GAYLORD, Mich. — Living life on the edge is what Dave Mirra has been doing since childhood.
The internationally known BMX star got his start playing around with the kids in his Syracuse, N.Y., neighborhood, but soon flat surfaces just weren’t enough and it became all about ramps and jumps.
By his mid-teens, Mirra was getting recognized for his talent and in 1992 he became a professional. When 1995 saw the introduction of the X-Games, Mirra was at the forefront of the media explosion that came to be known as action sports.
Sixteen years later he still holds more BMX gold medals than any other athlete, and more X-Games medals than anyone in the event’s history. Mirra has no plans of slowing down his accumulation of medals. Although he still likes to have fun on the bikes, most of the big air that Mirra gets these days comes from rally racing.
Transitioning from two to four wheels has had challenges, but for Mirra that has only made him more determined to become one of the sport’s best. Mirra came on board with Vermont Sports Cars in 2008 as the third member of the three-car rally team consisting of Travis Pastrana and Ken Block.
“Pastrana paved the way in regards to someone from action motorsports to be a rally driver, which gave me the opportunity to test, and here I am and I’m psyched.”
Beginning his fourth season behind the wheel of the No. 40 Monster Energy Subaru WRX STi, Mirra has a lot to be psyched about. He has already racked up two Rally America Open Class podium finishes and has seen even greater success in RallyCross.
Mirra has always been driven to succeed and his passion for rally racing is visible both on and off the course.
“Rallying is just awesome and each day is a new and exciting memory. Stage rally really is about mental focus,” Mirra explained. “I don’t know if a lot of people know what it takes to get through a rally. One hundred thirty miles through the woods and snow in Northern Michigan for the Sno*Drift in January is not easy and it takes an entire team from mechanics, to the service crew, and a co-driver [Marshall Clarke] with course notes and each one of us having so many chances to make errors. It’s an elaborate operation and the pressure is on me to keep focused and driving smart.”
There is no doubt that rally racing is intense. There are no rainouts, no back-up cars and no lucky-dog passes.
Events are not only about speed, but consistency and endurance. The conditions are harsh and the roads rough, but in the end it is the team with the most skill that is spraying the champagne.
For a man who lives for challenges, Mirra has found a home in the world of rallying.
“Life is all about staying true to what you love to do,” Mirra said. “A lot of people, especially young people, get discouraged. Life isn’t always positive, but through all the negativity and adversity, difficult situations make you who you are and stronger for it. If you can stick to your guns, it’s worth it in the end and pretty cool.”
Although a perpetual thrill seeker, in recent years Mirra’s life has been filled with a different excitement. He founded Mirra Co., a BMX bike manufacturer with dealerships all over the U.S., and he and his wife Lauren have become the proud parents of two daughters — 4-year-old Madison and 3-year-old Mackenzie.
When life doesn’t require travel, the Mirras enjoy family time. While Mackenzie is still content to relax and hang out, Madi is already taking after her dad and is quite a two-wheeled adrenaline junkie both on her bike and motorcycle.
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