By Stefan Kirsten
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 8 of VARSITY News.
As a Saffer, when you think of motorbikes, you probably think of a guy named Brad that chugs
Monster, wears a flat cap and on a Sunday races his bike around some track in the West Rand.
Nothing personal against the West Rand or Brad, but both are somewhat removed from the
thrilling and glamourous world of MotoGP and the superstars that race in it. Such international
sporting affairs always possess some mystical quality, and South Africans never seem to be
fated to be the ones competing or winning them. Every now and again however, the rules do
not quite hold up.
This past Sunday, Brad Binder crossed the finish line of the Czech MotoGP in first place to
become the first South African to ever win a first-class motorcycle race. Not to be neglected is
the fact that 2020 is his maiden MotoGP season and that not since the legendary Marc
Marquez did it in 2013, has a rookie won a race in his maiden season. The win was also the first
MotoGP victory for Binder’s team, Red Bull KTM, with whom he has raced since 2016 through
the ranks of Moto2 and Moto3. Binder won the race by 5.2 seconds, after starting from 7 th
position and by doing so moved to an overall 5 th position on the world championship table.
After the race Binder said: “This is a day I have dreamed about since I was a little boy” and “I
really wish my parents were here because they were the ones that backed me from the
beginning”. In the early days of Brad’s career his dad stayed and worked in South Africa to fund
Brad’s racing while his mom supported him at his races throughout Europe. Binder’s rise
through the echelons of the motorbike racing world has not been easy but it has only just
begun. It is with eager eyes that we anticipate the rest of the MotoGP season.
South Africans put up with a lot of rubbish and most of the time it is easy to feel insignificant
here at the end of the continent. All we need though, from time to time, is a kid from the West
Rand to show us that we can be world class and to remind us that we should just ride our bikes
as fast as we can.