Former 250cc Star Ralf Waldmann Dies

Ralf Waldmann, former superstar of the 250cc class, has died at the age of 51 years of age. The immensely popular German rider was found dead near his parents home after apparently suffering a heart attack. 

Waldmann was one of the best 250cc racers never to win a title. The German was a ferocious competitor throughout the 1990s, taking on such greats as Max Biaggi, Loris Capirossi, Daijiro Katoh, Tohru Ukawa, Tetsuya Harada, and Olivier Jacque. Waldmann never managed to win a title, though he finished runner up to Max Biaggi twice.

The German tried his luck in the 500cc class in 1998, though he did not meet with the same success. He finished fourteenth on the Modenas KR3 triple. 

After his retirement, Waldmann turned his hand to broadcasting. He spent several years as a pit lane reporter for German TV, most recently for Eurosport Germany. He was a vivacious and lively character, who was much loved in the paddock. His death unleashed a wave of sadness on social media from riders who raced against him, teams who had both hosted him and raced against him, and from journalists who had worked with him.


Back to top


I remember him best for his 250 class exploits, riding in the bright HB tobacco livery. Ferocious is an apt description.

That's sad... so young and with so much left to give.

I best remember him for a race in the wet at Suzuka where he was leading, crashed, remounted and won the race without ever conceding the lead (IIRC).

Sympathies to his family and friends.

Absolutely gutting news to start the week. I had the good fortune to meet Waldi several times over the years and always loved seeing his mug in person or on TV, it brightened my day every time. He definitely was a vivacious and lively character as you said and he leaves some rather big shoes to fill in German motorcycle racing and broadcasting. His honest attempts with Martin Wimmer to save legendary MZ are still held in high regard, despite the outcome. Hard to believe he's gone at just 51, somehow he's been so ingrained in my experience of MotoGP, it felt like he'd just be there forever. And as a paddock nobody back in the day, I'll be forever grateful for someone like him to still take the time to stop and crack a joke every time. He will be sorely, sorely missed. RIP Waldi.

I still remember this race: Ralf was over a minute back on a drying track with wet tyres.

Rain starts to fall and he just carves his way through the pack and coming out of the final corner beats Olivier Jacque by ~ 0.3 seconds.

Legendary stuff

RIP - taken way too early at 51

Yes, I was there at a sparsely-attended Donington and yes, we continue to talk about Rossi’s first big class win after a great scrap with KRJR and the superb Jezza McWill on the Aprilia twin BUT me and my mates were far more excited on the day by watching Waldi steam through in what were difficult conditions to nick it out of Goddards. Yes he had the best tyres for the day but he still had to get through, never give up and give OJ the fright of his life, Brilliant. RIP RW

Ralf was not someone I was able to see in person for a number of reasons ( being in the states first and foremost). I always feel humbled by my heroes on 2 wheels when I think of the dangers involved with any form of racing. 

You hear the same story of racers passing away doing what they love, but there’s so much more to it than that. We’ve lost yet another at far too young of an age with no checkered flag involved.

Hug your loved ones and cheer for your heroes, sometimes we don’t get to do it again. May Ralf’s soul rest.