Alan Curmi voted Malta Auto Racing Driver of the Year 2011

Saturday, January 28, 2012, 23:32

by Alfred A. Farrugia

The Malta Auto Racing Awards of the Year 2011 have generated a “weekly total reach” of “3,563 +113.5%” on the popular social media network according to Facebook’s own internal weekly statistics known as “Insights”, reported on January 23.

Alan Curmi was voted as the Malta Auto Racing Driver of the Year 2011, with Joshua Anastasi a close second. David Anastasi and Patrick Cassar were the other nominees. It is evident that Alan won the support of the race fans as a result of his success not only in events in Malta, but more likely because of his excellent results in circuit racing in Sicily, as one of the drivers of the Motorsport Team Malta led by Joe Anastasi. The full details of the voting process and results may be found on the “Malta & Auto Racing” page on Facebook.

One of the first auto racing pleas for a motor racing circuit in Malta – at that time for Ta’ Qali – was made more than 45 years ago, and yet such a project is still waiting to be approved, for any other location. Imagine the amount of tourism and economic activity such a racing circuit would have generated over all these years!

Joshua Anastasi and David Anastasi take part both in events in Malta and in circuit racing in Sicily, with success in their respective classes. Patrick Cassar is popular among the autocross racing fans, and he has been successful in the events promoted by the Assocjazzjoni Sport Muturi (ASM – Motor Sport Association).

The JBR-4 Kawasaki of Joshua Anastasi was voted the Malta Auto Racing Car of the Year 2011, followed by the Mini Doda driven by David Anastasi. The popularity of these racing cars is also attributed to their performance in circuit racing in Sicily, in addition to their participation in Malta.

8-year old Jean Sammut who races successfully in karting events in the United Kingdom where he lives with his Maltese parents attracted the highest number of votes – 158 – to claim the Malta Auto Racing Junior Driver of the Year 2011 Award. Jean is making quite a name for himself given the facilities that are available in the UK, and some of his votes were quite reasonably submitted by friends and race fans in the UK.  The similarly very young Jamie Mangion was the other nominee in this category. Jamie is also a very promising karting driver, but at present he has nowhere to race or practice his sport except at a commercial venue!

Frans Deguara – Official of the Year

The President of the ASM Frans Deguara who has a very long tradition of organizing auto racing events, particularly autocross and motocross at Ta’ Qali, was voted the Malta Auto Racing Official of the Year 2011, with 146 votes. Frans, together with his colleague Charles Bellia, has been promoting a project for an auto racing circuit in Malta with some support from Silverstone partners for a number of years.

The popular Secretary and Public Relations Officer of the ASM Johann Pace similarly attracted a high number of votes – 143 – for the same category reflecting the popularity of the leadership of the ASM. The other nominees in this category were Francis Joseph Azzopardi, who is active in both the ASM and in karting events promoted by the Island Karting Club (IKC), and Charles Cilia who has assisted the Island Car Club (ICC) for several years.

Adrian Cauchi, the Malta Karting Champion for 2011 was voted the Malta Auto Racing Kart Driver of the Year 2011. Since Adrian was not contested it appears that racing fans did not feel the need to submit their votes.

Aldo Vella who prepares the racing kart of the winning karting champion won the vote for the Malta Auto Racing Technical Award of the Year 2011. As Aldo does not have a Facebook page of his own, he had a disadvantage in attracting more votes. The other nominee in this category was Martin Spiteri who has a long period of service to auto racing in different disciplines.

While this new initiative was successful, it is clear that in Malta auto racing fans have not yet developed a culture of support for their favourite driver or official or technical engineer in the same way that is done in other countries, where they could shop for a wide range of products associated with their favourite teams and drivers. The “Malta & Auto Racing” page on Facebook will try to develop such a culture.

Thanks to the sponsors of these awards, the winners of these awards will get a year membership of towing and breakdown service for a private car from the Motor Towing Co-operative (MTC), and they will be able to celebrate together at a buffet dinner at the Kon Tiki Restaurant at the Radisson Blu Resort in St. Julian’s.

Consultations are currently going on among the winners of the Malta Auto Racing Awards of the Year 2011 on the possibility of opening such a celebration to other friends and race fans. Further details will be posted on the Malta & Auto Racing Facebook page in due course.

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