We catch up with Akua, our Ghanaian sister who came through to experience a track day
See interview after the cut.
NM: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Akua: “I’m Bernina Akua Akrofi popularly known as Akua Gadaafi in the biking community all over west Africa. I’m a mum with a 7 year old daughter married to a business man. I work with the Ghana police Service as a dispatch rider for some years now.”
NM: How long have you been riding and at what point did you decide to try out racing?
Akua: “I have been ridding for the past 6yrs. It had always been my dream to race in other countries since there is no racing track in my country. So, sometime in February I was called by one racing team to come and race for them , I didn’t hesitate at all (to grab the opportunity).”
NM: What has been the biggest challenge from the transition from street riding to track?
Akua: “Well when it comes to the street riding, there are a lot of challenges, for instance, pedestrians and cars driving carelessly so the risk involved is high. But with the track, it’s all about MYSELF, MY BIKE, AND MY SPEED. To me and as a biker, racing on the track is far better than being on the street, riding.”
NM: You rode in from Ghana for the first set of qualifiers, I will have to double check but that technically makes you the first International racer at the BT qualifiers.
Akua: “Yes you’re right. I rode all alone from Ghana to Nigeria nothing like someone escorting me.”
NM: Your street bike is the BMW S1000RR but you have chosen to race in the intermediate category, can you tell us why?
Akua: “Well the team I race for prepared a 600cc for me. I would have raced with the liter bike if I was given the chance. Remember I told you it had always be my dream to race.”
NM: You were the second fastest lady and the fifth fastest overall at the qualifiers, are you happy with your performance especially as it was your first time?
Akua: “Of course I was very happy. Considering it was my first time on the track and I qualified as well, chai I was very amazed about my performance. I didn’t even train, I am pretty satisfied with the performance I put in.”
NM: What was the track experience like?
Akua: “It was cool but got to realise that I need to work more on my carrying more speed and exiting with even more speed around the bends. Also, my accelerating and braking as well.”
NM: Would you say the track is more demanding – both mentally and physically as compared to riding street?
Akua: “Yes the track is mentally and physically demanding as compared to the street. Why? Because the track is meant for racing and the street just to groove, even with the grooving it very dangerous when you are on the street.”
NM: Will you be attending the remaining qualifiers? What is the target you set for yourself from qualifying?
Akua: “I had wanted to attend but work schedule is a bit tight making it almost impossible to come for the remaining qualifiers. I prefer to wait for the race itself”
NM: As a lady, how proud are you of the feat that there were more ladies than guys at the qualifier in February especially as superbike racing is mainly a male dominated sport?
Akua: “Hahaha as you already know, only few courageous ladies would like to compete with men.”
NM: If more ladies show up for the remaining qualifiers, will you prefer a dedicated female category for the intermediary class – 600cc?
Akua: “Why not?? If only all the female qualifiers are 600cc racers. But if there is 1000cc qualifiers I will prefer that!!!”
NM: What in your track experience so far has stuck with you the most?
Akua: “So far, The curves.”
NM: Can we expect more of our Ghanaian brothers coming down to participate?
NM: Thank you for your time.
Akua: “Welcome my co passion.”