This week we chat with Gbenga. We talk about racing, his adrenalin for speed and his conspiracy theory about teams springing up surprises come subsequent qualifiers. Lol!
See interview after the cut
NM: Can you introduce yourself to the folks that are not familiar with you.
Gbenga: My name is Gbenga Egunjobi aka Oluace. One of the Team Principals and Riders for BKG Racing.
NM: This is the first purpose built race track in Nigeria, perhaps West Africa even, do you think the Nigerian people and to a larger extent, the West African people are ready to embrace Motorsports.
Gbenga: Definitely! Nigerians and West Africans are really into motorsports in general, however most have never had the opportunity to go to a race track or experience what it feels like to be trackside on race day. Now that the opportunity has come at the MRE and they’ll be able to feel the intensity and excitement first hand, they’ll be encouraged to invest in the growth of motorsports industry in Nigeria.
NM: When did you decide you want to race bikes and so far, has there been any regret.
Gbenga: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to TRY and race bikes. Actually, I reckon about 90% of all riders have had that same thought at least once or twice in their riding lifetime. No, definitely no regrets.
NM: There has been a change with the qualifying format – lap times are now two flying laps as opposed to one flying lap – are you happier with the current format or you prefer the older format?
Gbenga: Well I didn’t race in November so I don’t really know what the old format was. In my humble opinion, what will be ideal is the best of 3 flying laps. However, any format is fine as long as all riders are in agreement.
NM: Is there a riders meeting where issues like this can be discussed?
Gbenga: We have a riders forum but not too much was said with regards to the qualifying format. I think riders are just happy to be able to race on a purpose built track, so for now everyone is happy to experiment so far as its across board.
NM: Were there any nerves just before you went and obliterated the lap record?
Gbenga: Lol. I don’t know about obliterating the track record o! But no, I wont say nerves. More like Adrenaline Surge!!
NM: At Q1, no one knew what Gbenga was going to bring to the table as no one had quite seen you race pre Q1 weekend, will your strategy change seeing as you are no longer a secret.
Gbenga: Lol. Rumor has it that there are huge secrets still yet to surface from the other teams. My strategy is very simple and not really much of a strategy to be honest. To get on track and ride the bike as fast as my ability will allow me. No tricks, no gimmicks, just rubber to asphalt!
NM: Do you reckon you have shown your entire hand with the pace from Q1 or you still have a bit more in reserve.
Gbenga: I really hope there is more in reserve. I believe we’ve all just begun to learn and try to understand the track. We have not really had that much time on track so I am sure there is still quite a lot for us to learn about it.
NM: Will you be attending Q2 and Q3 or you are confident your time in Q1 is enough to secure pole position come race day.
Gbenga: Oh most definitely! Like I said earlier, some other teams are prepping up some surprises. And at BKG we are thorough when trying to achieve our goal, so we take no chances.
We were lucky with the weather and were able to use the opportunity to try different race lines and corner entry speed, to see what was best suited to our riding style. I think both my team mate and I were able to see some improvement in some areas, we only hope we can exhibit these improvements on track in May. Hopefully we can try and improve on our times at Q2.
NM: You signed up to race with BKG racing who have another rider on the grid, what is the team expecting from you both? Is there a lead rider or you both have the license to ‘rip’ it.
Gbenga: Rip it all the way!!! Lol. The team is expecting a joint 1st position, but they will settle for 1st and 2nd. There is no lead rider. B9 and I have the license to totally rip the track to shreds.
NM: Would you say you are more familiar with the track now, does it suit your riding style.
Gbenga:Q1 was my first time on the track, but yes by the time we left after all the practice and qualifying time, I was a bit more familiar with the track. Still a hell of a lot to learn though.
NM: You are aboard the BMW S1000rr that is considered a very fast bike in comparison to the competition, would you say it gave you an edge or your performance was strictly down to the rider.
Gbenga: It is both. Every rider has a different riding style and every bike rides differently. Harmony comes when u have the closest match for rider and bike. I’ve been riding motorcycles for almost 20years now and have ridden a number of different bikes. For the moment, it would seem I am most comfortable with the S1k. Don’t forget that the technical team has a major part to play in the bike pace and performance. At BKG, that responsibility falls on Seun, our CTO.
NM: A number of riders have mentioned they were riding within themselves as they were uncomfortable with the track surface as it was dusty and littered with gravel. Was this a concern for you.
Gbenga: Yes it was. There were some corners that required a little too much attention due to the gravel on track. But for me, the track surface was fine. I know some riders had issues with the surface when the track was first opened last November, but I am guessing it was a lot better in February as there were no such complaints
NM: What can the fans expect from you and the team this year.
Gbenga: They can expect BKG to show them the Winning Fomulae. We currently feature in both the BT and the RoadX. We intend to feature in all categories in the BT in coming seasons. And our goal is to bring home all the trophies in the relevant categories. Fans can expect better riding and better driving from BKG as the season progresses.
NM: Lastly, What message do you have to young and potential racers in Nigeria.
Gbenga: It is not rocket science. It just requires some courage and a lot of respect. Safety is key!!! No matter how fast or how slow, the main thing for a rider is to finish the race safely ON the bike. Getting proper training and experience will help the rider increase their confidence and pace on track. Finally come and burn up the track and see what it feels like!!!