Today we talk to Tbanj on racing, and his switch from the Crossplane YZF-R1 to the nimble BMW S1000rr.
See interview after the cut
NM: Can you introduce yourself to the folks that are not familiar with you.
TBanj: “Tayo Banjo also known as Tbanj”
NM: When did you decide you want to race bikes and so far, has there been any regret?
TBanj: “Loved the idea of bike racing since I was a kid. 1st attempt was in 2015 but unforeseen circumstances made me call it off during the practice session @ Urhonigbe.”
NM: You came in 4th position last year in what could be considered a strong line up. Impressive right? What was that like?
TBanj: “Impressive – not exactly. I would have loved to do better but my aim was to FINISH the race (I am sure a few people will understand why. It was nice, it was competitive, it was a real honor to share the track with the guys on the grid.”
NM: Last year, you finished behind your friend and club member – B9, on track do you remember you are friends or the competitiveness takes over completely?
TBanj: “B9 and I are friends and riding buddies. On the track, he is a friend and an opponent. Will be nice to kick his butt but I will always look out for his safety and wish him the best in every race. A little competition between friends hurts no one.”
NM: You are racing the BMW S1000rr this season, why the switch from the Yamaha R1?
TBanj: “Well, decided to try something new. I went to the track with both bikes but the S1000rr felt better on the day, so we decided to go along with that.”
NM: There has been a change with the qualifying format – laptimes from two flying laps as opposed to one flying lap – are you happier with the current format or you prefer the older format?
TBanj: “Whichever format is adopted, as long as I am on the bike on the track, I am fine.”
NM: How did you end up with racing for CC racing?
TBanj: “CC racing is the brainchild of myself and a few friends. So, I have no choice than to represent the team.”
NM: Your pace in Q1 was not quite close to the front group, almost half a minute behind. Is this due to the new machine, getting familiar with the bike or there is another reason at play?
TBanj: “That was my 2nd time on the bike. Will be stupid to start pushing a bike one has not bonded with to the limit. Bike requires a few tweaks here and there. Lets see what time we will post when next we hit the track.”
NM: How do you plan to make up that difference with just two qualifiers left?
TBanj: “Well, key thing is to get to know the bike more and bond with it. Play with different settings and be in a better physical shape.”
NM: From the data collected in Q1, what section of the track are you loosing the most time to your rivals and why do you think that is?
TBanj: “Surprisingly, I think I am losing time on the straights.”
NM: What section of the track plays to the strength of you and your bike?
TBanj: “I think the S1000rr is a good all round bike. I believe I should be able to make up time on the guys in the corners once we are fully ready with the bike.”
NM: What will you consider improvement this year in terms of performance from last year?
TBanj: “Podium. Nothing short of that. The top step will be LOVELY.”
NM: What are the expectations of the team this year season?
TBanj: “Team expectations? Very simple. Podium finish for every racer in the team.”
NM: From a manufacturer’s point of view, in both races last year, The Japanese came out tops. Does this feed into the age old argument that the Japanese make faster race bikes than the Europeans?
TBanj: “Sometimes it is not about the bike but more about the rider. For the 600cc category, you have limited supply of European bikes. Jack and Argo gave it all last year, we know Argo had some problems on the S1k but that takes nothing off the fact that Jack won. He was determined and kept pushing the limit in free practice. However, the times at the Q1 this year has 2 European bikes hitting 1st and 2nd in the l000cc category. Lets see how far we can take this supremacy fight between the Europeans and the Japanese.”
NM: What can the fans expect from you and the team this year?
TBanj: “We will put in our best. Before, during and after the race. CC racing is a brand that will surely outlive the people that started it. Watch out for us on the podiums.”
NM: Is there a fan club? Are there plans for merchandising?
TBanj: “Fan base is growing. Slow and steady. You cant give what you don’t have. Hence, our immediate task is to build a brand that everybody will be proud to associate with. Merchandising will surely come at the right time.”
NM: Thank you for your time. All the best.
TBanj: “Thank you and great job you are doing. Final word, Gbenga, Argo, Jaydee, B9 and others……………… Watchout!!!!!”
This interview was before qualifying 2 which he sat out.