To keep up with Brian Deegan, follow him on Instagram @briandeegan38
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Brian Deegan is a man of many talents—Freestyle motocross pioneer, former Supercross winner, truck racer, rally car racer, and father. Nowadays his weeks and weekends look much different than they did when he was making a living hitting jumps. His main professional focus is off-road truck and rally car racing, but that doesn't mean he has stepped away from motocross entirely. With two young sons and a daughter, Deegan is beginning to pass the torch to his kids, allowing them to race in whatever aspect they choose.
Brian's oldest son Hayden—aka Dangerboy—is a top amateur motocross racer, his daughter Hailie races Trophy Karts, and his youngest son has just begun riding dirt bikes. Talent abounds in the Deegan family, and between his off-road truck races, we stopped by Brian's house to catch up with him while he hit some jumps with his buddies.
What have you been up to lately?
This year has gone by so fast; it's crazy. We started this year focused on winning the Pro 2 Championship in truck racing, since it slipped away on us last year. We did a lot of testing, went into Pro 2 racing and got the lead, and the whole season has been going really well. We have the finals coming up in Elsinore this weekend. My goal for the past few years has been to win that championship, and it looks like I'm going to be able to do that, based on the points lead I have. Other than that, it's been about Hayden's motocross racing. We've been doing a ton of racing. When he first got into it, we were dead serious and I was full mini dad status. I kind of took a step back, and was like, "You know what. He has so many years, and I think I'll work with my other son Hudson who just started riding." I just want to keep it fun, and have fun at the track. If they want to ride, cool. If they don't want to ride, that's fine too. That's kind of been my attitude this year. Like I said, I feel like I've done everything in my life on a dirt bike, and even in four wheels, I'm happy with where I'm at. At this point, it's all just bonus time and having fun. I've been able to also build a tire line this year—the Deegan 38 tires. My business focus has been four-wheels, because I feel like I've done a lot in motocross and Supercross, but I want to be involved on a bigger level with factory teams. I've realized that I need bigger business to do that and that's why I've focused on the tires with Mickey Thompson and it's growing great.
So is your goal to get more involved with motocross racing?
That's the goal: To have the power to come back and sponsor the things that I like—Supercross and motocross. I want to help the guys that are like me when I was racing, struggling to get help. I'd love to be in that position—to help guys make it. There's money in four-wheel racing, but in two-wheel racing, it's been tough. You still see guys struggling that are outside of the top-five. I have a few big races coming up, and I have one more rally car race left at Sema this year. Sema is our biggest show of the year. One thing I've noticed with four-wheels is that it's so much bigger of a world than what I thought two-wheels was before I got into four wheels.
You still ride from time-to-time, right?
Yeah, I've been able to get back to riding with the guys here and there. I still have jumps at my house, but I don't know how much longer I'll have ramps at my house, because my kid will want to hit them one day.
What if your kids come to you one day and say, "Dad, you know what… I'm over this racing thing; I want to get into freestyle." Are you going to let them?
(Laughs) Yeah, I'm always worried about that. My son is such a free mind and on his own path. He sees the guys riding every day, and he sees that there are guys that made a living just doing freestyle and X Games. That's going to cross his mind. If he decides to make a choice between racing and FMX… I'll be honest; I'm not letting him do freestyle. If he wants to do it when he's 25 years old, that's fine, but he's not doing it while he's under my roof. It's too dangerous to do, because freestyle has gotten way gnarlier than when I did it. Plus, how many guys actually make a retirement out of it? Let's be honest. You have to be a marketing master to make a living out of that, and I don't want to set him up for that. I can control that up to a certain point, and my goal for him is to see him race motocross and Supercross and carry on with that if that's what he wants to do. If he is looking other places, let's get into car racing. I've been able to build a foundation there. I think it's safe, and I think it's awesome because you're still racing and it's a different level of competition. If you race motocross, I think you can transfer over to just about anything, and I don't think I'm wasting any time with him at the track. My dad said, "Every minute you spend with your kid—where ever it is—it's not wasted time." In the end, we're spending time together and he's building a skill that I think he is going to be able to use. He said that he wants to play football and baseball, and when he did, I was like, "I'm not going to the baseball field; let's just get that straight right now. I don't know how to play baseball and I'm not going (laughs)." I might let him play football, though.
With everything that you have your hands in, what do you enjoy the most?
I would say riding dirt bikes. When I get to go to a track like Cahuilla, or Pala back in the day, and it's freshly groomed and you're the first guy on the track, that's the best time. I still have yet to match that with anything. Winning car or truck races is badass. It's such a huge accomplishment. But as far as what I would choose to fill my day with, and what's the most fun, it's still dirt bikes. Unfortunately, I don't make a living doing that, so I have to make a living racing cars.
What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
I'd say right now, we're just trying to wrap up the championship in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Truck series, and I'm building a truck for next year. I'm also wrapping up the rally car racing. But to be honest, this is sponsorship time, and I've been dealing with Ford, Fram, Odyssey, Rockstar, Makita—big corporate players. This isn't like trying to find a gear or tire deal; these are big corporate companies and slow moving machines. It's all about marketing right now, and it's no secret that these big companies want social media marketing. I feel like that's something I've focused on. My kid, for example, has the biggest social media following of any amateur and he rides a 50 (laughs). Let's just say, we kind of know what we're doing, and that's what these big companies want. If there is any clue I can give riders, focus on the social media a little bit, because it's a valuable asset. I understand that winning championships is important, but the social media aspect is sometimes just as powerful. So that's what I'll be doing for the rest of the year. Next year, I'll be racing trucks and rally cars, and my kids will be doing all their sports, so it's pretty cool.