The two Johannesburg brothers and Dainfern College students who are making big names for themselves in motor sport, Kelvin (18) and Sheldon (15) van der Linde, recorded yet another historic milestone for this talented motor racing family last weekend (August 30 and 31) when they both took the lead in their respective circuit racing championships – in Germany and South Africa – after finishing second in the latest rounds.
Kelvin, the reigning international Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup champion and 2012 South African VW Polo Cup champion and South African Motorsportsman of the Year, and his German team-mate René Rast finished sixth and second in the two one-hour races that made up the sixth round of the ADAC GT Masters Championship at the Nürburgring in Germany on Saturday and Sunday.
They now lead the international championship for GT3 sports cars in their Prosperia C. Abt Audi R8 by three points with two rounds and four races remaining. Their next round is at the Sachsenring in Germany on September 21 and 22.
Sheldon, in his first season of senior national championship circuit racing after a distinguished career in karting that garnered him two national championships, finished second in both races that made up the sixth round of the South African Engen VW Polo Cup Championship at Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria on Saturday.
He now leads the one-make championship for Polos that his brother won in 2012 at the age of 16 and which he aims to better at the age of 15 in his Ferodo-backed car. He enjoys a six-point lead over two other drivers with two rounds and four races remaining. His next round is at Killarney in Cape Town on September 27.
This week they are both back at school in Dainfern preparing themselves for the all-important end-of-year exams, Kelvin in Grade 12 and Sheldon in Grade 9.
“Yes, it’s tough juggling school with racing and the air travel and time away from home that this entails, but it’s worth it,” acknowledge Kelvin. “I’m living my dream and making sure that I complete my schooling at the same time. I’m also very proud of my brother, who is making faster progress up the ranks of racing than I did and breaking records I established along the way.”
Modest and unassuming like his brother, Sheldon is also living his dream. Both boys grew up in a family steeped in motor racing and are third generation South African champions. Grandfather Hennie was a multiple national saloon car champion in the 1980s, while father Shaun and uncle Etienne are both national circuit racing champions in single seaters. Shaun is also a multiple former production car champion while Etienne won the European and German Formula Opel single seater championships in 1998.
“Both Kelvin and I have enjoyed the best support possible from our family and friends since we were small boys competing in karting,” says Sheldon. “We owe them a lot. Of course, having a grandfather, father and uncle who are all former champions and drivers from the top draw has helped and motivated us all these years.”