Brian Deegan broke into the racing scene at the age of 17 when he changed motocross history. In 1997 at the LA Coliseum, Deegan was about to cross the finish line in first place. At that moment, he threw his bike (still in motion) and clinched the win. This now iconic move became known as “ghost riding” and began what is now Freestyle Motocross. His success continued from then on. Deegan was the first ever to complete a 360 in competition, and, to this day, is the most decorated athlete in X Games history.
In 2005, Deegan faced a near-death experience while taping for MTV’s Viva La Bam. While performing a backflip, Deegan under-rotated his bike and hit his midsection on the handlebars. He lost a kidney, a significant amount of blood and lacerated his spleen. Not even this could stop his resilient and fearless attitude.
Deegan added two more wheels to his racing career in recent years, venturing into Rallycross, Short Course Trucks with LOORRS. Today, Deegan races two and four wheels, coaches his children and is a multimillion-dollar business owner. Read what the motocross legend has to say:
How did you first get started in motocross?
My dad used to take me to the track every day after school, and we would compete at local races during the weekends. Being with my Dad while racing was the best part.
What’s your favorite FMX trick? What’s the hardest to pull off?
I’d say I enjoy whipping the bike the most – it just feels natural. The hardest trick would be the 360.
You’ve competed in every X Games – do you have a favorite?
X Games 2012 when I won Gold in Rallycross.
What’s it like to see how the competition has evolved?
It’s pretty surreal. I’m kind of happy I’m racing 4 wheels now lol.
What was the learning curve behind transitioning into 4-wheel racing? What’s the experience been like for you?
The learning curve wasn’t tough for me. There is a lot of crossover between racing dirtbikes and trucks – the cornering, passing, lines and how you adjust yourself in the air is all very similar between both.
Between FMX, LOORRS and Rallycross – which do you enjoy best? Why?
I enjoy all of them for different reasons. I love FMX and Moto because it’s a great workout, and I get to ride with my sons. LOORRS is awesome because my entire family gets to experience it. My daughter has turned into a pretty good racer herself; seeing her excel is rewarding. I like Rallycross because of the exposure it’s generating. It seems to be the future for my four-wheel career.
You’re the man behind the “ghost ride”, first ever to do a full 360 in competition and most decorated Freestyle Motocross rider in X Games history. What do you credit your success to?
Hard work and [the notion] ‘never stop believing in yourself.’ All the doubters fueled the fire for me to continue to push myself and train harder than my competition.
Who made the biggest impact on your career? Did they give you any advice you still follow to this day?
Again, it would be my dad. He always encouraged me to apply mysel 100%. Without him giving me advice, I’d be a different person today.
Thoughts on when Hallie and Haiden said they wanted to join the FMX and racing world? What advice have you given them?
I’ve been able to take everything I’ve learned throughout the years and share it with them. A lot of times I learned the hard way, so to help them avoid that is peace of mind.
Your name is synonymous with Metal Mulisha. What was the original intent behind it, and how has it evolved into a $30 million brand?
It was a big part of my two-wheel career – it was about our crew who all came from the same cloth. I never thought it would be as big as it is.
So why did it begin, and what has it mean to those in it now that it has evolved?
Honestly, it was a name that we put on our group of guys that shared the same believes and style. At the time, we were anti-corporate and were just being ourselves. With the help of X Games it exploded and the rest is history.
Over the next few years, what do you see yourself doing? Still competing, coaching your kids, etc.?
I see myself competing for the next 10 years. I also plan on giving my kids 100% so they can enjoy the same success I have.
It’s been almost 20 years since you broke onto the scene – what’s the one memory you always look back on?
Man, there are so many! But at the end of the day it would be the time I landed the first 360 at the LA Coliseum.
Could you expand on how teaching your kids helps them with life in general?
First and foremost, I want my kids to have fun! However, at the same time, I want them to learn that hard work and determination can lead to great things! My kids work hard both on the track and off and that helps them with their everyday lives.
If you could compete against anybody who would it be? Why?
Anybody that is competitive. It’s not motivating to race guys that don’t have the same skill or equipment as I do. I want to be the best, so I have to race with the best.
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