Deegan adds Step Up to RallyCross duties

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Brian Deegan was third in Step Up at X Games Los Angeles 2011 (pictured) and 2012, the last time he competed in Moto X.

Having ridden in 18 consecutive X Games with Moto X events, Brian Deegan ended that streak by participating only in RallyCross at the Brazil and Barcelona stops this year (though bad weather canceled the races in Spain). Deegan doesn't compete in Speed & Style, Best Whip or Freestyle anymore, but he's still drawn to Step Up and has added that event to his schedule along with RallyCross at X Games Munich.

During a rain delay in RallyCross at Barcelona, Deegan watched the Step Up competition from the floor of the arena and was itching to get back on his bike. Among his 11 total X Games Moto X medals he has three golds, but none of those are in Step Up.

Having the perspective of a spectator for the first time gave him some insight to what has made guys such as Ronnie Renner, Matt Buyten and others successful at Step Up. spoke with Deegan earlier this month before it was announced that he'd have an additional RallyCross competition on Saturday in Munich to make up for the one canceled in Barcelona.

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"It's just something I feel like I still want to do, have the urge to do it," Brian Deegan says of adding Moto X Step Up to his X Games schedule. So you're riding Step Up again at Munich X Games. What prompted that?
Yeah, I feel like it's something I still enjoy doing and I still just love riding dirt bikes. I have competed in every single X Games since '99, the very first X Games [with motocross events], I've been at every single one on a dirt bike, you know the last two -- Brazil, Spain -- I didn't ride because of rally car overlapping the moto schedule but I was competing in rally car so I've done every X Games [since 1999].

I feel like I still want to ride moto, I want to go and compete, feel like I still have what it takes to be competitive and want to go out there and represent. So that's kind of the main reason and it's fun, it's just fun to go out there and ride.

The schedule is going to work out for me as of now. Friday is Step Up and I don't get into a rally car until Saturday, Sunday.

It's definitely not something my car sponsors are excited about [laughs]. But my moto sponsors are. I think moto sponsors are happy no matter what I do, just going out riding and the Internet stuff we do, every so often get a shot in the magazines. It's like when you see [Ricky] Carmichael, [Jeremy] McGrath or whoever, these guys still ride and people I think just respect it in general.

For me though I feel like I still want to hit some X Games. It's important to me, it's just something I want to do.

Did something cause you to pursue it again?
I feel like I was at X Games Spain in rally car, had a rain delay so I was waiting to race, Step Up came up so I walked over there to watch the event and I said, "Man, I really miss it." I want to ride, you know. It's just something I feel like I still want to do, have the urge to do it.

Being down there on the floor at Barcelona watching Step Up, did you feel like something was missing inside you?
Yeah, I feel like it was good for me to sit there and watch just because a lot of times I don't have that perspective. You know, usually I'm in my gear, hyped up thinking about, "Oh, man it's such a big deal, I have to clear the pole, I have to pick the right line, I have to stick to this line."

There were so many things I got to see standing there as a spectator, which was cool because I thought I really have to study it. It was cool, now I feel like I have more insight, a little more tricks to it now, seeing how it all unfolded.

And the techniques that were used to win, I think I was able to see that more. I feel like that was important to me. It was really going to help me going back next time.

Some of those new tricks you said you picked up on, are they bike setup or technique?
I would say technique. Bike setup is something I'm going to struggle with in Germany. I never put my bike on tour, so as of right now I'm hoping for the best.

I'm showing up and going to use Bryce Hudson's bike and bring my own bike parts for it. Hopefully it's good enough to be competitive, best case scenario. I wish I could fly over my bike so I was comfortable. But the way I see it, it's a dirt bike, a machine with two wheels and a motor, I'll just figure it out. Do it.

Do you like doing multiple events and crossing over like this between rally and moto?
I think it's important for me to do multiple events; I think that's what separates me and the other guys. Not that many guys do it, do it [with] success. As an athlete it kind of separates you from the other categories of athletes, in my mind, you know. I think it adds a lot of versatility.

Does one sport help the other and vice versa?
I would say that motocross helps me with rally and off-road trucks big time. Step Up probably not, it's more of just guts and going for it, that's definitely a strength you need for racing cars but Step Up and rally don't translate a ton.

Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images

Brian Deegan finished fifth at X Games Brazil, the only RallyCross so far this year because rain caused the X Games Barcelona races to be canceled.

What are you doing to train for Step Up right now?
You know, honestly I go to Icon Sports [a gym in Murrieta, Calif.], I go in there and I train doing things that help me get stronger with legs, strengthen everything for the impact, basically everything that has to do with Step Up strength, and I think it helps.

And that's kind of what I've been doing, going into the gym and training when I get time in between rally, trucks [and] my kid racing. I have so much stuff going on it doesn't leave much time to train. But if I can get in the gym two days a week, three days, that's good.

I try to ride a lot, ride in my back yard and I have a Step Up lip there. We have a motocross track a freestyle park, been trying to hit all that and just be on my bike in general. When I'm riding my motorcycle a lot, I feel like I can pretty much do any event. [It] makes me feel better.

It's good to have that time on the bike.
Yeah, and it's good to have those goals. Definitely if I'm going to do an event, I'm doing it to be competitive. You know I set a goal and it gives me a good reason to push and train hard, focus, it's just cool, you know, gives me something to look forward to and shoot for.

Speaking of goals and looking forward to Step Up in Munich, what do you plan on doing to the competition there?
I've won that event in other series but I've never won a gold medal at X Games in Step Up. I've gotten seconds and thirds a ton of times and it's like, if I can get a gold medal in that event, it'd mean a ton to me personally. It'd be such a huge milestone for me, something I've been trying to do for a long time.

And it's not going to be easy. Renner has a good little style, Buyten's good. I think there are some dudes that are just going to be hard to beat, their whole year's focus is on that one event, and they've built up pretty good technique, style that's really hard to beat.

For me I've been studying it with the little time I have, studying their styles. Hopefully, I can pick it apart and go for it because in the end they're good riders, but I've been riding a long time and I know I can do it. I'm just as good of a rider and there's no reason why I shouldn't be able to figure it out.

I want to win, and that's what I want to do.

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