Hmong American's ‘need for speed’ breaks down barriers in Minnesota motorcycle racing

The wall in Steve Yang's basement in Brooklyn Center is lined with awards from the various motorcycle races he's competed in.

But he says his latest achievement is his biggest one yet.

"I feel very proud of myself for doing that. I feel that it was a big goal I was able to achieve over all the years," Yang told FOX 9.

The 29-year-old father of five says he's always had a need for speed, growing up on a farm in Wisconsin and riding everything from dirt bikes to ATVs. It wasn't until he moved to Minnesota seven years ago and bought his first motorcycle at his uncle's urging that he fell in love with the sport.

"It just makes me feel like very at peace. I don't have to think about anything outside of where I’m at in this moment in this time," Yang said.

After several years of competing in amateur races, Yang says this past summer he became the first Hmong motorcycle racer to qualify to race at the professional level in Minnesota. 

In fact, Yang believes he is one of only two racers of Hmong descent to race in Motoamerica's professional class in the entire country.

"It's very unusual for a professional Hmong racer just because it takes a lot of talent, a lot of skills, a lot of determination and also you have to sacrifice a lot just to be out there," said Yang.

Yang hopes to get sponsored by a motorcycle racing team, so he can continue to pursue his passion and maybe inspire others to start their engines to get their lives on track.

"It kind of opens the door for all of the other racers or anyone in general who can look at me and say 'wow. This person was able to achieve something he set his mind to'," said Yang.