the disc jockey who never sold his ferarri

This week’s Varsity Cup alumni is Sasha Martinengo, one of my favourite people in the world. We had a great chat I thought I’ll share the results.

He once thought he’d be a businessman and save the world from inflation… Ok, not really, but Sasha Martinengo’s reality is definitely a kaleidoscope of interests from music, to rugby, to motorsport (and everything relating to sport in between).

It is, however, a destiny that is nothing like he originally envisaged…

Initially, his involvement with sport appeared to come to an abrupt end, with a possible tennis career crushed by a knee injury, followed by a stint in the army.

From there, he enrolled at Wits Technikon – now the University of Johannesburg – with every intention of becoming a businessman. Upon registration, however, he discovered that his chosen course had been cancelled and, instead, found himself in a Marketing Management class.

At the same time, finding his love for tennis far from tamed, he juggled coaching and classes, until a burgeoning attachment to music and radio began surpassing all. And so, with an incomplete qualification, outmatched by a complete commitment to his passion for music, Martinengo left UJ and worked for BMG (now owned by Sony Music) in the Public Relations department, followed by a period at Virgin Records, all the while knocking on as many radio doors as possible.

A door in the form of national broadcaster Radio 5 widely opened, when a certain Mr Alex Jay, the then host of the afternoon show, was sick. After listening to his stand-in, this former UJ student realised he could do better.

“I listened to him and said to myself, ‘If that guy can do it, so can I’,” he told

Martinengo struck gold in what was then a small industry where, “unfortunately at the time someone had to die or be deported to take their place”.

“Luckily enough someone did (get deported) and I got my chance (that is),” continued this jock who confesses to having recorded a mini radio show at the tender age of 13 years.

(The year he got his chance was in 1994, and after just 45 minutes of training, Martinengo became an intrinsic part of what is now 5FM.)

Martinengo’s appreciation of sport is indeed diverse. As a rugby fan, this well sought-after MC and voiceover artist followed the Varsity Cup tournament closely this year and is proud of the successful campaign enjoyed by his former university.

Although he didn’t see any live games, he praised the importance of the competition: “Rugby is part of our culture and competitions like this are a fundamental part of that culture. This is where our future Boks are, the future of South African rugby depends on competitions of this nature.”

Although Martinengo is a great supporter of South African rugby, and despite his Italian heritage, his other team of choice is surprisingly France.

“I am a Bok first and foremost, but I support the Bulls and France,” said Sasha.

“People expect me to support Italy, but France plays an enterprising, skilful game that is incredible to watch,” he explained, adding his love of rugby to his myriad of sporting interests.

Not shy and known for sharing many of his interests on air, especially his love of motorsport, and in particular his unwavering passion of the Ferrari Formula One team, F1 Sasha (as he is worldly-known) admitted that his lust for cars began at a young age, highly influenced by his Italian heritage and father.

He said: “My dad, who didn’t even like cars or the sport, used to get invites to Kyalami and he would take me with him. I was a kid who didn’t like school too much, so I found myself learning about cars instead.”

This passion has translated into a television career, too.

The F1 man has been with SuperSport since 2002, as the anchor of the popular Formula One Magazine Show, as well as anchoring all F1 GP’s during the season.

In fact, when we caught up with him he was packing for the recently-held British Grand Prix. F1 is definitely Martinengo’s true love; the former marketing student insisting that even if his business career had taken off, he’d still be working within F1, somehow.
Catch Martinengo on 5FM weekdays from 9am to 12pm and on SuperSport’s Formula One Magazine show. And follow his ventures on Twitter – @F1Sasha

By Kate Nokwe

This article is a product of Varsity Cup


a date with rugby destiny

I have been having one of those Months, when whatever you pin down on paper just doesn’t feel worth the trouble. While in between trying to fully live up to my commitment with Varsity Cup. So while I’ve seem to have ‘escape’ my blogging state, I thought I’ll share with you my article published last week.

My chat with one of South Africa’s rugby scribe whom I had a pleasure of interviewing past week… I hope you enjoy it.

With a nickname like ‘Tank’, it comes as no surprise that rugby was destined to become Andrew Lanning’s forte.

Born in the heart of South Africa – Johannesburg – Lanning adopted Cape Town as his home from an early age (where he was schooled) and today is an “Ikey Tiger through and through”.

Although he graduated from UCT in Social Science, majoring in Economics, with a post-graduate diploma in Marketing Management, this former Ikeys student and first team star is no stranger to the media, as he is the editor of one of SA’s leading sport news source – Sport24.

Rugby, as one would expect, has always been Tank’s first love.

After many happy amateur years at UCT, he made his Western Province debut in the late 1990s; however, a serious neck injury cut short a promising first-class rugby career.

“It was difficult having to deal with that, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved (with rugby) on the media side,” says Tank, who describes himself as a “once diabolic student, with nothing but rugby and a good old beer on my mind”.

Tank has made peace with his past and his present, however, adding in conversation with “I love writing, enjoy the commercial side of things and generally love my job.”

He started as a picture researcher and marketing novice in the sports and lifestyle publishing industry, followed by heading up their sports photo agency, before starting the online division. Later he became part of the Touchline Media family before switching across to

Lanning covered his media bases through a Media and Management course he completed from Stellenbosch Business School, as well as a ‘Publishing on the Web’ course at Stanford University in California.

As a publisher, Tank is at the forefront of sports tournaments and the Varsity Cup is no exception.

This rugby pundit reckons this year’s tournament was bigger not only because of the media attention, but due to the way it was run. Even with a number of changes he would like to see in 2012, he still praises the platform this competition is providing for amateurs.

“It introduces them to great grinding, exposure they didn’t receive in high school and opens phenomenal doors – without a doubt coaches are watching closely,” he concludes.

Ecstatic about his former club finally clinching the big one, Tank is a realist and councils that hard work awaits the champions, as teams like UJ and Tuks are proving to be competitive which is a big threat to powerhouses like Maties and, of course, the new champs, UCT.

Asked what he regards as the highlight of his provincial career, without hesitation, he reflects on his days at WP, particularly “hammering the Blue Bulls at a packed Newlands”, as he happily puts it. “I was a laaitjie and I think Naas (Botha) was playing. It was a special beating them in front of our home crowd.”

Lanning is a man who has played both sides – realising his dream as participant on the field and as observer par excellence off the field; all of which began with a spell at the University of Cape Town.

Follow Tank on Twitter – @TankLanning

By Kate Nokwe

This article is a product of Varsity Cup

almost here

Two months ago I let you in on what I’ve been up to, and assured you that I’ll be back to the usual blogging as soon as I can. After a week of technical difficulties, you’ll be happy to know this my last update before all that is ‘in(TRACK)suits’ resumes.

As you might remember I have been busy with Varsity Cup. A project that introduced me to a number of exciting people. Talented individuals whose careers I’ve followed from TV, Radio and now via Social Media. (I’ve explained what this -project – entails here)

Therefore if you’re keen to read those articles here they are:

Liezel van der Westhuizen

John Dobson

Ashwell Prince

Juan Smith

Kyle Brown

Brenden Nel

Sias du Plessis

Breyton Paulse

My work for Varsity Cup opened another door in the form of I have been writing Super Rugby Previews for this growing website. A challenging task I tell you. To have to take an in-depth look at a team’s ever changing structure, scrutinize their past performances in order to have a ‘worth-the-read’ preview is one of the few things I’ve never envisioned. Nevertheless, I was only too happy to accept. Once a week “Kate Nokwe reports” appears on the page, I must admit, I get excited each time I see that. Do check them out here, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

In the case you have not been following me on Twitter and we are not friends on Facebook, SuperSport is looking for a female Rugby presenter dubbed ‘Lady Rugga’. SS embarked on a nation-wide journey in search of this vibrate, camera-friendly (and tons of other adjectives) young lady who knows the difference between a ‘tight-head and a maul’. Seeing I grew up in a city that appreciates Rugby, arguable more than it does Football I reckoned I’d give this a try, besides Sports Broadcast is the ultimate dream.

After a nerve-wrecking audition in front of one Derek Alberts, Crystal Arnold and Leigh-Ann Paulick I made the cut and would later be in the 157 ladies who made round one. Saturday 14th came the TOP 50 announcement. A whole day in spasms with nerves I made the cut yet again and will now spend the rest of this week biting the remainder of my nails in hope of a spot in the TOP 12.

For the latest Press Release from SuperSport regarding the competition click on the link and go ‘Lady Rugga’…. Unfortunately the direct link wouldn’t upload.

A great thank you for all the messages of support. I’ll keep you updated on the competition and anything else that might just be in store for this Kat.

Till then…

just a second

It has been two post too long since I’ve drafted a few words down on this page. I’ve received emails, Tweets and Facebook messages (thank you) all asking if ‘in(TRACK)suit’ is no more. No, Sam’s post was not my good-bye I am still very much here.

If you remember this post I mentioned a change of fields; of chasing a dream; looking for a door. Any door. Well a door in the form of Varsity Cup opened and I gladly walked in.

If you don’t know (which rock have you been living under?), Varsity Cup is only thee biggest University Rugby tournament of our times and I joined its media team on free-lance basis. For the duration of this year’s tournament yours truly will be producing at least one article a week focusing on past students who went to the universities featured in Varsity Cup. What this means is I will be interviewing some of the great people we know through sport, business and or media and my chats will be available online.

My very first article was published last week. Ladies and gentlemen I got the honour of interviewing one of SA’s rugby icons. The very first rugby player I ever liked, liked enough to actually pay attention to his sport of choice, he is the reason I almost supported The Stormers (PHEW what a blunder that would’ve been!) Yes boys and girls; this small town girl got to chat to the legend that is Breyton Paulse, and this week my one-on-one with SuperSport and 5FM’s very own Sias du Plessis goes online.

So this page is not going under, however, is just not the main focus right now. I will blog when I can, and in the meantime please do support me by reading my articles on

Ever wondered if size is really all that important? Find out in my first VC article ‘When Size Doesn’t Matter’ by Kate Nokwe