Kelvin’s phenomenal first year in senior circuit racing (Dec 2011)

Kelvin van der Linde’s first year in senior circuit racing has been little short of phenomenal.  The talented teenager from Dainfern in Gauteng, who admires his multiple motor racing champion father Shaun above even the Michael Schumachers and Ayrton Sennas of the motor racing world, did what no 15-year-old had done before him in South African motor racing in 2011.

With the age limit for competing on a ‘long’ circuit reserved for ‘senior’ circuit racing lowered this year from 16 to 15 (on condition you’d turned 15 by June 30), the Dainfern College grade nine pupil made the cut by virtue of his June 30 birthday and started breaking records from his very first race.

At 14 he was the youngest driver ever to line up on the starting grid for a senior circuit race when he made his debut in the opening round of the Northern Regions Goldwagen Challenge at the Phakisa Freeway in the Free State in February. 

The 2010 South African Engen Karting champion in the Junior Rok class went on to win the opening class B race from pole position in his Ferodo/Autoquip VW Golf 1.

By the seventh round at Phakisa Freeway he had wrapped up the class B title (the youngest ever to do so) and followed this up by taking both class A wins in the penultimate round at Zwartkops Raceway west of Pretoria in October to secure the overall championship.  He is the youngest champion in the 22-year history of the Goldwagen Challenge.

Van der Linde also contested the Engen Volkswagen Cup, a national championship for drivers aged under 28 who compete in identical VW Polos.  Again, he was the youngest driver on the grid in the first half of the season and he distinguished himself by finishing this closely-contested series in third place in his Ferodo VW Polo after scoring four podium finishes and three second places.  Not surprisingly, he won the Rookie of the Year award.

The drivers who finished ahead of him were Devin Robertson, aged 19 and in his fourth year in the series, and Kosie Weyers, 20, who was in his third season.

The third generation racing Van der Linde is carrying on a proud family tradition and follows in the footsteps of grandfather Hennie, three times South African saloon car champion in the 1980s, father Shaun, a former single seater, production car and touring car champion, and uncle Etienne, a former national and international single seater champion.

And following close behind is 12–year-old brother Sheldon, a grade six pupil at Dainfern College, who already has two national age-group karting championships to his name.  He completed his first season in the Junior Rok class (for drivers aged 11 to 16) of the Engen National Karting Championship in style with a maiden win in his Ferodo/Autoquip Birel to finish the season in a creditable fifth place behind boys three and four years older than him.

Ends

Issued on behalf of Vanderlinde Racing by Peter Burroughes Communications.  For further information, please contact Peter Burroughes, tel 082 899 0101, e-mail bowtie@iafrica.com.

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