We can’t always plan our lives, an accident near the start of his career put Evan Evans in a wheelchair. But that didn’t slow him down; Evan went on to win 57 times and six Championships! Congratulations to Evan Evans, a 2023 inductee into ORMHOF; Evan is why we say; legends live at ORMHOF.org. Be sure to tune in on your favorite podcast app.
5:40 – when we stayed in Ensenada as a kid, I would use stickers like money
7:50 – it was John Nelson who gave me my shot at racing
12:31 – “you driving this pre-runner Datsun, which isn’t even a real race truck, is like you winning overall”
20:15 – I went through rehab in four months…two days later I was in the race truck at the Baja 1000 starting line
26:34 – I needed a hell of a brake system to get enough power to stop the vehicle with my arms
30:35 – I only had $8K to go back and race a full season
37:33 – at this point, only myself and Dale Earnhardt, Sr had two contracts with Chevrolet as spokespersons and race car drivers
47:07 – all my heroes are in ORMHOF; to be included is a huge honor
Special thanks to ORMHOF.org for support and sponsorship of this podcast.
[00:01:13.550] – Big Rich Klein
On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, I have the pleasure of interviewing Evan Evans, an off-road racer, short course racer, innovator, fabricator, spokesperson, motivational speaker, and an inspiration to all, and also the son of Walker Evans.
[00:01:33.960] – Big Rich Klein
Evan, it’s great to talk to you this morning, and thank you for giving me the time.
[00:01:39.400] – Evan Evans
Rich, it’s my pleasure. It’s great to get to come on your show. I know you do good work, and I just can’t wait to get to talk to all your fans.
[00:01:47.630] – Big Rich Klein
Well, let’s get started with the easiest question. Where were you born and raised?
[00:01:52.970] – Evan Evans
Well, currently I’m having a nice cup of coffee this morning in Riverside, California, where I live. I’m overlooking Riverside on the outskirts of the Hills.
[00:02:03.940] – Big Rich Klein
Nice. Have you always resided in Southern California?
[00:02:08.630] – Evan Evans
I have. I was born and raised here.
[00:02:11.030] – Big Rich Klein
Okay, great. In Riverside or what… What city did you primarily grow up in?
[00:02:18.820] – Evan Evans
In Riverside, yes. I actually am living in a house that my parents built. I ended up buying it 18 years later from other folks that had bought it from my parents. It’s funny that I moved back into a house that my parents built.
[00:02:35.930] – Big Rich Klein
That’s pretty awesome.
[00:02:37.600] – Evan Evans
Well, it was very convenient because my dad’s very first race shop was on this property, and that still today is my race shop. It is the property directly behind where my house.
[00:02:50.660] – Big Rich Klein
Property is. Excellent. In your early years there in Riverside, going to school, Riverside was pretty open at the time?
[00:02:59.790] – Evan Evans
It was very open. Lots of Orange Groves on the outskirts of Riverside, up in the Woodcrest area. That’s where I was raised and born, is overlooking Riverside in Woodcrest.
[00:03:16.110] – Big Rich Klein
Those school years, would you consider yourself a good student or indifferent and wanted to get outside?
[00:03:24.530] – Evan Evans
Well, in my head, I was a good student. The teachers didn’t really think so because in my head, I was daydreaming about the race shop and racing, and I got to admit, I didn’t do well in school. I was too busy thinking about racing.
[00:03:41.120] – Big Rich Klein
Understood. I guess that comes naturally with your dad, Walker, having been a racer. Was he racing when you were born?
[00:03:55.220] – Evan Evans
No, he started racing when I was probably about three or four, I think, was his his first off-road race. He raced motorcycles before that and always had been around fast stuff. He had a boat that he used to play with that was pretty darn fast. So he was always interested in speed. But no, he was not racing when I was born.
[00:04:19.790] – Big Rich Klein
Okay. And you guys growing up, you did a lot of outdoor stuff than I would imagine?
[00:04:28.440] – Evan Evans
Well, of course, we used to go to Mexico and go pre-running. We did that quite a bit, which was my fondest memories of my dad loading us all into the… He had, I’m going to say, early ’72, somewhere right in there, Ford pickup. And he used to throw a piece of plywood on there and a camper shell on there, and he’d put us kids on the plywood on the back and put a camper shell on and he put the ice chest underneath, and we’d go pre-run through Mexico and it was the best childhood. It was so fun.
[00:05:05.630] – Big Rich Klein
And Mexico then, as it is now, is extremely friendly?
[00:05:11.480] – Evan Evans
Yes, it was actually more friendly, only because there wasn’t a lot of people back then pre-running as much as there is now. So when some of those villages would get to see us come through, they were just thrilled and excited. So it was a lot of fun. I can remember playing with kids I couldn’t speak and understand, but we could still play together and still have fun.
[00:05:35.400] – Big Rich Klein
Right. Were stickers a big thing back then, do you remember?
[00:05:40.480] – Evan Evans
Oh, huge. I can remember going to a couple of the hotels in Ensenada, and I would use stickers like money. If I need a Coke or something, I’d go in there and I’d give them a stack of stickers and they were good to go. READ MORE