10 Famous Motorcycle Racers in South Africa Best of All Time

James Hillier

South Africa has long been home to some of the best motorcycle racers in the world. From MotoGP riders to local champions, South African riders have made a name for themselves in the international racing scene.

Whether it’s the world-renowned Kyalami circuit or the breathtaking Dusty Trail Rally, South African riders have consistently proven themselves to be some of the most talented and competitive racers in the world.

With many of them having achieved international success, the names of South African riders are sure to be remembered for years to come. Here is a look at some of the best motorcycle racers in South Africa.

1. Kork Ballington


Hugh Neville “Kork” Ballington was a highly successful South African professional motorcycle racer. He was a part of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing world championships from 1976 to 1982 and was a member of the Kawasaki factory racing team during this time.

During his time with Kawasaki, Ballington achieved great success, winning four FIM road racing world championships which is an impressive feat. His illustrious career in motorcycle racing saw him become one of the most successful riders in the world.

Ballington was able to use his skills and determination to make a name for himself in the racing world and can be seen as a true pioneer of the sport.

2. Jon Ekerold


Jonathan “Jon” Ekerold is a former professional motorcycle racer from South Africa.

He had a successful career competing in the Grand Prix motorcycle racing world championships from 1975 to 1983, where he made a name for himself and gained considerable recognition. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Ekerold came from humble beginnings and had a passion for motorcycle racing from an early age.

His parents, who were supportive of his ambitions, helped him to pursue his dreams.

He began his career in 1975, initially racing in the South African national championship series, before quickly moving on to compete in the Grand Prix motorcycle racing world championships. Throughout his career, Ekerold achieved several milestones.

In 1979, he became the first South African to win the 250cc World Championship, and in 1981, he placed 2nd in the 500cc world championship.

He also had several podium finishes, including a 2nd place finish at the 1982 Austrian Grand Prix and a 3rd place finish at the 1983 French Grand Prix. Ekerold retired from professional motorcycle racing in 1983, but his legacy lives on.

He is remembered as a pioneer of South African motorcycle racing and is still considered an icon in his homeland. His accomplishments in the sport are also remembered, and he continues to be an inspiration to aspiring motorcycle racers around the world.

3. Alan North


Alan North was a renowned South African professional Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. During his illustrious career, he achieved many feats and was most successful in 1982 when he finished the season in an impressive sixth place in the 350 cc world championship.

His most notable achievement came in 1977 when he won his only Grand Prix race and claimed the 350 cc Nations Grand Prix at Imola.

North’s success in this race was a momentous milestone, as it was the first time a South African had won a Grand Prix race in the world championship. This victory was a major accomplishment for North and cemented his place in the history of South African motorcycling.

4. Paddy Driver

Ernest Gould “Paddy” Driver is a renowned South African former professional motorcyclist and racing driver. Driver is best known for his Grand Prix motorcycle road racing career, during which he competed in several international racing events.

Driver was born and raised in South Africa and began his motorcycling career as a teenager.

Throughout his career, Driver achieved a number of impressive results, including a third-place finish in the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix, a fifth-place finish in the 1975 Belgian Grand Prix, and a fourth-place finish in the 1976 French Grand Prix. Driver also had a successful racing career as a driver, competing in several international races including the South African Formula 1 Grand Prix.

His career as a racing driver ended in 1983 after a crash at the Kyalami circuit. Although Driver retired from professional motorcycling and racing, he still remains active in the motorcycling community, attending events and supporting several charities.

Driver is an inspiration to many aspiring motorcyclists and racing drivers, and his legacy continues to live on today.

5. Steven Odendaal


Steven Odendaal is a professional motorcycle racer from South Africa who has achieved great success in his sport. He is best known for winning the 2016 FIM CEV Moto2 European Championship.

This prestigious award is presented to the best motorcycle racer in the European CEV Moto2 category. Steven Odendaal began his career in motorcycle racing at a young age, competing in local events in South Africa.

His talent and dedication soon saw him progress to the international stage. His hard work and determination paid off in 2016 when he won the FIM CEV Moto2 European Championship.

This was a significant achievement for Steven, as it established him as one of the top riders in Europe. Since his success in 2016, Steven Odendaal has continued to compete on the international level.

He has taken part in several World Championship events, including the Moto2 Grand Prix World Championship. In addition to his racing career, Steven also serves as an ambassador for the sport of motorcycle racing in South Africa.

He is committed to promoting the sport and inspiring other young racers to pursue their dreams. Overall, Steven Odendaal is a talented motorcycle racer from South Africa who has demonstrated his skill and commitment to the sport.

He is a worthy recipient of the 2016 FIM CEV Moto2 European Championship, and his success is an inspiration to other racers.

6. Sheridan Morais


Sheridan Morais is an accomplished motorcycle racer from South Africa.

He has made a name for himself in the world of competitive motorcycling, participating in a number of different series and championships around the world. Morais has competed in the prestigious Superbike World Championship, an event that draws the best motorcycle riders from around the globe.

He has also taken to the track in the Supersport World Championship, a series that is dedicated to the smaller, more nimble race bikes. As if that wasn’t enough, Morais has also competed in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, a championship designed for production-based race machines.

Finally, Morais has also taken part in the Endurance FIM World Championship, a series that tests the endurance and resilience of the rider and the machine. In all, Sheridan Morais has been involved in some of the most challenging and prestigious motorcycling events in the world.

His drive, skill, and ambition have helped him to become a well-respected name in the world of competitive motorcycling.

7. Hudson Kennaugh


Hudson Kennaugh is a professional motorcycle racer from South Africa. He is a current competitor in the British National Superstock 1000 Championship, which is a motorcycling championship held in the United Kingdom. For this championship, Hudson rides a BMW S1000RR.

In addition, Hudson is a former South African Superbike champion, having won this title in 2009. During this same year, he also competed in the British Supersport Championship, where he was a part of the Linxcel-Seton Tuning Team.

By competing in both championships, Hudson showed his skill and dedication to the sport of motorcycling. His success in both championships show that Hudson is a talented and experienced racer.

8. Darryn Binder


Darryn Binder is a professional motorcycle racer from South Africa, competing in the 2023 Moto2 World Championship. He is part of the Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP team, a premier racing team in the Moto2 world championship.

Binder has been involved in motorcycle racing since the early 2000s and has been competing in the Moto2 world championship since 2017.

His career highlights include multiple second-place finishes in the Moto2 World Championship as well as a number of race wins in the Moto3 World Championship.

His commitment to the sport has been unwavering, and he has consistently been a top competitor in the Moto2 world championship. He has also been a regular presence in the MotoGP world championship, having competed in the premier class in 2021.

Binder is a highly skilled rider and his commitment to the sport is evident in his results. He is a proud representative of South Africa in the Moto2 world championship, and his future in the sport looks very promising.

9. Brausch Niemann

Ambraüsus “Brausch” Niemann was a professional racing driver from South Africa. He had a distinguished career racing in his native country and even competed in two Formula One World Championship Grands Prix.

The first of these was in 1963, where he managed to qualify and finish in 14th place, though he failed to score any championship points. His second attempt at the World Championship came two years later in 1965, and he again entered the race driving a privately owned Lotus.

Unfortunately, he was unable to repeat his success from the first Grand Prix and failed to finish the race. Despite his limited success in Formula One, Ambraüsus “Brausch” Niemann is remembered fondly in his native South Africa.

He was a highly skilled and dedicated driver and was always willing to take on a challenge. His legacy in the racing world lives on, and his story is an inspiration to all aspiring drivers.

10. Trevor Blokdyk

John Trevor Blokdyk was a South African driver who had a successful career in both motorcycle speedway and Formula One. He was born on 30 November 1935 in Krugersdorp, Transvaal. Blokdyk was well known for his skill on the track and his passion for the sport.

He participated in two World Championship Grands Prix, though he only qualified for one. On 19 March 1995, Blokdyk passed away, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and commitment to the sport.

He was a beloved figure in the racing community and will be remembered for his contributions to both Speedway and Formula One.


South Africa has some of the best motorcycle racers in the world. These riders have achieved success both domestically and internationally, making South Africa a major contender in the world of motorcycle racing.

With their skill, determination, and dedication to the sport, these riders have solidified their place in the hearts of South Africans everywhere.

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James Hillier

I'm a motorcycle racer at Rich Energy OMG Racing. I've always been interested in racing ever since I was a child. My love for racing started with my father who was also a motorcycle racer. He would take me to the track with him and that's when I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I'm not only interested in racing but also in motorcycles themselves. I have always dreamed of owning my own bike someday, so when Rich Energy OMG Racing gave me the opportunity to test their bike last year, it was an honor for me. LinkedIn