Businessman, father, champion short course off-road racer, RallyCross competitor and progenitor of the freestyle motocross movement, Brian Deegan is more than any one of those things. The founder of the Metal Mulisha and the lifestyle brand it spawned, the Mulisha's General is a brand unto himself. And, however you attempt to define him, there's no doubt he's coming off his best year as a competitor.
Not only did he win the Pro Lite championship in the 2011 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, repeating his title from his rookie season in '09, he also took on the much tougher challenge of the Pro 2 category, and nailed it, becoming the first rookie to win a Pro 2 title in modern short course history. In the process, he beat some of the sport's fiercest competitors. In 2011, six different drivers won Pro 2 races; several more should have.
But short course off-road racing, even though it's Deegan's main focus, was only part of his 2011 story. It began with the announcement of a factory deal with Ford. Then there was an appearance at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl midget car race. At the X Games in Los Angeles, he won a bronze medal in the Step-Up – essentially a high jump for dirt bikes – and the gold he coveted for RallyCross after a pair of silvers the year before. He capped it off by competing for the U.S. in the Race of Champions in Germany, lining up against Formula 1 and rally champions from across the globe. Topping it off, at Jason Ellis's Ellis Mania mixed martial arts event, he battled BMXer/Rally racer Dave Mirra and won.
“2011's been the best year in my whole career, period,” says Deegan. “I won both championships, I won X Games gold…then I got invited to Race of Champions to race with Vettel and Schumacher. How do I ever top that? It made me think, ‘Should I try something different next year?' It would be the ultimate statement to say, ‘I'm done, I already won.' It would be gnarly. But I feel like I have too much fun with short course, I enjoy it too much.”