Behind The Scenes: Brian Deegan Launches Himself Into The Blue

Success is defined differently depending on the individual, but for competitors, who are often their toughest critics, the concept is usually defined through winning, championships, and the constant pursuit of improvement. Most racers, no matter how many wins, championships, or trophies they have, ever seem to “arrive” at success, because for them, it is a constant and never-ending journey to achieve triumph in their own eyes.

Brian Deegan’s Success

deeganIMG_36432015By any stretch of the imagination, Brian Deegan would be considered extremely successful, especially if you have any ties to the off-road community. Coming from humble beginnings with a truckload of self-confidence and determination, Deegan has forged his own path in the motorsports industry. From winning a supercross race in the early years of his career to helping pioneer the sport of freestyle motocross with numerous X-Games gold metals (and co-founding the sport’s most prosperous multi-million dollar apparel company, Metal Mulisha), Deegan now finds himself competing in the highest form of off-road racing, and being damn good at it. 

Whether it was his strong background in off-road competition aboard a motocross bike or just his insanely competitive and never-quit mentality, Deegan took to the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series very quickly and in five short years has become one of the sport’s most feared competitors. As a multi-time champion in the LOORRS Pro Lite and Pro 2 classes, Deegan has burst into the short course racing circuit with just one goal – to win.

deeganIMG_38262015The success in off-road racing Deegan has found along the way has opened up a lot of doors, including the acquisition of big-name industry sponsors like Mickey Thompson Tires, FRAM, Rockstar Energy, Makita Tools, and even factory backing (a goal that eluded him in his motocross days) from factory Ford Racing.

With top-notch sponsors backing him and his team comes more expectations and more pressure – but also opens doors to do some pretty awesome activities, things that would make any off-road fanatic weep out of sheer happiness. Such is the case with his most recent venture backed by Mickey Thompson Tires and Ford Racing: the opportunity to film a commercial with the goal of absolutely launching his championship-winning Pro 2 race truck into the sky, across one massive jump. 

The face of the 150-footer.

The face of the 200-footer.

Taking place in the beautiful wine country of Temecula, California at the infamous Metal Mulisha Compound, Off Road Xtreme was on site to witness history in the making as Deegan jumped his 900+ horsepower Pro 2 across a 200-foot tabletop surrounded by the beautiful backdrop of sunny Southern California.

The Buildup

deeganIMG_36222015

The tow rig: A 2015 Ford F150 SuperCrew XLT 4×4

As zero hour approached for the jump, there was a considerable amount of buildup for the crew, Offroad Xtreme staff, and sponsor representatives on hand. The day started off with the arrival of an all-new 2015 Ford F150 SuperCrew XLT 4×4. For those that don’t already know, the 2015 F150 is completely redesigned over the outgoing 2009-2014 generation and features a reimagined interior and exterior along with an aluminum (yes, aluminum) body – something that is simply not available by any of Ford’s competition and sheds up to 700 pounds from the waistline.  

The silver F150 on hand was beautiful and featured a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, electronic six-speed transmission, chrome package with 18-inch chrome-clad wheels, and Ford’s new collapsible step designed to ease access to cargo in the bed.

deeganIMG_36132015Inside the F150 was a wide range of new features including a completely redesigned (and very comfortable) captain’s chairs interior, panoramic sunroof traveling the length of the roof, flow-through center console, and eight-inch dash-mounted LCD with backup camera, SYNC, Bluetooth, and a list of features we don’t even have room to list out.

While we will be conducting a full review on Off Road Xtreme of the 2015 F150 in the near future, getting some good hands-on time with the truck in advance was great, and Ford has really outdone themselves with the pickup. From the layout of the interior to the exterior styling, the 2015 F150 feels like a top-shelf and heavily refined half-ton.

deeganIMG_36792015Affixed to the F150 was Deegan’s own 20-foot enclosed trailer (painted black of course) with the “Deegan 38” branding proudly displayed on the side of it. Inside the trailer was Deegan’s steed, the championship winning Pro 2 designed, built, and prepped by the meticulous duo of Jeff Frana, Crew Chief, and Tanner Stephens, Pro 2 Chief Mechanic. We caught up with Frana as he was grooving the Mickey Thompson tires moments before the jump to discuss what goes into executing a stunt like this.

Offroad Xtreme: Good morning Jeff, how did you get started in this field and what do you think about the stunt Deegan is about to perform?

Jeff Frana: “Well, I got started in building off-road race trucks in 2001, so for close to 15 years this has been my life. The jump today is badass, and I’ve never actually seen a driver do something like this in person so it should be cool! It really puts the truck and driver through the ultimate test so it’s cool to see Deegan have so much confidence in something we have built.”

ORX: What kind of preparation goes into executing a jump like this?

JF: “Well, from the jump perspective, Deegan has worked extensively with his track builder to design the takeoff and landing. As far as the truck, we are actually running the same setup we use for the Lake Elsinore, California race. I prepped the Fox Shox three-inch four-tube bypass shocks with my own valving combination for that track, and that is exactly what we are running today.”

Frana applies a special groove pattern to the Mickey Thompson race tires.

Frana applies a special groove pattern to the Mickey Thompson race tires.

ORX: What are the biggest concerns with this jump?

JF: “The two biggest concerns are driver safety and the wind when jumping a truck this distance. The wind can push the truck around in the air if a gust catches it at the wrong time.” 

ORX: Does Deegan have any control in the air?

JF: “Yes, Deegan can control the pitch of the truck with throttle or brake inputs, just to a lesser degree than a dirt bike or RC car. More throttle can raise the nose, while applying the brake can bring the nose down.”

ORX: We know these trucks are built to jump, but this seems to be taking that theory to a whole new level, right?

JF: “Yes, for sure. Thankfully, as long as he downsides the jump, it’s really no big deal on him or the truck – it’s coming up short or going too far, to flat, that can hurt them.”

deeganIMG_36672015ORX: With Mickey Thompson putting this jump on, how has that relationship developed over the past few years?

JF: “It’s been a great relationship. Mickey Thompson has been a great partner across the board. They have opened their doors to us with their commitment to testing and developing their racing tires and they have given us excellent trackside support on race days!”

ORX: Well, we can hear the truck warming up now, thank you for your time and good luck!

JF: “Thanks, absolutely!”

The Jump

Deegan getting suited up while the crew documented the whole process.

Deegan got suited up while the crew documented the whole process.

With the guys warming the truck up and our film crew recording everything, we were down to minutes before go-time. We looked down on the series of four jumps built into a makeshift oval track, each one got bigger than the next, and no picture could do them justice. The takeoff ramp looked nothing more than a wall of dirt from Deegan’s perspective – a wall of dirt that lead to nothing other than the bright blue sky above.

deeganIMG_41662015From takeoff to landing, the big jump stretched out over a 200-foot plateau that was well-manicured dirt lined with grass – but it wouldn’t be getting touched during the jumping process. The morning air was still, the dirt prepped, and the sound of 900 hp echoed in the distance, ready to take flight.

With a simple thumbs-up from all parties involved, it was now go-time as Deegan accelerated down the face of the staging area toward the 200-footer. Accelerating up the face of the jump with steady input, the truck took to the air and sailed perfectly toward the landing zone. 

Pictures alone do not give the size of this jump justice.

Pictures alone do not give the size of this jump justice.

In what seemed like forever, the truck sat 30-feet off the deck of the jump suspended in mid-air and slowly approached the landing. With minor inputs, Deegan successfully landed the truck nice and even on the dirt below.

Let’s Do It Again!

deeganIMG_40442015After landing the 200-footer once, Deegan began doing lap after lap on the makeshift oval track that consisted of two jumps per straightaway. It was nothing short of amazing to watch as Deegan maneuvered his Pro 2 through the air again and again, and all the while we continued to cover the phenomenon. After 20 minutes of going round and round the track, the shoot was complete, and our minds were blown. It’s not everyday you get to see a Pro 2 flying through the air, much less over a 200-foot tabletop. 

Deegan’s continual jumping was a testament to his determination and skill behind the wheel. It was a great experience being able to take part in such a great exhibition of skill because when flying that far, there are no safety nets and there was no luck involved. deeganIMG_40672015For more on Brian Deegan and the entire Deegan 38 race team, keep it locked on Off Road Xtreme and enjoy the gallery below!

Photo gallery

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