Xinjiang motorcycle racer rides towards dream, ambition
The highest temperature in Wupu Town of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has exceeded 30 degrees centigrade recently, but the hot weather cannot stop the ear-splitting roar of motorcycles on the Gobi Desert.
"If you don't practice on a daily basis, you'll get rusty and never stand a chance of winning," said Zaker Yakp, a motocyclist of the Wupu Dahaidao Racing Team who improved China's best result in Dakar Rally to the 33rd-place earlier this year.
With 11 kilograms of equipment on his back, the racer looked excited. "Every day, I look forward to practicing. It's like an addiction," he said.
Before his apprentices even showed up, Zaker rode into the desert at a gallop with no regard to the dust behind him.
Zaker was born and raised in Wupu Town, after which the "Wupu Dahaidao Racing Team" was named.
Located in the heart of the Yardang landform in Xinjiang, Wupu may be one of the most suitable place in the world for riding motorcycles.
A natural training ground, Wupu connecting Hami and Dunhuang City, is not far from Lop Nur and used to sit on the main trade route of the ancient Silk Road.
Nature has carved out all the terrains needed for cross-country motorcycle races here, that is why it has been selected as the race track of the Taklimakan Rally for many times.
"I like motorcycles, because it gives me a chance to pursue my dreams," said Zaker, who has loved motorcycles since childhood and started competing in motorcycle rallies at the age of 19.
He finished in the second place twice in 2010 and 2015 and the third in 2019 in China's most challenging race, the 'Around Taklimakan' Rally. Up to now, he has won more than 30 medals in motorcycle rallies.
Unlike many other motorcyclists, Zaker has never received professional training nor has any coaches or teachers, and he can not only race motorcycles but also do motorcycle stunt.
"At that time, we couldn't even afford to do motorcycle maintenance, not to mention buy new bikes," said Zaker, recalling the memory of his early motorcycling career.
But with the help piling up from all walks of life, the "Wupu Motorcycle King", who could have only practiced on the Gobi Desert, now has a special training base, a strong and reliable sponsor and his own team.
"From the very beginning of my career, I have received many people's help along the way. It is with their support that I can keep chasing my dreams," he said.
As motorcycling gets more and more popular, Zaker has become an idol for many local youngsters.
In order to promote the professional and large-scale development of the sport, the local government not only started a course on motorcycle sports at the Hami City Sports School, but also set up a training base in Wupu.
"Now I have six apprentices, and I want to help more capable and ambitious young motorcyclists realize their dreams so that they can win glory for our country," said Zaker, who coaches in his spare time.