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Meet the ORMHOF Class of 2023: Evan Evans

Meet the ORMHOF Class of 2023: Evan Evans

Evan Evans – Competition

Evan was racing for his father’s off-road team Walker Evans Racing in 1989 and had won four races in a row, driving a Jeep Cherokee in Class 6 during the SCORE/HDRA season.

On July 13, 1989, a motorcycle accident significantly changed Evan’s life. He was thrown from the bike when he hit an unmarked ditch at a construction project near his home. He was paralyzed from the chest down.

"When the doctors told me my spinal cord had been severed, it was my worst nightmare come true," said Evan. "But I decided then and there, I was not going to give up."  

Evan and his dad, Walker, in the shop where Evan began modifying vehicles to continue his passion for racing.

When the accident occurred, Evan had a large lead in the Class 6 SCORE points standings, but by the time of the final race – the Baja 1000 – he needed to at least start the race to ensure himself the championship. Hand controls were installed in his race vehicle, and three days after being released from the hospital, Evan was driven to Ensenada and helped into the driver’s seat by his mother, Dolly.  He only needed to drive the truck 40 miles down the pavement to El Alamo, but instead drove 32 additional miles before stopping and turning the car over to his co-driver, Brian Stewart.  “Brian drove the rest of the way, and we won the championship for my dad’s team,” Evan said.  Evan earned the SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year Award and was named the SCORE High Desert Racing Association Person of the Year for his incredible comeback.

Evan spent the next year in rehabilitation, while also working tirelessly to build his first race vehicle equipped with hand controls out of a Chevy Blazer that his mother had been using for trips to the grocery store.

Evan continued to race off-road before finding his niche in short course racing, where he went on to become one of the winningest drivers in short course history. 

Evan Evans, flying high.

1996 was a banner year for Evan. He raced his way to the SODA Series World Championship in Class 13, was the SODA Heavy Metal Challenge Winner at Bark River SODA Series, was named the SODA Series Driver of the Year -- in his rookie season -- and set a SODA Series record for wins in a season, winning 7 of 8 races, including 6 races in a row. He also won the SODA Winter Series Championship at Glen Helen Raceway with 3 wins in 4 races. 

A fierce competitor, Evan celebrates another Pro 2 victory.  Photo courtesy

Even achieved another milestone in 1996, being named to the prestigious All-American team by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, the first off-road short-course driver ever named to the team. He joined the Chevy Thunder Manufacturer Team earning 10 wins and became a spokesperson for the GM Mobility Program.  

Evan teamed with the GM Mobility Program to build a covered viewing platform at Bark River International Raceway for handicapped patrons, which is still in use to this day.  With help from sponsor Chevrolet, Evan also organized the construction of a handicapped spectator terrace at Crandon International Raceway.

“Evan has fought some of life’s most powerful setbacks to rise up and become one of the fiercest drivers we have ever enjoyed watching at the Big House. He did it in a way that inspired all of us, especially the young fans that always watched him work on his equipment despite physical challenges,” said ORMHOF Class of 2017 inductee and Crandon International Raceway patriarch Cliff Flannery.

During his professional off-road career of more than 20 years, Evan has 57 wins and 6 championships in the United States, and 26 wins and 8 championships in Baja. This year he joins his father, Walker Evans, as a member of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Evan was nominated for the Hall of Fame by Jeff Renick. “I am also in a wheelchair,” Jeff told ORMHOF. “After meeting Evan in 1991 he inspired me to give off-road racing a try myself. I never got to Evan’s level, but I’m very glad to have given it a shot. Evan would be an ideal inductee into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame!”

About the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame

The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame was established in 1978 by racing promoter and NORRA founder Ed Pearlman to recognize and honor those individuals and organizations whose lifelong contributions to off-road motorsports have set a standard for others to follow. In 1995, legendary off-road racer Rod Hall became ORMHOF chairman, a position he held for more than twenty years, before selecting current chairman Mark McMillin as his successor.

The mission of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame is to educate and inspire present and future generations of the off-road community by celebrating the achievements of those who came before.  Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees represent excellence and achievement in many areas of off-road, including advocacy, journalism, industry, rock sports, desert racing, short course, and rally.  

ORMHOF maintains a collection of vintage off-road vehicles that are displayed at museums around the country, as well as an extensive online archive of print, images, and videos, with more content added as funds become available.  The Hall of Fame Off-Road Registry invites clubs, organizations, events, businesses, and individuals with fifty years or more of history in off-road to apply for Hall of Fame heritage status in the official archives of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. 

The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame is funded through donations, individual memberships, and industry partners. A 501c non-profit organization, ORMHOF has earned a GuideStar Non-Profit Gold Seal of Transparency for 2023.

ORMHOF is guided by an all-volunteer board of leaders in the off-road community, including chairman Mark McMillin and board members Frank ‘Butch’ Arciero Jr, Dave Cole, Frank DeAngelo, Bud Feldkamp, Jeff Furrier, Bob Ham, Josh Hall, Gary Haugley, Rich Klein, Rafael Navarro III, Fardad Niknam, Bonnie Vessels, and Rory Ward.

Links to 2023 Gala tickets, discounted room rates, and Gala sponsorship opportunities are available on the 2023 Ceremony tab. We invite you to browse the ORMHOF online collections of print, images, and video, and to learn more about how to join, partner, or donate. Legends live at