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The name Brand Binder is likely to evoke feelings of overwhelming pride in MotoGP loving South Africans for many years to come. The question is; who is Brad Binder? And why is he making waves in the media? In online gambling terms, Brad Binder has hit the equivalent of the progressive jackpot - and he has done it in fine style and against the odds!
Brad Binder was born in the small university town of Potchefstroom at the dawn of South Africa’s democracy. His dream of racing in the pinnacle of competitive motorsport was a dream he nurtured until a few months ago.
Although he worked his way up through the KTM Rider’s Program, tackling the 125cc and Moto3 class with some success, he was reasonably content racing in the second tier of the sport… until fate intervened.
Following a second-place finish in the 2019 MotoGP2 World Championship, Binder was promoted into the Red Bull KTM factory racing team for the 2020 season. It was a rookie season that didn’t quite unfold as it should, as the global pandemic put the brakes on the racing schedule.
To the young South African the enforced hiatus may have been a bit of a boon. It gave him more time to train and prepare mentally and physically for the enormous challenges lying ahead. It also allowed him to work on a strategy that he could adapt to all racing conditions - a bit like the best players do prior to indulging in online gambling sessions at Springbok Casino!
At just 24 years of age, Binder was facing the prospect of racing against riders like Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Dani Petrucci - men who had not only made an indelible mark on the sport but were heroes and role models in the eyes of the youngster.
As luck would have it, the incumbent World Champion, Marc Marquez broke his arm in Jerez in the first round in the 2020 Championship. That set things up nicely for the South African who grabbed his opportunity in the third race of his debut season.
On a hot sultry day in Brno in the Czech Republic, Brad Binder and the KTM factory racing team’s main concern was tyre degradation. The 1,000 cc 4 stroke V4 engine in the KTM RC16 prototype racing machine was roaring like an angry lion. The on-bike electronics were fully functional and seamlessly integrated to provide an outstanding on-track performance. The only reservation was the impact the poor track conditions and searing heat would have on the tyres. Would they hold out for the entire race?
According to post-race interviews, Binder’s plan was to go softly on the tyres by racing carefully and cautiously in the first half of the race so as to preserve the rubber for the second. It was the kind of strategy that required maturity and a calm head under pressure… and Binder delivered both with consummate ease. In around the 10th lap of the race Binder passed first the Frenchman Fabio Quartararo and then the Italian Franco Morbidelli, both riding Yamaha YZR-M1s for the Petronas Yamaha SRT team. Binder threw caution to the wind, partially due to the fast deteriorating tyres, opened the gap and charged to the chequered flag to claim his first-ever MotoGP title with a full five seconds to spare!
Binder’s dominant display is remarkable in so many ways. In fact, his victory in the Czech Republic is littered with ‘firsts’. On the 9th of August 2020 Brad Binder became:
For Binder, the proper tyre management paid off… as it so often does with proper bankroll management in the online gambling scenario!
What is in store for the rest of the season? A modified MotoGP calendar consisting of a further 11 Grand Prix hosted exclusively in Europe. Can Brad Binder claim another win or podium finish and improve his points tally? Will Marquez make a timely return to the competition and stamp his authority on proceedings?
Or can Valentino Rossi confound the bookmakers and rediscover the awesome form that propelled him to seven Championship titles in the early noughties, five of which were back-to-back?
In the online gambling analogy, Brad Binder is a bit of a wild card. Having said that he is a wild card that has proved that he can win at the summit of motorcycle racing and win convincingly. Can South Africa’s rising star replicate his incredible efforts in 2020? MotoGP fans right here in South Africa and around the world will have to wait and see!
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