Last month in Vegas, Daniel Dhers reclaimed the Dew Tour dominance he held onto for three years running as the BMX park Dew Cup champ. From the time he made the move to America in 2006 to compete, the Caracas, Venezuela native has left an impression on the contest scene.
Last season was his first year on Tour that he didn't win the Dew Cup, and he jokes that Dave Mirra sabotaged him in finals after making a bet that he ride brakeless, and in the end the Dew Cup went to Nike 6.0 rider Garrett Reynolds.
"I feel like at one point I was kind of ahead of everybody," Dhers said. "And then when I went in last year, I felt like I was riding and I was on my game, but I had a few injuries and I never really had to deal with that."
Dhers with a fan during an autograph signing
This season, he was the overall leader heading in to the Dew Tour Championships, with 40-points distancing him from Reynolds, in second. As the guy dubbed Mr. Consistency, it shouldn't have been difficult for the DC rider to take the Cup and even the win. But it became a battle when he found himself in seventh place and out of both Dew Cup and podium contention going into his final run.
"What made a difference was the points and a half at the end," Dhers said. "Vegas could have messed everything up for me."
Dhers in Vegas at the Dew Tour Championships
Rather than the usual 100 points for a win, the Dew Tour Championships offered 150 to the winner, and so on down the line with the breakdown of points.
"I made the calculations and I was like, if Garrett wins and I'm in fourth, I still win," Dhers said. "But if I get fifth, that's it. And then I kept watching my place going, 'Fifth...sixth...seventh.' I was getting worried. So I thought, 'Just get back and try to do a run.' If I put a run together, at least I would get fourth. So I was like, 'Ok, cool. I think I can do it'"
He put an amazing run together to finish second to Ryan Nyquist and ahead of Reynolds in third, and it was enough to win the Dew Cup and the torch was passed.
"Dhers is back on top I could never ever be mad losing to those guys," Reynolds said. "My riding is...it's two different things. It's left and right, you know."
Dhers at the first event, the Nike 6.0 Open in Chicago
It was the hard work Dhers put in all season that earned him podium placement at every stop, and he methodically racked up the points that helped it all come together in the end.
"I learned a lot last year and when I came in this year I was like, 'You know what, you still got it, you just gotta be on your bike. Ride more,'" Dhers said. "I stopped going to the gym and doing all kinds of weird stuff. I was just like, 'You ride bikes, so just do that.'"
He said when he came in to the first stop he really wanted to be top-three, and he achieved the goal after placing second to Mike Spinner. Next up was the Wendy's Invitational in Portland, where he came through with a win.
Dhers at stop number 2 in Portland at the Wendy’s Invitational
"In Portland I hated the course but made it work," Dhers said.
Then he podiumed again in Salt Lake at the Toyota Challenge with third.
"In Salt Lake it was a difficult course," Dhers said. "I like Salt Lake, but I think I over think it in my head because of the altitude and all that. So I think I learned that this year."
Dhers at the third event of the season, the Toyota Challenge in Salt Lake City
With three events out of the way, all that was left was the Vegas finals and probably the biggest BMX park course in Dew Tour history.
"Coming into Vegas, I knew it was a big course so I knew Nyquist had a big upper hand, and it wouldn't matter who was going to be on or off," Dhers said.
Like he predicted, Nyquist won, but it was a miraculous comeback in his last run as well that catapulted him. But what was more important to Dhers was bringing home his fourth Dew Cup. Mission accomplished for the Greenville, North Carolina resident.
"I don't feel like a foreigner anymore," Dhers said. "I've been competing here for so long. I think that's what happened at the beginning. I was just the new kid trying to come up. But I didn't realize it until basically last year that, 'Man, you already won a lot of stuff. You're already in there.'"
Check out highlights of Dhers from the entire season