Tschops Sipuka - a humble legend on and off the track

2016-07-20 06:00
Tschops Sipuka in action in the Bridgestone Production car at the East London Grand Prix Circuit.

Tschops Sipuka in action in the Bridgestone Production car at the East London Grand Prix Circuit.

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DESPITE carrying the accolade of being the first black South African Motorsport Champion who represented his country at the international championships, Tschops Sipuka remains a humble soul who believes that only the hand of God drives him to achieve greatness in life.

A successful businessman and married father of two girls, Sipuka has met and conversed with the great and grandest, like Nelson Mandela.

He has also learnt hard lessons which formulate a curriculum of knowledge, ethics and values which he draws from in life.

It is, however, in the Bible that as a firm believer and motivational speaker Sipuka finds much wisdom, he said.

Born and bred in Qumbu in the Transkei, Batshobonke Sipuka, aka Tschops, has achieved legendary status in the traditionally White sport.

He made history by becoming the first racer to lead a national status championship; the first man of colour to drive the Super-truck; has competed in the 25-hour cup race at Spa Franchorchamps in Belgium and came third; participated in the Proton Satria Cup Race at the Sepeng F1 Circuit in Malaysia and has achieved 12 pole positions and 14 podium finishes out of 20 races, which was a first for the Engen record book. These are just a few of the highlights in a racing career that spanned seven years, from 1998 to 2005.

“I fell in love with motor racing growing up in the early 1980s – when it was the in-thing in Europe. In 1998 I got involved in it by chance when a relative, who worked at BP, met my idol Terry Moss who facilitated my internship at Volkswagen SA – where I did VW Motorsport,” said Sipuka.

“I loved driving and I did well at racing. But, it is Terry who was instrumental in my whole racing career,” he said, adding that he went straight to saloon motor racing and never raced in a go-kart, which many racers start off with.

Outside of South Africa, Sipuka always wanted to do the best he could and that was noted by Madiba whom he met at Qunu.

“Growing up in the rural village of Qumbu, with no street lights, all I had to look out for when driving were young chicks, goats and pigs. My capital city was Mthatha. But, I competed against the best in the world. So, I say, impossible is nothing!

“I wouldn’t like my daughters to take up the sport, but to concentrate on education and rather do the sport that they loved and not to follow in my footsteps for fear of disappointment.

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