Brian Deegan wrapped up his second Lucas Oil Off Road Championship in the Pro 2 Unlimited class with a third-place finish at this weekend’s series finale at Firebird Raceway, and he enters this week’s Global Rallycross Series finale at the Las Vegas SEMA show with a very realistic chance of winning his second auto racing championship in a span of only a few days. We were surprised to see Deegan spinning laps at Pala Raceway last week on his Honda CRF450R, considering what he had at stake in the coming days…
We’re were surprised to see you out here riding moto when you have such a big week coming up.
Well, out of racing cars and trucks, moto is still one of the things that I like to do the most. So, we’re out here at Pala, and I really like this track because the sand here reminds me of being back home in Nebraska. Plus, I consider riding motocross excellent training because you have to focus, and it’s great for my endurance. Both of those are key for racing four wheels. Don’t get me wrong, though, because there are moments when I swap out a little and almost crash [laughs]. That’s when I think that I need to back it down because there would be a lot of disappointed people if I didn’t make it out to these races. In the LOORRS Pro-2 class, I have the points lead with only one race left, and two days later I race Tanner Foust in Las Vegas for the Global Rallycross Championship. So, it’s kind of crazy that it’s coming down to these two big, big events, but it’s great that I have moto to clear my head.
For clearing your head, what would you say is safer: riding motocross, or hitting ramps?
Let’s just say that a couple weeks ago I was doing some backflips off my ramps, and my team freaked out and told me to back it down [laughs]. So, I made an agreement with them that after these two championship races are over, I get to ride with my boys again. As a result, I’m out here riding motocross, if that explains your answer. Plus, I think it’s safer.
When you ride moto, your heart rate gets way up there because of the intensity. Not taking anything away from freestyle, but it’s a different kind of workout, right?
Absolutely, and there are two different mind frames that you have to have for each. In freestyle, it’s about getting the courage to do a trick. In moto, it’s about trying to be fluid and carry your momentum around the track. There are just so many more cool aspects that come into play when you riding motocross. Freestyle, it all comes down to who has the biggest balls [laughs].
Tell us more about the car racing. How does it feel? You’ve gone from a rich motorcycle background, and now your translating it into big success in two different disciplines on four wheels.
Yeah, I guess you can put it that way. My motocross background was a tough road. I had been doing it ever since I was a little kid, and then I eventually turned pro with it. However, I got away from moto to do freestyle at that time. I always missed it though, and car racing was kind of like another way for me to get back into racing.
I started off with off-road trucks, and fortunately enough, it worked out because that allowed me to get into car racing. I’m just super blessed and fortunate that car racing worked for me because for a lot of people it doesn’t.
There are two totally different riding styles between trucks and cars, right? Is it like racing a dirt bike compared to a quad?
[Laughs] I don’t know because I’ve never raced a quad. I would say that racing off-road trucks is like doing an outdoor National because you’re wide open and really aggressive. In rally car racing, you have to be really smooth and precise with your driving. It’s totally different. I go from one to the other all of the time, and you just have to be able to shut off your brain between the two.
How nervous are you coming into these next two races?
[Laughs] You know what’s crazy? I’ve blocked out these two championships for the last month. I told myself, “Alright, the day is going to come, so don’t worry about it now.” In my head, though, I feel that I’ve truly been here countless times. I strive to put myself in this sort of situation. For me, I think that it’s great and I think that we need to have a good time, and honestly, I feed of the pressure. I turn pressure into a positive, and I say, “I love it!” I love looking at the other guy being nervous [laughs]. I always consider myself the underdog, and that takes some of the pressure off of me. In the end, I’ve achieved everything in my life that I wanted to achieve, and I feel that at this point it’s just for fun.
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