Biking is a part of Brandon, broken bones and all ...
Teenage prospect revved up to whizz around Donnington Park for real
IT’S almost impossible for Brandon Staffen to explain his love of motorcycle racing but he’s certain it’s been there since well before he rode anything with two wheels.
The 15-year-old is arguably the most prodigious young talent in South African motorbike racing right now, and he’s achieved the results to match his obvious passion.
In September, the Durbanville resident will achieve lifelong dream when he competes in the United Kingdom’s KTM RC Cup against some of the best young riders in Europe, even though he began racing just three years ago.
“I’ve always loved bikes. Whenever I came to Killarney it was to watch the bikes and not the cars. We had been coming to racing for years, since I was small and one day I said I wanted to race,” he said.
“My mom actually brought me to an event to try it out on the short circuit when I was 13. I really liked it and had fun. Then I did my first ever race and won it and I also won the first championship I took part in.
“If I knew then what I know now I would definitely have asked to race a car instead, because I’ve broken myself a few times. I’ve had broken collarbones, broken ribs, broken fingers… all of that stuff.”
Though Brandon had “no clue what he was doing” on that first occasion, he has since come on in leaps and bounds. He claimed the NSF 100 Championship in his first and second seasons before moving up to the NSF 150 Championship in 2015 and taking his third consecutive title.
This year he joined the KTM RC390 National Championships, the South African equivalent of the UK’s KTM RC Cup, and is currently leading the title race. The teenager’s accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider the fact that doesn’t race for an established team. Instead, Brandon’s push for motorcycling success has been managed and funded by his father since day one. After witnessing his son’s natural ability and passion, Antony Staffen approached friend, racing expert and namesake Antony Lane to help him set up a team.
The rest is history, and the father and son duo currently spend most of their time travelling to every corner of South Africa to participate in races. Staffen senior also struggles to explain why Brandon loves the sport so much, but he has no doubt that it’s for his success.
“I think it’s his passion for racing and his raw talent. It’s really just inside him, in his bones, in his makeup. He just loves it. His passion for racing is the reason he is where he is,” he said.
That raw talent will be put to the test at Donnington Park in Derby, England on September 17.
Brandon’s entry into the race came about after the owner of a major international racing apparel company witnessed his talent and offered to assist. The race will undoubtedly be his toughest and most important yet.
“It’s to test his abilities overseas. Obviously racing overseas in Europe is much bigger and more advanced than in South Africa,” Staffen said.
“To see whether he has the talent and ability to compete internationally we have to put our foot in the water to see how he competes again the international riders.”
Reaching the pinnacle of international motorcycle racing is Brandon’s long-term goal, but he says just riding at Donnington Park will be a dream come true.
“Donnington Park is actually my favourite track in the world. I haven’t ridden it but it’s my favourite track because of games. Hopefully I’m going to do well there,” he said.
“If I’m on top form I can race against those people and win, but my goal is to hopefully finish in the top five because all of those guys are good. They have more riders in the front pack battling for first than we do in our whole series.”
Until he breaks onto the international scene, Brandon aims to continue dominating the RC390 National Championships and progressing through the local ranks.