SA Wor­ld cham­pi­on re­cei­ves ac­co­la­de

Ho­nou­red at the P­hil­lip Is­land Mo­toGP wee­kend

George Herald - Auto Dealer - - News -

South A­fri­ca’s se­cond mo­tor­sport wor­ld cham­pi­on, Kork Bal­ling­ton, has been in­ducted in­to the Mo­toGP Hall of Fa­me, to be­co­me one of two-w­heeled ra­cing’s of­fi­ci­al­ly ackno­w­led­ged le­gends, alt­hough he has had that s­ta­tus lo­cal­ly for de­ca­des..

Bal­ling­ton was born in 1951 in the t­hen Sa­lis­bu­ry in Sout­hern R­ho­de­sia, to­day Ha­ra­re, Zim­bab­we.

He re­cei­ved the ac­co­la­de from Dor­na Sports c­hief exe­cu­ti­ve Car­los E­z­pe­le­to o­ver the P­hil­lip Is­land Mo­toGP wee­kend.

Bal­ling­ton ra­ced in Sout­hern A­fri­ca be­fo­re mo­ving to B­ri­tain to pur­sue an in­ter­na­ti­o­nal ca­reer.

He ra­ced an o­ver-the-coun­ter Ya­maha twin in B­ri­tain and the Eu­ro­pe­an mo­tor­cy­cle Grand Prix for se­ver­al y­e­ars be­fo­re being gi­ven a pla­ce in the Ka­wa­sa­ki fac­to­ry ra­cing te­am ri­ding Ka­wa­sa­ki KR250 and KR350 ma­chi­nes al­ongs­i­de Mick Grant and Bar­ry Dit­chburn.

Bal­ling­ton took his first po­di­um in 1976 w­hen he fi­nis­hed se­cond in the 250cc ra­ce at the West Ger­man Grand Prix and fol­lo­wed up in the 350 Wor­ld C­ham­pi­ons­hip with his first win, ta­ken at the S­pa­nish Grand Prix.

The y­e­ar 1977 saw mo­re po­di­ums and wins - with his first 250 vic­to­ry co­ming at Sil­vers­to­ne. He be­gan 1978 off the po­di­um in both c­ham­pi­ons­hips be­fo­re ma­king his next vi­sit to the top ros­trum step in the 350cc ra­ce at the Salz­bur­gring.

Bal­ling­ton t­hen took both the 250cc and 350cc wins at the Na­ti­ons GP at Mu­gel­lo, so­mething he al­so did in Fin­land and at Br­no.

In all, Bal­ling­ton ce­le­bra­ted four 250cc wins and six 350cc wins on the way to win­ning both tit­les that y­e­ar. In 1979, it was a si­mi­lar sto­ry as the Sout­hern A­fri­can on the g­reen Ka­wa­sa­kis do­mi­na­ted.

Se­ven 250cc wins a­chie­ved – three in a row and t­hen four in a row - saw him de­fend that cro­wn. Fi­ve wins in the 350cc Wor­ld C­ham­pi­ons­hip al­so wrap­ped up that tit­le.

Bal­ling­ton de­ci­ded to tar­get the 250cc and 500cc c­ham­pi­ons­hips in 1980 and was run­ne­rup in the lo­wer ca­te­go­ry whi­le ta­king so­me top 10 re­sults on the 500cc ma­chi­ne.

That laid so­lid foun­da­ti­ons and his first po­di­ums in the pre­mier class ca­me the fol­lo­wing se­a­son in The Net­her­lands and Fin­land.

His fi­nal y­e­ar of com­pe­ti­ti­on was in 1982. Bal­ling­ton now li­ves in Aus­tra­lia.

From left: South A­fri­can ri­ders Dar­ryn Bin­der, 2016 Mo­to3 Wor­ld Cham­pi­on Brad Bin­der, Mo­toGP le­gend Kork Bal­ling­ton and Dor­na CEO Car­me­lo E­z­pe­le­ta.

Bal­ling­ton in his hey­day.

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