Two of South Africa’s most recognizable motorsports personalities Xolile Letlaka and Batshobonke (Tschops) Sipuka each received a Minister’s Excellence in Sport Award at the 15th Annual Sports Awards held last Saturday.
Presented by The Honourable Minister Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, the two racing stars received their award following their nomination by Adrian Scholtz, CEO of Motorsport South Africa.
Letlaka continues to grow in stature within motorsport, and teamed with veteran racer Tschops Sipuka, became the first all-Black crew to win a round of the South African Endurance Series last year – twice.
The pair took overall honours at both rounds held at the fearsomely fast East London Grand Prix Circuit in May and October, powering their Into Africa Mining Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to third place in the final SAES championship standings, ranged against 103 other competitors which include some of the biggest names in motorsport.
“This award is a victory for motorsport and a victory for change in motorsport. It confirms that when we work together we can achieve great things”, said Xolile. “I’ve been doing my bit and rose to the top and won a few races. Motorsport has given me a platform to advocate unity and diversity across all spheres of the sport as well as showcase the young talent we have in South Africa”.
“It’s a great honour to be recognized for my achievement in motorsport. When I started out, all I wanted was to consistently do the best I could. The Excellence in Sport Award creates a range of emotions when I think back to where I started. Most of all though, I hope my award inspires the next generation of young racers to persevere and show resilience”, said Tschops.
Adrian Scholtz added: “Xolile and Tschops made local motorsport history last year by becoming the first all-Black driver pairing to win an endurance race held in South Africa. Just to underline this achievement, they then went on to win another race before the year was out. MSA extends its congratulations to Xolile and Tschops, both for their on-track achievements and their award from the Minister.”
Xolile and Tschops have a busy year ahead, competing in both the SA GT National Championship as well as the SAE where the goal is simple – to become the first team of colour to win the South African Endurance Championship.
The Into Africa Mining Team hits the track at Red Star Raceway on 2nd April for the opening round of both the SA GT National Championship and the South African Endurance Championship.
Images: David Ledbitter
Issued by Eric Buijs (Media Manager SAES)
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