‘We wear hel­mets now, our heads are get­ting softer’

Ex­haust leg­end Igor Akrapovič on rac­ing, wheel­ies and his rid­ing he­roes

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Feature - By Andy David­son STAFF WRITER

Q1. What are you cur­rently rid­ing?

I haven’t been rid­ing much at all in the last two years be­cause of a knee in­jury. But I do own and ride a Du­cati Di­avel. I love that bike. I’ll be back on it next year. Of course, it has an Akrapovič ex­haust on it.

Q2. Which liv­ing mo­tor­cy­clist do you most ad­mire?

Gi­a­como Agos­tini is my all-time favourite rider. I re­mem­ber watch­ing him rac­ing. What un­be­liev­able mem­o­ries.

Q3. What’s your worst rid­ing habit?

I rode a bit too fast when I was young. I did some crazy things. But that’s old his­tory. And it was a lot eas­ier to ride like that be­cause we’d get away with­out us­ing li­cence plates and the po­lice couldn’t catch us any­way.

Q4. If you could have one rid­ing su­per skill, what would it be?

I wasn’t very good in wet con­di­tions back when I used to race. I raced for 12 years but was just never very good in the rain.

Q5. What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?

310kmph (193mph), it was on a Suzuki 1100 turned into a 1260 with a Kawasaki frame, what a crazy bike. A dan­ger­ous thing, re­ally.

Q6. When were you last scared on a bike?

There were some cir­cuits in the old Yu­goslavia which were in­cred­i­bly dan­ger­ous. It was so bad that I re­fused to ride at Slavon­ska Požega.

Q7. How many miles have you done in the last year?

Not a lot, be­cause of the knee in­jury. I had a com­plete re­con­struc­tion of the knee.

Q8. What’s the high­est mileage you’ve cov­ered in one day?

1000km (around 600 miles). That’s be­cause we used to have races over in Mace­do­nia and I’d ride there on my MZ 250.

Q9. What ir­ri­tates you most while you’re on a bike?

Traf­fic. Years ago it was easy to go fast, now it has to be on a race track.

Q10. You’ve got two weeks off: where are you go­ing?

Some­where hot, Namibia, Croa­tia, Crete, Greece. I love hot weather. I’m a big fan of global warm­ing, it’s just not hap­pen­ing fast enough. You know, in Great Bri­tain I’m sure you’d love an­other 5 de­grees more… I’m just kid­ding, of course.

Q11. Got one pearl of wis­dom for new rid­ers?

Well, for a racer I would say to be so care­ful with con­tracts, which bikes to ride and how to se­cure their fu­ture. Back then it was if you’re fast you could get a fac­tory ride. Now it’s all about managers and lawyers.

Q12. Ever fallen off while try­ing to show off?

Not re­ally, I was al­ways good at wheel­ies so I never had a prob­lem with that. The Kawasaki 500 two-stroke was a great wheelie bike. Ac­tu­ally, the best wheelie bike at that time.

Q13. Do you have one in­dis­pens­able item of kit?

I guess it’s the proper cloth­ing. When we were young we didn’t wear hel­mets, but now our heads are get­ting softer.

Q14. Which four peo­ple would you in­vite on a Sun­day blast?

My wife and some close friends. We have some real he­roes in the com­pany, older guys who are so fast.

Q15. Do you have a tool you couldn’t live with­out? Nope. Q16. Do you ad­just your sus­pen­sion?

Yes, ab­so­lutely. I al­ways re­work the sus­pen­sion. I used to make all of my own changes in­clud­ing rake and trail. If you wanted to go fast into a cor­ner you needed to do this your­self.

Q17. If you could have one old bike back, which would it be?

Def­i­nitely the Kawasaki 500, I re­mem­ber see­ing that three-cylin­der two-stroke when I was 15 and think­ing it was un­be­liev­able.

Q18. What type of ma­chine would you never buy?

A chop­per.

Q19. Which road (or track) would you have built on your desert is­land?

My favourite track is Grob­nik in Croa­tia.

Q20. If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?

More re­laxed speed lim­its on the mo­tor­ways.

‘We’d get away with­out li­cence plates and the po­lice couldn’t catch us’

Igor re­mem­bers traf­fic-free roads and lid-free heads Igor Akrapovič with a four-into-one full sys­tem back in 1991

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