EAGLE RIVER - Wisconsin native Zac Zakowski won the UTV championship derby on Sunday at the AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack.
"Once you start doing this you can't stop," said professional UTV and ATV driver Zac Zakowski. "It's like a drug."
Zakowski started racing seriously when he was about 17 years old. The fun hobby quickly turned into a pro sport, a career and a lifestyle. He has been traveling to many different races since then, competing at the professional level.
"You kinda miss out on that stuff and you miss it but at the same time when you're doing this stuff, you don't," Zakowski said.
The sport is hard on the body and the wallet. Two years ago, Zakowski said while driving his ATV he hit a tree and tore his ACL in his knee. He was out for two seasons.
One thing almost all ATV drivers, pro or amateur, can agree on is the sport is truly a family affiar.
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my family," Zakowski said. "I mean you can walk the pits and probably almost everybody would say they do it because their family supports it and they do it as a family."
"The lifestyle is tiring because you load up the rig and the trailer to travel thousands of miles to race for an hour or two hours depending on the race," said Zakowski's mother, Linda. "Then you load back up to go home. But once you get to that site on the track you're excited and you just can't wait for things to get going."
Zakowski stopped racing for a while when his mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. Now his mother is in remission and Zakowski participates in races that raise awareness for the disease.
"He paints his whole quad pink and has stickers on it," Linda Zakowski said.