With his introduction into the prestigious 20K point club – a select group of amateur BMX bikers who have won hundreds of district races – the Whitman Elementary student is training for the state qualifier, which takes place in Seattle on Sunday. He’s in the 20K club for both the 20-inch-wheel “class” bike and the 24-inch-wheel “cruiser.”
Before he discovered BMX biking, Mikkel raced go-karts. His father, Maxwell Devore, works as a car detailer at River City Body and Paint, where they also paint go-karts. Mikkel tried his hand at BMX racing when he was 7, he said, and he was hooked after winning his first competition.
“My dad kept asking me, ‘Do you wanna do go-karts or BMX?’ ” Mikkel said. “I said BMX.”
From that day forward, the Devores have devoted time and money to Mikkel’s BMX career. Mikkel and his father travel across the state regularly to attend cross-country tournaments. In the past year, they’ve also been to California, Canada, Oklahoma, Nevada and Utah.
Good gear is an investment, too. Bikes cost around $2,000 with custom painting, Maxwell Devore said. He credits Mikkel’s first sponsor for helping him achieve so many wins so quickly.
“If it wasn’t for Bustout BMX, we wouldn’t be where we’re at now,” Devore said.
Devore said his son basically never lost a race the first two years he competed – he’s been the Washington state champion for the 10X age division three years in a row.
Though Mikkel played football last year and wishes he could play lacrosse, he knows that BMX is going to demand all of his time this year. His Californian opponents are particularly good, especially because climate works in their favor.
“They get the advantage,” Mikkel said. “They get to ride year-round.”
Mikkel’s success has made him a role model to local kids at the Joe Albi track. Jay Brothers, a volunteer at the track, said his twin sons, also 10, look up to Mikkel.
“He takes kids under his wing,” Brothers said, “teaches them methods.”
Brothers’ sons Zach and Dylan attend Whitman Elementary with Mikkel.
“He’s disciplined and well-mannered,” Brothers said.
Some of Mikkel’s success could be hereditary: His father and uncles were part of the Spokane BMX scene in the ’70s and ’80s.
Devore said Mikkel spends a lot of time racing at the Peninsula Indoor BMX track in Port Orchard, Wash. While the Joe Albi track is great for beginning bikers, it doesn’t offer much of a challenge for advanced riders like his son, he said.
The Devores will move to Gig Harbor, Wash., this summer, where Mikkel already has friends because of the time he’s spent racing on the West Side. Devore’s partner also lives there with her son, who also bikes.
Someday, Mikkel wants to attend college on a BMX scholarship. But he said he plans to take a break when the Olympics come around and try for the gold.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter