At its 2001 National Championship Awards Ceremony on 15 February 2002, Motorsport South Africa announced the introduction of MSA Lifetime Achievement Awards. These awards will be presented to competitors, clubs or administrators for Lifetime achievements in motorsport. The names of recipients will be recorded on a “Wall of Fame” in the MSA Boardroom. Two MSA Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented at the Banquet.
The first was presented to Sarel van der Merwe, a driver who has become a household name in South Africa with his many years of successful racing. Known as an outspoken character and an aggressive, skilful driver, his list of successes bears testimony to an outstanding racing career which has seen an amazing cross-over between rallying and circuit racing.
Sarel first made a name for himself when he won the SA Rally Drivers Championship in 1975. In 1977 he won both the Group 1 Championship as well as the SA Rally Drivers Championship.
After this came a string of National Championship victories, when he won the SA Rally Drivers Championship a further 8 times in a row, from 1978 to 1985. Not entirely satisfied with these victories, he also won the Daytona 24 hour race in the mid ‘80’s.
In 1988 he walked away with the SA Rally Drivers Championship once again, for a record 11 Rally Championship titles.
In the ‘90’s Sarel turned his energies to circuit racing, and won the SA Modified Saloon Car Championship in 1994. Back on the dirt, he won the Castrol International Rally in Swaziland in 1996.
In 1998 he was awarded National Colours for his many achievements, and to crown it all, he won the SA Modified Saloon Car Championship again in 2001.
While he has publicly announced that 2002 will be his last year of racing, his close association with motorsport will ensure that this charismatic personality is always at the forefront. In presenting this Life Time Achievement Award, MSA congratulated Sarel on a remarkable racing career.
The second MSA Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Alfie Cox, the Enduro and Off-road motorcyclist whose guts, skill and determination have made him one of the most successful SA motorcyclists of all time, and since the ‘80’s, one of non-circuit motorcycle racing’s most formidable competitors.
Between 1985 and 1999, his most recent victory in this category, he won the SA Motorcycle Enduro Championship a remarkable 10 times.
Also, since 1985, Alfie has won the SA Off-Road Motorcycle Championship, including one Sprint Championship title, a staggering 13 times over the last 17 years, with his most recent victory being in 2001.
In 1995 he was awarded the Gold Medal for the International Six Day Enduro in the USA, and in 1997 he received his National Colours.
Alfie has won the Roof of Africa an incredible 9 times, including 2001, and he has come 2nd twice in the Paris – Dakar, his most recent 2nd place being earlier this year.
It is highly unlikely that this skilful and tactical rider’s amazing achievements will ever be bettered, and he is still looking forward to competing in more of the gruelling events which have become his trademark.
MSA saluted Alfie on a fantastic career with the presentation of this MSA Life Time Achievement Award.
In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Awards, MSA presented two MSA Special Awards to Brian Cook and Nino Venturi for their many years of dedication to motorsport in Samcar and Formula Ford respectively.