After becoming a world champion, Tim Trenker sets his hopes on improving the off-road motorcycling scene in the UAE.
Champion Trenker looks to the future
With so much desert in the UAE, off-road motorcycling is a popular sport here. But one Dubai resident has put the country on the world map when it comes to rally racing.
Tim Trenker, the managing partner with KTM UAE, won the FIM world championship for Open Production Class motorcycles by finishing second at the Pharaons Rally in Egypt this month. The victory not only fulfilled a lifelong ambition for Trenker, but it may provide further reverberations for UAE motorsport.
"To be honest, for me, it's a massive achievement, it's a dream," gushes Trenker. "Seventeen years ago, I started [endurance competition] in Egypt, and to win it there now is a huge, huge achievement.
"But in reality, it helps the KTM business, and it helps the sport in general. Our team wants to develop local talent to try and take things to another level. We have the talent here, and I hope my success will encourage sponsors and people to support the sport more."
Trenker is involved with other racers in the region, and what he sees encourages him that others here may reach the world stage one day.
"We have a rider in our team, Mohammed Balooshi, an Emirati Red Bull motocross rider. He'll compete at the local motocross competitions and he will also look into rallying. I hope he can follow in my footsteps in creating a following and getting support from the local media and companies, which is really important."
Trenker also mentions James West, who was competing in the championship with Trenker until a crash in Tunisia this year that broke both of his wrists and ended his season. There is also 21-year-old Sam Sunderland, who races motocross under the KTM flag. "I want to slowly introduce him to off-road racing, because I believe he has the talent and the speed to literally, in five or six years time and with experience, be able to compete with the best in the world," says Trenker.
Winning the world championship has opened up many opportunities for the 35-year-old.
"There's a lot of pressure now from our supporters and partners to do the Dakar 2012, and this is something I have to look at.
"I'd love to do it; I would be lying if I said no. But I don't like the fact that it's in South America now, it's not really the Dakar. The Dakar for me is African desert - Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt - that's the spirit of Dakar, that's what I watched when I was young.
"I'm also the only German who's on this level, so there's a lot of interest from German companies wanting to take the opportunity to have me on a team with Marc Coma [the Spaniard who won the overall world championship alongside Trenker under KTM] to do things such as rally schools, etc."
With the newfound success, Trenker plans to focus more on competing next season. But amid the flurry of congratulations and offers, he has yet to sit back and fully savour his win.
"It's absolutely awesome. It's massive; I'm still coming to terms with it, it still hasn't really sunk in.
"I've come straight back to work, but I'm a completely changed person here. I take things a lot easier now, I celebrate every time I talk to people.
"Becoming a world champion doesn't happen very often, especially for someone like me who sits in the office so much."