Motorsport: You name it, they'll drive it

By Eric Thompson

No such thing as a generation gap among the Evans racing family

Simon Evans at Highlands Motorsport Park round of V8 SuperTourers. Photo / Geoff Ridder
Simon Evans at Highlands Motorsport Park round of V8 SuperTourers. Photo / Geoff Ridder

The Evans family is synonymous with motorsport, starting with Laure back in the day, his son Owen, and now the grandchildren Simon and Mitch.

Owen is best known as the holder of the New Zealand land speed record, and a huge crash that nearly took his life.

His sons, Simon and Mitch, have been around race tracks since they were in nappies and have contested just about everything. It all started with karting. Simon, 23, is now racing in the V8 SuperTourers, while his brother Mitch, 19, is arranging a deal for another tilt in GP2 this year.

Although motorsport is in the blood, the men have taken different paths when it comes to the type of racecars they favour.

"Mitch has always wanted to get into Formula One and that's always been his goal since the first time he sat in a kart," said Owen. "I don't think Simon's dream was ever Formula One. I think he'd like to go and race in the Australian V8 Supercars series.

"I'm quite lucky they have different goals as the track Mitch is on is quite expensive. That's another good thing about motorsport - you have all these different forms, from speedway, rally, off-road to track and circuit racing.

"Simon reckons saloon car racing is all him, and Mitch is a single-seater man. It's his home. The bottom line is that they are both racers."

Some parents may think it odd that a dad has no compunction helping his sons belt up in a four-wheeled rocket racing at up to 280km/h - one with a roof and the other without.

"I occasionally think about something going wrong but not often. Single-seaters are a bit of a worry but I'm okay once they all get through the first corner. But listen; there are more accidents on a rugby field on a Saturday morning than there are in motorsport in 10 years.

"I remember asking the boys when they moved up from karting if racing was really what they wanted to do.

"I needed to know that if something happened they were doing what they wanted to do, and they weren't doing it for me. I get more worried when they're driving up north," said Owen.

It might be a funny thing to suggest, but motorsport is definitely an activity where the whole family can get involved.

Sure, once the car is on the grid there's only one person sitting in it, two if you're into rallying, but everyone from the youngest to the oldest can get involved in getting the driver and car prepared to go racing.

At the last round of the Toyota Racing Series, the V8 SuperTourers, and Simon Evans in particular, were in action. In the Evans' pit garage at any given time you're likely to come across Owen, wife Tracee, brother Mitch, sister Laura and others.

"For a dad it's great being able to watch the two boys racing.

"I grew up as a second-generation racer and the boys are now the third generation of motorsport people in our family.

"It's great being able to have a sport where we can all do things we enjoy. We can all go away on weekends and do a sport together.

"During the week everyone's off doing their own thing, but on race weekend the whole family comes together. In most other sports you watch them for an hour and half on a Saturday morning then it's all over.

"In motor racing you're there with them and part of it all and have the same goals. My boys, like myself, have made some fantastic friends through motorsport over the years and will be life-long friends.

"Sure it's an expensive sport, but at least the boys aren't out at night on the grog after a game, they have to be really fit and stay out of trouble and be responsible because the equipment ain't cheap and there's a lot of responsibility when driving at 200km/h-plus.

"Also, without all the sponsors and partners we've had over the years it wouldn't have been possible and I work pretty hard to see that they get as much as possible back and I try and help them as much as possible.

"Without them we'd be at home watching it on TV."

The Evans boys certainly have a good way about them and are articulate, humble, patient and very good with their respective fans - which is something a number of sportsmen in other codes could learn a thing or two about.

- NZ Herald

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