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2012-11-22 12:03

HOW TO BE MOST POPULAR KID IN SCHOOL: Mark Cronje (left) speaks at Wonderboom South Primary School at the invitation of rally fan Brendon Bell (centre).

PRETORIA - Dust, dirt, roar of engines... Brendon Bell is an avid South African rally fan. He's been following motorsport for years and will be able to wax lyrical with avid petrolheads, even though he's only 10.

Brendon is possibly the youngest fan and friend of SA champion rally driver Mark Cronje.

When Cronje found out about his youthful admirer, including the fact that the lad would attend all the events driving with his dad in their family bakkie from Pretoria, he invited the family to attend the rest of the 2012 season as his guests.

'MARK IS MY MENTOR'


Brendon and his father, who live in Gezina, Pretoria, became part of the team even being invited to share podium celebrations. The boy said: “I’m passionate about rallying. I love being close to all the action and the dust and the dirt and the best thing is that I get to spend a lot of time with my dad, who introduced me to motorsport and rallying. I like Mark and think he’s the best rally driver I’ve ever seen.

“Mark is my mentor and inspires me to always do my best. I would like to compete in motorsport as a driver and be a successful businessman.”

In November 2012, Brendon became the envy of Wonderboom South Primary School in Pretoria when he introduced Cronje and the Sasol Rally team to his school.

The race-tuned Ford Fiesta, which Cronje and co-driver Robin Houghton used to dominate the eight-round 2012 championship, was on display.

Cronje, who will return to defend his title in 2013, commented: “Brendon is remarkably mature and single-minded for such a youngster and his dedication and commitment have been an inspiration to me.”

Cronje will return in the 2013 SA Rally championship which begins in kwaZulu-Natal, March 2013.

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