Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha And The Metal Mulisha Land Scott Champion A Ride At Lake Elsinore
Long before Brian Deegan became the anti-hero of the motocross world, he was a struggling privateer from Nebraska, racing across the country in the 125 class aboard a Kenny Watson tuned Moto XXX Suzuki. A fixture at the front of the pack in the mid-90’s, Deegan earned his place in history by ghost riding his bike over the finish line double after winning the Los Angeles Supercross main event in 1997. Despite this and other impressive runs, he was passed over for lucrative rides numerous times before ultimately turning his back on the racing circuit and developing the Metal Mulisha with Larry Linkogle.
The rise of the Mulisha and its widespread reach is worthy of a book in itself, as the DGAF attitude reaches every corner of the country with shelf space in mall stores, but racing in some way is still part of “The General’s” program. By sponsoring Josh Grant for a handful of years, the skull logo showed up on the gear of a Factory Honda racer, just below the iconic wing. During the 2011 season, rumors began to circulate that a team created and run by the Metal Mulisha would hit the circuit for the following year. Over the of season, talk of the team died down and was more or less forgotten until it was announced they would be a major sponsor to the Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha group.
While at Deegan’s house the week before the X Games, we spotted a full Star/Valli race bike in the garage. The bike was part of the team sponsorship and many expected Deegan to use it in his final X Games as a motocross rider, but the lack of time necessary to get comfortable forced it to be pushed aside in the garage.
Scott Champion is a privateer in every meaning of the word. His sparse yet very dedicated list of supporters helped the California native hit every round of the West Coast Supercross Lites series, where he finished as high as ninth (Las Vegas) and ranked 17th overall in the point standings. But as the Nationals approached along with the daunting costs of traveling to the East Coast for the majority of the summer, it was clear that Champion’s season was over. While in Southern California over the summer, Champion and members of the Mulisha began riding together and discussed the idea of pulling the bike out of storage for the final round of the year at Lake Elsinore.
“I know where he is coming from, because no one helped me,” said Deegan. “I wanted to help him out.” The lengths that Deegan and the team went through to prepare both rider machine was impressive, as there was only a small window available to mesh. With the majority of his career taking place aboard a 250, Champion spent the weeks leading up to the event familiarizing himself with the increased power of the big-bore Yamaha.
His plans to run the final round were kept relatively quiet and on the day of the race, many wondered who was racing the extra bike under the Star/Valli tent, a realization of how quickly a racer can be forgotten. As Deegan’s long-time mechanic, Craig Koback, tended to the bike, Champion once again got in the flow of a race day program. By the end of the two qualifying sessions, Champion was ranked 33rd overall and then lined up for the motos.
After taking the summer off from racing, Champion’s 26-21 moto scores were enough to claim 28th overall. Coming into the off-season, these finishes and one-off support may not be enough to land a full-time ride, but are a reflection to what a rider can do when given any type of help.