Ferdi de Vos, Seagram Pearce and Gavin Foster crowned at the 2016 Toyota Financial Services SAGMJ Motoring Journalist of the Year Awards

1_patrick-leslie-bridgestone-sa-ferdi-de-vos-environmental-award-winner-bernard-hellberg-sagmjIt took 17 judges across 24 categories several weeks of marking to decide that the coveted title of the Toyota Financial Services SAGMJ Motoring Journalist of the Year for 2016 belonged to Ferdi de Vos.

De Vos was joined on the podium by Seagram Pearce, the Photographer of the Year, and Gavin Forster, the Motorcycle Journalist of the Year for 2016.

It is De Vos’s fourth title as Journalist of the Year. Seagram won the event in 2012 and 2014, while Foster won the inaugural Motorcyclist of the Year category last year.

De Vos, Pearce and Foster took home the silverware at a gala event held at the Birchwood Hotel near the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on 1 November. The event was attended by journalists and their families, media and representatives from the automotive industry.

“This year saw a significant amount of entries across almost all of the expanded 24 categories of the competition. With a large number of entries scoring above the minimum 75% and several closely contested prizes, it is clear that the quality of automotive journalism is alive and well in South Africa,” says Bernard Hellberg, Chairman of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists.

5-seagram-pearce-motorpress-carlie-norval-photograph-of-the-year-bernard-hellberg-sagmjThe competition was again made possible by various prize and category sponsors and most notably Toyota Financial Services, whose major donation ensured that category winners bagged between R 2 500 and R 5 000, and the overall winners took home a cash prize of R 10 000 each.

“We have seen the Motoring Journalist of the Year competition grow every year since we started sponsoring the event four years ago. With more categories to compete in than ever before and a repeat of last year’s record number of entries, I believe that all winners can rightfully claim to be at the top of their game,” says Derek Leach, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Toyota Financial Services South Africa.

De Vos proved that consistency and a wide field of interest were key in winning the Journalist of the Year category. He was runner-up in the Motoring categories for Magazines, Newspapers and Digital channels, while winning the Photojournalist, the Environmental and Digital Media Motorsport categories. The Environmental category is sponsored by Bridgestone South Africa.

De Vos also received a commendation for his entries in the Magazine Motorsport category and was runner-up in the Newspaper Motorsport category.

For Pearce, the road to the overall Motoring Photographer of the Year prize was paved with a win in the Motoring Photographer category and the Carlie Norval Photograph of the Year special category for the single best motoring photograph entered this year. The Carlie Norval Photograph of the Year is sponsored by Motorpress.

Foster, in turn, won the Magazine Motorsport, Magazine Motorcycles and Digital Media Motorcycles categories en route to taking the overall prize as the Motorcycle Journalist of the Year.

Several new faces were called to the podium for special and category awards this year. Most notable was Francisco Nwamba who won the Steve Dlamini Award for Excellence in Motoring Journalism. The Award, made in honour of the late Steve Dlamini, is sponsored by Bridgestone SA and encourages top young talent with a winning purse of R10 000. All entries from journalists below 26 years old are considered for this prize.

In other special categories, Egmont Sippel won the Business, Industry and Technology Award, sponsored by the Retail Motor Industry and Charleen Clarke took home the Commercial Vehicles Award, sponsored by Hino South Africa.

6_bernard-hellberg-sagmj-berenice-dlamini-francisco-nwamba-patrick-leslie-bridgestone-saAnother highlight of the evening was the awarding of special industry prizes that are not judged, but compiled from votes by the SAGMJ committee, Guild members and the automotive industry. In one of these categories, Patrick O’Leary of Fleetwatch was selected Editor of the Year and the legendary Sarel van der Merwe was recognised in the Lifetime Achievement Category for his achievements in motorsport. The Chairman’s Award for Service to Motoring Journalism was not awarded this year.

“We are emboldened by the number of entries in this year’s competition, which scored high enough to win a prize or receive a commendation and by the diverse content we received. From local and global motorsport, insight into new vehicle technologies and manufacturing techniques to coverage of global scandals in the auto industry, it is clear that South African motoring enthusiasts are spoilt for choice with good quality journalism on all media platforms,” says Hellberg.



Magazine (Motoring)

  • Winner: Ray Leathern
  • Runner-up: Ferdi de Vos
  • Highly commended: Gavin Foster, Mike Monk, Mark Smyth, Derek Watts, Nicola Furniss, Charleen Clarke, James Siddall

Newspaper (Motoring)

  • Winner: Egmont Sippel
  • Runner-up: Ferdi de Vos
  • Highly Commended: James Siddall, Hanjo Stier, Mark Smyth, Lerato Matebese

Digital Media (Motoring)

  • Winner: Egmont Sippel
  • Runner-up: Ferdi de Vos
  • Highly Commended: Ray Leathern, Hanjo Stier

Television (Motoring)

  • Winner: Hannes Visser
  • Runner-up: Waldo van der Waal
  • Highly Commended: Francisco Nwamba

Radio (Motoring)

  • Winner: Carl & Jeanette Kritzinger
  • Runner-up: Mark Smyth
  • Highly Commended: Ashref Ismail

Magazine (Motorsport)

  • Winner: Gavin Foster
  • Runner-up: Roger Houghton
  • Highly Commended: Ferdi de Vos

Newspaper (Motorsport)

  • Winner: Egmont Sippel
  • Runner-up: Ferdi de Vos
  • Highly Commended: Reuben van Niekerk

Digital Media (Motorsport)

  • Winner: Ferdi de Vos
  • Runner-up: Egmont Sippel

Television (Motorsport)

  • Winner: Plan-C Productions
  • Runner-up: Hannes Visser
  • Highly Commended: Waldo van der Waal

Radio (Motorsport)

  • Winner: Neels Rabe, Patrick Vermaak, Nick van der Meulen

Magazine (Motorcycles)

  • Winner: Gavin Foster
  • Runner-up: Clive Strugnell
  • Highly Commended: Hein Eksteen

Newspaper (Motorcycles)

  • No winner

Digital Media (Motorcycles)

  • Winner: Gavin Foster

Television (Motorcycles)

  • No entries received in this category

Radio (Motorcycles)

  • Winner: Carl & Jeanette Kritzinger
  • Runner-up: Johann van Tonder


  • Winner: Ferdi de Vos
  • Runner-up: Ian Groat
  • Highly Commended: Chris Wall

Photographer (Motoring)

  • Winner: Seagram Pearce
  • Runner-up: Matteo Conti

Photographer (Motorsport)

  • Winner: Waldo van der Waal

Photographer of the Year (Motorcycles)

  • Winner: Jay Groat


Bridgestone SA Environmental Award

  • Winner: Ferdi de Vos

Road Safety Award

  • Winner: Mark Smyth

Road Ecology

  • No entries received in this category

RMI Business, Industry & Technology Award

  • Winner: Egmont Sippel

Hino SA Commercial Vehicles Award

  • Winner: Charleen Clarke

Motorpress Carlie Norval Photograph of the Year

  • Winner: Seagram Pearce

Bridgestone SA Steve Dlamini Award for Excellence In Motoring Journalism

  • Winner: Francisco Nwamba

Editor of the Year

  • Patrick O’Leary

The SAGMJ Chairman’s Award for Service to Motoring Journalism

  • Not awarded in 2016

The SAGMJ Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Sarel van der Merwe

Motorcycle Journalist of the Year 2016

  • Gavin Foster

Photographer of the Year 2016

  • Seagram Pearce

Motoring Journalist of the Year 2016

  • Ferdi de Vos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *