In terms of BMX Park competitions in the U.S., 2012 has been a bit of an anomaly. X Games, traditionally held in late August in past years, moved up to the end of June. And the Dew Tour series, traditionally a four-stop series spanning from May through October, instead switched to a one-stop championship that transpired in Ocean City, Md. in mid August.
There was the occasional regional event, but not much else. And pros that had formerly relied on BMX Park contests were forced to look elsewhere for means of exposure -- some went the video route, some started traveling to more international events. Daniel Dhers did both.
Heading into X Games Los Angeles this past June, Daniel Dhers, 27, was a two-time X Games gold medalist in BMX Park that had just picked up a new sponsor deal from Specialized in Morgan Hill, Calif. During prelims, Dhers nailed two solid runs and looked poised to qualify himself a spot in the finals. Then, on his final run, Dhers bailed on a corked 720 and was catapulted from his bike to the flat bottom of the BMX Park course. He didn't get his hands out, taking the brunt of the crash to his face.
Initially, things looked grim, but Daniel later emerged with a lacerated gum and a bad headache. He sat out the remainder of the contest and finished in tenth place. He did not qualify to the finals.
He returned to Greenville, N.C., and focused on riding, building new additions to the Animal House indoor park, and filming for web videos for Red Bull and Vital BMX. He was definitely not slowing down or affected by his X Games outcome. The Animal House, an indoor park Dhers purchased from Dave Mirra, even added dirt jumps to the outside of the complex.
Later in the summer, Dhers received an invite to compete in the Dew Tour Pantech Beach Championships in Ocean City, Md. Again, he didn't make it out of prelims, finishing in 12th place.
Despite the disappointing summer results, Daniel Dhers kept riding and traveling. In 2011, Dhers traveled to Costa Rica, Africa, Hong Kong, and Europe, as well as returning home to Caracas, Venezuela several times. And once Dew Tour was done, his focus again returned to international travel.
In mid-September, Dhers traveled to Croatia, followed by Gdansk, Poland for the Baltic Games, alongside fellow Red Bull team rider Drew Bezanson. Dhers placed third, Harry Main took second, and Bezanson first. It was a return to form for Daniel Dhers, a redemption of sorts.
And this past weekend, the redemptions continued. Dhers returned home from Poland, traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil (missing a flight in the process) and nailed his first major win of the 2012 season at the Jump Festival, beating out Ryan Guettler by fractions of a point.
In past interviews, Daniel Dhers has said that once he's done with a professional career, he would like to help shape the sport, and make it more "globally connected." Moving past a summer that didn't go quite as expected, Daniel Dhers is staying true to his word. He's currently on a plane to Kazakhstan, the fictional home of Borat, to spread the gospel of BMX.
"See you in 24 hours world," said Daniel as he boarded the plane for Kazakhstan.