Brennan Buiso returned from the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships last week in Scotland with a bronze medal, but also a broken heel and bruised up body.
The Durango BMX racer competed in both the 20-inch class masters division as well as the 24-inch cruiser division in the 30-34 age group.
The main difference, besides the wheel size, Buiso said is that class is one of the pro divisions.
Buiso reached the main event finals in both.
Both disciplines began with three preliminary rounds, called “moto rounds,” where the riders have to finish in the top four to advance. Buiso moved through rounds without much problem in the cruiser division, but said he “barely made the main event.”
In the cruiser semis, Buiso said he hit another rider while racing. “That zapped my momentum and I came to a dead stop,” he said.
Buiso, however, sprinted back and in the final 20 or 30 feet he said passed three guys to reach the division’s main event.
Buiso was also a bit unlucky in the cruiser finals, but this time it was at the beginning of the race.
“I was definitely feeling I was a top runner for winning the whole thing,” he said, “But I spun my wheel out of the gate.”
Buiso, however, made a furious comeback to reach the podium in third. He cut underneath everyone on one turn to move from eighth to sixth, then had a good push on the rhythm section to pass two more riders. On the final stretch he said he pedaled as hard as he could and passed one more rider to win bronze.
“It was good considering how bad it started,” Buiso said. “I was pretty bummed coming out of the gate, but all of the USA coaches were stoked (with the result). To make the podium is what everyone wants.”
“He slipped his wheel out of the gate and came out last,” said Casey MacNiven, Durango BMX board president. “Then he fought all the way back to get third. That was pretty incredible to watch.”
Buiso also rallied in the semifinals of class competition, passing two riders on the final straightaway to secure his spot in the finals. He said he was racing some of the top master racers in the finals and was closing in on a podium position before crashing.
Buiso said he cut low to pass some riders and move into fourth or fifth. The sport, however, is pretty cutthroat, he said, and one of his competitors took him out.
“There’s basically zero rules; you can hit each other all day,” he said. “I was battling a guy trying to take me out and he hit my handle bars at full speed in the rhythm section.”
Buiso crashed and it not only took him out of the race, it also broke his heel in three places and bruised up his shoulder and back.
Buiso said it will be at least eight weeks until he can ride, and he is crossing his fingers that he won’t need surgery.
Another BMX racer from Durango, Wesley Speicher, competed in his first world championships in Scotland.
Speicher raced in 14U expert competition in both the class and cruiser divisions.
In cruiser, his dad Jeff Speicher, said Wesley was looking good to qualify. He finished second in his first two heats, but then finished fifth, one spot away from advancing, in the third round.
Jeff said Wesley had about the same outcome in class.
“It was a great experience,” Jeff said. “And it was cool for the whole Durango BMX community.”
Buiso and Speicher are both coaches with Durango BMX. Buiso said his family and some other families were pretty integral in getting a track here and he started racing on it when he was 9 or 10 years old. Now, Buiso is also the Durango track operator, under the Durango parks and recreation department, and has also been coaching for the last five years. Buiso said Durango now has one of the highest rider counts among Colorado’s tracks.
“I think it has gotten more popular in the last six years, once the board stepped up and started bringing in sponsors to help buy things,” Buiso said.
Buiso estimated 90 racers competed here last weekend.
Jeff was also formerly the board president and said its mission is to grow the sport, noting it has programs for kids that allow them to participate at no cost.
If Strider bike riders do five races, for instance, they get a free bike. “We’ve given away 10-15 bikes a year,” Jeff said. “We have a long lineage of BMX racers here; it’s a good foundation for every cycling discipline.”
More information at http://www.dgobmx.com/