Lucky seven for Sippel, while Louw is 2013’s top lensman

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6.358710[1]The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) last night rewarded its members for outstanding work in the field of motoring journalism at the organisation’s annual Motoring Journalist of the Year awards, held to a capacity audience at the Protea Hotel Balalaika in Sandton. Organised by the SAGMJ and sponsored by Toyota Financial Services South Africa since 2013, the competition sets out to recognise and reward outstanding work by members of the SAGMJ while improving the standards of motoring journalism and photography in South Africa. According to Christo Valentyn, Chairman of the SAGMJ and organiser of the competition since 2011, this year’s competition again attracted entries from the very best in the field of motoring journalism and motoring photography. “While the total number of entries for this year’s competition is lower than in previous years, it’s encouraging to see so many entries from Guild members who do not usually enter. Rewarding work produced in 2013, this year’s results testify to just how competitive our journalists are.” But, says Valentyn, the focus is not only on rewarding excellence. “Part and parcel of the competition is our constitutional objective to raise the standards of motoring journalism across the board. As with the 2013 competition, awards were only presented if the entrant with the highest scores in each category achieved a score of at least 75%. Just because an individual may have garnered the highest score doesn’t automatically make him or her the winner as that score could potentially be very low.” It is this continual quest for excellence that makes the SAGMJ’s partnership with Toyota Financial Services a great fit. “Toyota Financial Services South Africa congratulates the winners in the various categories of the SAGMJ Motoring Journalist of the Year competition,” says Derek Leach, General Manager Sales & Marketing at TFSSA. “As proud sponsors of the Awards we applaud the winners on their ability to consistently deliver journalistic excellence in a demanding and ever changing environment.” New awards and specialist awards in 2014 Subsequent to the introduction of several specialist awards for the 2013 competition, this year saw an additional two new awards added to the MJOY fold. The first of these – the “Motorcycling Journalist of the Year” award – seeks to reward Guild members who focus on two wheels instead of four. Sean Nurse, currently part of the AutoDealer editorial team in Johannesburg and 2013 Guild Bursar, scooped up the inaugural award, for which he received a cash prize courtesy of MG Husqvarna. The second new award – the “Chairman’s Award for Service to Motoring Journalism”, aimed at recognising individuals who render an invaluable service to motoring journalism – was awarded to Athol van Heerden, Gauteng press fleet manager for Audi and Volkswagen South Africa. Athol’s professionalism and willingness to go way beyond the call of duty when dealing with the demands of the media has over the years ensured that he is one of the most respected individuals in the industry, and a worthy recipient of the inaugural award. Athol received a cash prize courtesy of the SAGMJ and Toyota Financial Services, as well as a two-night stay at The Munro Boutique Hotel in Houghton Estate to the value of more than R10 000. The SAGMJ also extends its thanks to the Automobile Association of South Africa, the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and Mercedes-Benz South Africa Corporate Affairs for their continued support and sponsorship of specialist awards. Sean Nurse won the “AA Road Safety Feature of the Year”, while Business Day’s David Furlonger received the “RMI Business, Industry and Technology Award”. Rapport InRat’s Justus Visagie won the “Environmental Feature of the Year”. A complete list of all award winners is included in the attachment herewith. Big prizes for top talent Bridgestone South Africa for the fifth time presented the Steve Dlamini Award for Excellence in Motoring Journalism, which is presented to an up-and-coming young journalist who excelled in the competition. With his consistent high quality work in the general award categories, it came as no surprise that 23-year-old Sean Nurse also scooped up this highly coveted award, which includes a cash prize courtesy of Bridgestone South Africa. Similarly, Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s Corporate Affairs division presented the second annual Editor of the Year Award to Wynter Murdoch, who came out tops following a peer-based vote. Murdoch, an industry stalwart currently attached to Future Group, edits no less than four publications, including Imperial Auto, Future Trucking & Logistics, Automobil and the Auto Annual. All in a lifetime’s work Of the three special awards made at this year’s function, Adri Bezuidenhout was honoured with the ultimate Lifetime Achievement Award. Adri’s career in motoring journalism spans several decades, with notable achievements including hosting the first Afrikaans language motoring programme on television in the 1980s and creating the legendary Wheels Annual. Adri has also shown considerable vision and have fully embraced the digital era with the latest digital-only version of Wheels. Adri received a cash prize courtesy of the SAGMJ and Toyota Financial Services, and a breakaway for two at Tangala Safari Lodge, part of the Thornybush collection, to the value of R10 000. The Big Winners The highlight of the evening was however the announcement of the prestigious Motoring Journalist of the Year and Photographer of the Year titles, for which each winner receives not only a trophy, but also a R10 000 cash prize courtesy of the SAGMJ and Toyota Financial Services South Africa. Entering in no less than six categories, covering both motoring and motorsport, Egmont Sippel’s consistent high scores secured him his seventh trophy as the SAGMJ’s Motoring Journalist of the Year. On the photographic side, Cape Town-based lensman, Desmond Louw, scored his first win as Photographer of the Year in this prestigious competition, with a portfolio that spans high-circulation glossy magazines to high-volume corporate brochures. Runner up in the motoring photography category, and twice-former Photographer of the Year, Seagram Pearce, scooped his third consecutive Carlie Norval Photograph of the Year Award, which is presented to the photographer of the most memorable photograph of the year. The award was created in 2012 in honour of the late Carlie Norval, who passed away unexpectedly in the same year. All entries into the SAGMJ / Toyota Financial Services Motoring Journalist of the Year competition is evaluated and scored by an independent panel of more than 30 judges. The panel consists of more than 30 judges, all experts in the fields of journalism, communications and marketing, and many with specialised knowledge pertaining to certain aspects of motoring. Ends

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