Brett "Mad Dog" Banasiewicz was six when he started riding BMX, eight when he started pulling tricks, and now, at 15 years old, he's winning his first professional BMX dirt competition with a victory Saturday at the Dew Tour's Nike 6.0 BMX Open.
He's been killing it in park comps for the past couple of years, and after earning a spot to compete in park last season as the Tour's youngest athlete, he decided to step it up a notch this year.
"I like trying new things and dirt was on the list this year," he said. He brought his usual park creativity to his dirt runs, with a barspin in, a front no-hander, truck to 360 barspin and triple whip, as he charged from jump to jump, even tricking the wallride as a grand finale.
L to R – Brandon Dosch, 2nd; Brett Banasiewicz, 1st; Luke Parslow, 3rd
Not the best of news to Brandon Dosch, who pulled off a double tailwhip, opposite 360 lookback and 720, and held onto the lead straight into the final round. But he was bumped to second when Banasiewicz threw down the sickest run of the night and became the youngest BMX winner in Dew Tour history. With the crowd in an uproar, his proud dad pumping his fists on the sidelines, and the judges in agreement, it was clear Mad Dog would lead the pack.
“I wanted to win. Let’s see if he can hold onto it this season.” -Brandon Dosch
The news was even harsher to Dosch given that he was standing in the winner's circle just a few short weeks ago at the Red Bull Stomping Grounds dirt contest held nearby. He's used to the hype in the last couple years over the BMX phenom that is Mad Dog, but as a competitive guy he's convinced in his own ability to come out on top in the Dew Tour.
"I wanted to win,' Dosch said. "Let's see if he can hold onto it this season."
Banasiewicz shared his strategy as well.
"I just wanted to play it safe for the first two, and I messed up on my second run so I kind of put a lot of pressure on the third run," he said. "I kind of passed by that and stuck the third one."
Third place went to Australian Luke Parslow, who has a dirt course in his own backyard and isn't ready to bow down to new blood on the Tour either.
Luke Parslow Backflip
"It reminds me of how I was when I was 16," Parslow said. "I was that kid who didn't stop riding, no matter what the weather was. It actually changed my attitude for this contest because of the wind and whatnot. I'm not gonna let little kids take my lunch money."
The weather tried to interfere with the dirt competitions during the weekend's event held at Chicago's Soldier Field South. But the schedule was adjusted and the jumps were tarped as rain, flooding, thunder and lightning tried to terrorize the course. Not to be outdone, Fuzzy Hall and crew were armed with shovels and tarps and successfully fought back at every break in the weather.
“I’m not gonna let little kids take my lunch money.” -Luke Parslow
Banasiewicz, of South Bend, Indiana, was the top qualifier in his first attempt to make it into the dirt discipline at the event's Open Qualifiers, with the goal of getting good placement in the competition. In the past, his priority has always been park, but he is drawn to dirt.
"I just always liked dirt," he said. "Jump after jump after jump is cool. It's way different than park actually and I don't know if it's as fun as riding park, but I like riding dirt."
“I like trying new things and dirt was on the list this year.” -Brett Banasiewicz
With the new blood on Tour, at 28 years old, Oakley rider Parslow could almost be considered a veteran in comparison, but his back-to-back flipwhips and frontflips in his first two runs shows that experience counts.
"These little kids keep showing up," Parslow said. "Dennis Enarson was young, he came out and blew it away. Anthony Napolitan came up and blew it away and then faded away. Now Brett's out here and I've seen all these kids come in, they're all new, 15-years old. I'm still here. Call me the old man, what you want, but I ain't going nowhere."
Hailing from nearby Michigan, Dosch, 21, isn't ready to stand defeated either.
"I'm going to be more prepared for the next event and I'm going to thoroughly go through my runs," Dosch said. "And I'm going to have a little bit more fun. I took this one a little too serious. I'm just going to chill, relax and I've got X Games next weekend."
Parslow will be heading into the Wendy's Invitational in Portland with high expectations as well.
"I've won in Portland, so hopefully I'm going to take the mindset there and just do what I've been doing," he said. "I've been having fun on my bike and just riding a lot. You never know what can happen, it's all in the day."
But whatever happens, it would be wise not to rule out a repeat performance from Mad Dog later this season. If not in Portland, then at another stop along the way.
1. Brett Banasiewicz, 92.94
2. Brandon Dosch, 90.56
3. Luke Parslow, 89.69
4. Seth Klinger, 89.37
5. Andy Buckworth, 88.00
For Dew Tour coverage of the event, and links to the full results from the competition, click here.
The next stop on the Dew Tour is the Wendy's Invitational from August 12-15. For ticketing, click here.