Born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, Ballington used his domestic production racing experience as a springboard to gain entry into the British racing scene. He raced an over-the-counter Yamaha twin for several years before taking a well-earned place on the Kawasaki factory racing team riding Kawasaki KR250 and KR350s alongside Mick Grant and Barry Ditchburn. In the 250 and 350 classes, Ballington swept away the competition on his Kawasakis in 1978 and 1979, capturing consecutive double world championships.
In 1980, he campaigned Kawasaki's new KR500 but developing a new bike proved to be difficult in the premier class. After three years in the 500cc class, he couldn't repeat the success he enjoyed in the smaller classes and retired from competition. Ballington now lives with his family in Brisbane, Australia.
In 2018, MotoGP announced he would be inducted into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame.