Dubai: Destiny had something special in store for KTM-UAE rider Tim Trenker.
It was the Pharaons Rally of Egypt that first ignited his love for rallying as a teenager two decades ago. And last week, the 35-year-old German returned to the place, to create history by becoming the first UAE-based world rally bike champion by winning the 2010 World Championship Open Production Trophy, thanks to a second place finish in his class.
"It's still sinking in," a smiling Trenker, who is a Dubai resident since 1997, told XPRESS. "It all started for me in 1993 in Egypt. I was 18 and it was my first Pharaons Rally. I was there in front of all my heroes, and now I return to Egypt and clinch the title over there. It was very, very emotional for me. It's a lifetime achievement and an absolute dream," he said.
For an amateur, Trenker revealed his ecstasy at clinching a fantastic fourth position in the overall World Championship standings. And he had many reasons to treasure his win. For starters, Trenker revealed the KTM-UAE team hadn't even planned to compete in any event on the 2010 FIM Cross-Country calendar besides the season opening Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. A strong result at the ‘home event' made possible by James West finishing second coupled with Trenker's fifth place finish in the overall standings was what encouraged the team to go for the next rally in Tunisia. "We were leading the production class standings one-two. Based on that, our sponsors, ADCB, Al Shafar Group and GAC supported us with the funding, saying, ‘Let's give Tunisia a go and see how we do' and that's how it started," Trenker said.
Tragedy struck KTM-UAE in Tunisia as the team lost West to an injury on the first day of the rally, leaving Trenker, who himself had sustained a broken finger on the eve of the event, to battle his way to a second place class finish. A tight budget prevented him from going to Brazil, but he knew the title would still be his with a top five finish in Egypt. "My experience that I've acquired over the last 17 years was the key factor why I was able to keep a calm head and become world champion," said Trenker, revealing that he had a near escape while overtaking a truck in the final minutes of the Pharaons Rally.
For now, the man who is also managing partner of KTM-UAE hopes his success will help garner more support for talented Emirati and expat rally competitors.