Midlothian seventh grader Marek Backer is a gifted athlete and champion racer in one of the lesser-known sports around. A relative newcomer, he spends most of his time and effort on climbing the ranks in the world of BMX racing.

This type of bicycle racing is full of action and requires great skill to be a successful cyclist. To better explain, the contest is held on a dirt race course made of various jumps and rollers and a finish line. The participants — typically up to eight athletes — compete in a single-lap race at Backer's age level.

The multi-talented twelve-year-old was, however, formerly a winning motocross rider, even to the point of his mother homeschooling him during the 2017-18 school year. His mother, Roxann Backer, explained that it became apparent that her son was going to have to be schooled at home if he wanted to remain uber competitive on the racing circuit.

“At the time, he was training for motocross three days a week in Oklahoma," Roxann said. "That meant a lot of travel for the entire family."

“[...] In 2018, we really had to evaluate what was necessary to stay competitive in the sport," Roxann continued. "In the end, we determined that, although motocross was a sport that we as a family dearly loved, it just was not something that we could commit to fully."

She added, “When we decided that we weren’t able to continue with motocross, we began looking for something else for our kids to do, and that’s when we found BMX! It turns out that we have one of the nicest BMX tracks right here in our area. The DeSoto BMX is an amazing facility and the track operators are absolutely the best."

With all of that in mind, Marek finally decided to leave the sport he first loved, only to late replace it with BMX racing. He began his new sport in 2018 at the age of 11.

Marek now works with his trainer, Damien Lacombe, on the track three-to-four days a week at DeSoto BMX and trains off the course every day.

He has won the following awards since joining his BMX team:

•Super Nationals, DeSoto, TX (May 2018) – 1st in 11 Novice

•Grand Nationals, Tulsa, OK (November 2018) – 1st in 11 Novice

•Sooner Nationals, Tulsa, OK (February 2019) – 2nd in 12 Intermediate

•Cajun Nationals, West Monroe, LA (March 2019) – 1st in 12 Intermediate

•Super Nationals, DeSoto, TX (April 2019) – 1st in 12 Intermediate & 11-12 Mixed Open (Day 1), 1st in Mixed Open (Day 2)

Marek will soon enter the seventh grade at Walnut Grove Middle School this fall. He is the son of Rich and Roxann Backer and has two siblings — an older sister, Bailie, 25, and a younger brother, Crosby, 8.

The Backer family comes from an interesting background, as well.

Marek was born in Nebraska; however, when his parents sold their business in 2011 (he was 4), they all moved to Wyoming where his dad went to work for “his” family’s business.

Roxann explained, “moving to Texas was something that we talked about regularly, and when the opportunity was presented in the fall of 2016, we jumped at it. We don’t ever see ourselves leaving Texas.”

And rest assured, Marek is quite found of both Texas and his newfound love.

“I’ve always liked riding my bike. After trying BMX for a while, I realized I was fairly good at it, and it pushed me to want to try harder and to get even better," Marek said. "It is fun because I have an awesome team with people I love to hang out with. We all support and push each other. My favorite thing is to jump my bike and push myself out of my comfort zone to jump bigger jumps at different tracks."

Roxann added, “BMX can be rather expensive. It just depends on the type of equipment and parts you choose, and where and how often you choose to travel to races. Luckily, Marek was asked to join Premier Racing by team owner, Tony Cicala, in November 2018. Don Johle’s Bike World in Garland sponsors the team."

She further explained that Don Johle was one of the first to be inducted into the Texas BMX Hall of Fame and had an amazing BMX career himself. Marek has also recently retained a sponsor from motocross, 6D Helmets.

Roxann noted that both she and Rich support Marek because BMX racing is something he truly loves, and he works extremely hard at it.

"This sport is teaching him accountability, that his results are based on the work he puts into his training, on and off the track," his mother added.

Editor's note: Marek sustained a broken leg during a practice run on July 29. He will be sidelined for about three months but plans to return to action.