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NAD TEAM TO CONTEST LIMITED NATIONAL RALLY CAMPAIGN IN 2016
Sometimes no matter how great your passion, work must come first……..
And so it is with Japie van Niekerk, the CEO of New Africa Developments. He has announced that he will only be contesting a very limited number of rallies in 2016. He will once again drive the New Africa Developments (NAD) Ford Fiesta S2000 when he does take part.
Van Niekerk has no fewer than five major shopping centre developments in the pipeline this year and he believes it is important that he focusses on the business side of things over the coming year. He says this is necessary to ensure his company continues to deliver “dynamic buildings in perfect locations” during what are undoubtedly challenging economic times.
Plans have not as yet been finalized but Van Niekerk will definitely contest the prestigious Sasol Rally on the 22nd and 23rd of April. The event takes place in the forests surrounding Sabie and being a resident of White River this is effectively Van Niekerk’s home event. He also plans to defend his run of consecutive wins on the grueling Tara Rally in Namibia towards the end of the year, and will be aiming for an unprecedented third outright victory. A third rally is planned for the NAD team, but no decision has been taken as yet as to which event this will be.
In addition to his business commitments over the coming year, family is also of utmost importance to Van Niekerk and this too has played a role in his decision to take something of a sabbatical from rallying. He is no longer the only sportsman in the family, with his son now also proving himself to be a keen competitor in a number of different sports. Van Niekerk believes it important to nurture a person’s sporting talents during their formative years, and the decision to reduce his rally commitments in 2016 will provide Van Niekerk with much needed time for his son.
Even with Van Niekerk’s reduced rally campaign in 2016 the NAD logo will nonetheless continue to feature prominently on all this year’s SA national championship rallies, with support for reigning driver’s champion - and arguably the undisputed crowd favourite - Mark Cronje in his new Volkswagen Polo.
Indeed 2016 will see NAD create what is effectively a “team of champions” with national rally champion Mark Cronje joined by the national mountain bike champion (marathon) Gawie Combrinck, who forms part of the newly established NAD PRO MTB cycling team alongside Nico Bell who is himself a past national series winner.