday night.
The nominees, in alphabetical order, are:
Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton
South African Rally Champions for the second year in a row in a semi-privateer Ford Fiesta. The pair scored seven wins out of eight events against the factory teams from Toyota and Volkswagen. They totally dominated the championship, winning 47 of the 89 special stages contested.
Earned his entry into the 2013 Dakar Rally (motorcycle category) when he won the Dakar Challenge at the 2012 Australasian Safari in Australia. In January 2013 he finished his first ever Dakar Rally in 43rd place overall after losing lots of time and positions when he towed his Australian team-mate during one of the toughest stages.
Giniel de Villiers
Finished second overall and first in the class for petrol-engined 4x4 vehicles at the 2013 Dakar Rally. Driving a South African-built Toyota Hilux the 2009 Dakar Rally winner scored his fifth Dakar podium in seven races. It was his 11th successive Dakar finish and his seventh top-four placing in the past nine Dakars.
South African Superbike (1000cc) champion in 2004, went to the UK after racing in South Africa for many years and last year won one of the most hotly contested motorcycle championships, the British Superstocks.
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.
Kelvin van der Linde
At 17, and already a karting and Volkswagen Cup champion, won the 2013 International VW Scirocco R-Cup against drivers from 24 countries. He 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.
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 Peru, Argentina and Chile in January 2013. He followed this up with 12th overall in the 2014 Dakar in January.
At 17 became the youngest competitor to win a national enduro motorcycle championship when he took the honours in the E2 (200cc) class in 2013 with victories in three of the six rounds. He finished second in Class C1 and claimed a gold medal in the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in Italy.
There are also two nominees for the Colin Watling Award, which recognises significant contribution and achievement by a non-competitor in motor sport.
As President of the South African Cross Country Racing Commission, he and his team are responsible for one of the most successful forms of national motorsport and have helped put South Africa on the world map in this form of racing.
Started her career in motorsport at the Sports Car Club in 1966 as Secretary to Dave Clapham and then John Salters.
She later joined AA Motorsport as Assistant GM and later became the MD of MSA.