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Tschops Sipuka

Broadcast date : 27th August 2006

The motorsport game in South Africa has often been accused of being a bit of a closed shop, as far as new talent breaking-in is concerned.

Look down the entry lists of any major race meeting and youíll notice famous names, or rather surnames, as sons of racing drivers from the 1970s and 80s have been given a leg-up to the top rung of the ladder.

So, how difficult is it for an unknown driver, and a black driver at that, to make it to the big time?

Two guys who have cracked it are our own Gugu Zulu, who rallys for the BP Volkswagen team, and Tshops Sipuka, a member of the works Sasol Nissan Production Car squad.

Itís a long way from Qumbu in the Transkei to the glamour of Kyalami and Zwartkops. 

Tschops cut his driving teeth at the age of ten on a four-ton truck in Qumbu. Ten years later, a chance meeting with his uncle Vusi Majaj and multiple SA champ Terry Moss in a restaurant, opened the door for Tschops.

And Tschops Sipuka in 2002, as he became the first black driver to win a South African championship in the Engen VW cup. But Tschops didnít let it go to his head.

Tschops proved that 2002 championship was no fluke by winning the title again in 2003.

Heís noted for his amazing ability in the wet, and an extremely honest, clean driving style that holds fair play ahead of a win-at-all-costs attitude.

This was obviously a factor in his selection for the top Sasol Nissan Motorsport team to contend Class A in the SA Production Car Championship.

His most successful outing to date saw him lead the race in Port Elizabeth before being sent spinning out of contention by a competitor.

Other than that he has run right on the pace with his illustrious Nissan team mates, Leeroy Poulter and Gary Formato, and although Tschops remains realistic, he has that essential racerís attitude. No-one is about to beat him on sheer driving speed.

Gugu has been winning his class in rallying this year, so itís been a great 2006 for our rising black racing stars.

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