Johannesburg - South Africa’s great sporting week spilled over into motorsport when Brad Binder equalled a 38-year-old record by winning the Moto2 class of the MotoGP World Championship at the Sachsenring circuit in Germany on Sunday.
The Potchefstroom-born racer became the first South African to win in the intermediary class of MotoGP in nearly 40 years since Kork Ballington’s 1980 Nurburgring race win, also in Germany.
“It’s been an incredibly hard year,” Binder was quoted as saying on the Wheels24 website. “It just shows, if you keep on working, it will come.”
His love for the sport started at the age of eight. Binder began his rise to stardom by racing in karts and eventually becoming a national champion.
He changed to motorbikes in 2005, looking for a new challenge. He has progressed through the ranks since then.
After four years, the 22-year-old was accepted into the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. He stuck with the team for some years.
In 2010, he took three Rookies podiums and finished fifth overall at the end of the season.
The first big moment came in Estoril, Portugal, in 2011, when he clinched the Red Bull Rookies race from pole to flag by only 15 seconds.
In the same year, he rode his first 125cc GP, replacing the injured Luis Salom in the RW Racing GP team. Binder’s fantastic performances and professionalism impressed the team and he earned a full-time Moto3 ride with them for 2012.
Successive achievements earned the speed junkie a move to the more successful Red Bull KTM Ajo team.
His rise continued in 2016 after he became the first South African to win a motorcycle Grand Prix since Jon Ekerold, who achieved the feat in the 1981 Italian motorcycle Grand Prix.
In the same year, Binder went on to clinch the Moto3 World Champions series with four races to spare. This win led to his promotion to Moto2.
Binder’s younger brother Darryn is also a motorcycle racer and competed alongside Brad in Moto3 in 2015.
Binder is in position six with 91 points and six more races to go.