WORKING CLASS: Tyler Evans is the Blue-Collar Hero of Motocross

Story and Photos by Garth Milan

It may not appear that way while he’s perched next to his pride and joy (an S-Class Benzo sporting 21s), but Tyler Evans really is the blue-collar hero on the starting line at any given professional motocross race. Despite a podium spot at the opening round of the THQ World Supercross Series (Evans finished third in the 250cc main event in Seville, Spain) and several more top-ten and even some top-five finishes over the last few years, the guy who’s known by many as “One Punch” goes at the sport alone. The cool part is that he doesn’t even seem to care that much about his lack of corporate backup. And if you thought Tyler’s Seville race was discredited by the immense rain that flooded the event, Tyler proved you wrong with his sixth-place finish at Anaheim 1.

Perhaps what’s most respectable about Tyler, though, is that despite his lack of factory backing, huge contracts, and works equipment, Evans trains and rides his ass off. Tyler embraces his privateer status with a certain type of pride that’s hard to explain, but can be felt within seconds of being in the presence of the 23-year-old Metal Mulisha racer. It’s easy to tell that Evans has a sense of dignity and honor that most of us don’t.

He tinkered around with the idea of giving up racing altogether and becoming a full-blown FMX pro not too long ago, but things are now different with Tyler. Ask him, or anyone in his camp, and they’ll tell you that Tyler has one goal on his mind–winning races and succeeding as a professional Supercross racer in 2004.

Just because he dresses a little differently and doesn’t wear the same dimpled smile and pressed polo shirt as most of his fellow competitors in the premier 250cc class doesn’t mean that Evans isn’t putting in 110% of effort towards his goals. In fact, his tough guy image that scoffs at brownnosing and corporate sellouts has actually made Tyler a sort of cult hero, a fan for the common, everyday trouble-making adolescent to look up to. Let’s face it; not everyone is into the same squeaky-clean image that most of today’s top racers exude, so for the rest of us there’s Tyler Evans…

TWMX: You’re known as probably the most intimidating guy on the gate at any given time. How did you gain this reputation?

EVANS: You know, I haven’t really ever tried to be something that I’m not. There’s a lot of kids in our sport that try to hold this clean-cut image, and I never have been that way. Ever since I was a little kid, I looked up to the oddballs in sports, and oddballs in anything. I’ve always admired the guys who set themselves away from the pack. I don’t know that I’m such the bad guy that people think I am, I’m just different. In reality, as cheesy as it sounds, I’m the new generation of kids. Our sport is so funny, because if you’ve got tattoos and a shaved head or whatever, you’re a bad thing. You’re bad for the sport. If you go out of that tiny little motocross circle, though, I’m how every single kid on the streets is.

TWMX: Off of the track and in the pits you always seem pretty soft-spoken and mellow. What makes Tyler Evans snap when racing?

EVANS: I’m a very high-strung person in general. When it comes to racing, if you do something to me, I’m definitely going to tell you. I’m going to show you that it doesn’t need to be done again. If you don’t mess with me, though, I’m a good dude. I’m just like any other kid. I am soft-spoken at times, and at other times if something needs to be said I’ll say it.

TWMX: So tell us the truth; do you just go around town beating people up like we hear rumors of, or is that stuff just urban legend?

EVANS: That’s definitely a stereotype. Everyone automatically assumes that if you’re in e Mulisha you go around beating people up. The Mulisha is a lot more than that. I mean, I’ve done my fair share of stupid things, but I definitely don’t go around beating people up. I’m slowly learning how to play the game. People right now think that if you don’t go right up to someone and talk to them, you’re a bad person. So now I’m going out of my way to go hey ‘I’m not a bad kid just because I don’t talk to you.’ People think that just because you’re soft-spoken that you’re a bad person, but that’s not true at all. So now I’m playing the game and letting everyone know that I’m a good guy, I just don’t talk that much!

TWMX: You’ve been training like a madman lately with your new personal trainer. Tell us about the program…

EVANS: Yeah, I’ve been training with a Navy Seals guy named Marcus, and he’s bad! I got hooked up with him through my agent Scott and his wife. Since meeting him I’ve had some major changes go on in my life and in my training, and in all I’m a better person for it, not just on the track but off of it, too. It’s funny, because you’ve got a lot of these kids that think they’re training so hard, and I was one of them, but you have no idea how hard Marcus has me work. With Marcus, we do an hour of the hardest cardio in the world–a mixture of different things that every single time is different. I’ve literally never done the same routine twice.

TWMX: So how much of an impact will this training have on your season?

EVANS: It’s already had a major impact on my season. Last year I’d haul ass for six laps and then I’d fade, but this year I’ve already beat McGrath at a regional SX race, and I got on the podium at Seville. Then the next weekend in Holland I crashed while I was in third and ended up coming back to seventh, so it’s definitely paying off. The top few guys are training hard like I am, but like I was saying before, kids just aren’t training the right way. After going to Marcus, I can now admit that I never have. I went and did one of my old routines recently, and it was almost as if I wasn’t even training–it was like a day of resting for me. A lot more people are starting to get trainers, but for the time being I think that I have a step up on the rest with Marcus.

TWMX: You’re a big guy. Does being so bulked-up help you or hinder you at the end of a 20-lap main?

EVANS: I’ll tell you what, last year it hurt me. I weighed 200 pounds and was cut up like a damn cage fighter, but after talking with Marcus we came up with a game plan for me to lose some weight. We didn’t know how much, but right now I weigh 189 and I’ve never felt better in my entire life. I’m very lean, and I definitely feel like I’m at the right spot.

TWMX: After dabbling in freestyle you decided to make the switch to become a full-blown racer again. Why?

EVANS: Well, I tried doing the freestyle thing; it was fun and I loved it, but right now I just feel that racing is the best thing for me. I’d still love to make it into the X Games as a wild card, so if it happens it happens, and if it doesn’t I’ll still be there supporting my boys Deegan, Faisst, Twitch and everyone else. As far as picking one of the two, though, I’ll have to say racing. That’s all I’ve known since I was twelve years old, and I don’t know anything else–it’s just in my blood. I sure in the hell don’t do it for the money, ‘cuz there ain’t much money in it!

TWMX: You no longer run the black bike and gear at the races. You’re still in the Metal Mulisha, right?

EVANS: Yes, the Mulisha thing is still going on. I just don’t feel like I have to run the black getup in order for people to recognize me as a Mulisha guy, or the oddball guy, or whatever… I’m on to the next step in life. I keep taking steps in this sport, and now I’ve moved on to the next step that I have to.

TWMX: How has being in the Mulisha changed your life?

EVANS: When I first started doing the Mulisha thing, I just couldn’t believe how down for one another everyone is. I was used to coming from a racing lifestyle, where people would turn their back on you as soon as you did bad one weekend. It meant so much to me that those guys weren’t like that. I’ll always back those guys, and always be friends with them.

TWMX: What kind of effect will your podium finish in Seville have on the remainder of your 2004 season?

EVANS: My confidence is so high right now. Last year I had no confidence, and I had things going on in my life that didn’t allow me to deal with racing like I should have. Now all I want to do is go ride every single day. I want to be at the races. I finally have the right team. I’ve been on teams before, but there have always been a couple pieces of the puzzle missing. This year I have every piece of the puzzle in line.

TWMX: Realistically, what are your goals for the upcoming American SX tour?

EVANS: Top-ten at every race. Top-fives even. I know I can do it, I’ve been on the podium on 250s already, and I’ve podiumed a bunch in the 125cc class against the same guys that are up there right now. I’d say that my biggest goal of the season is to be the top privateer, and of course at the same time beat some factory guys. There’s a big money deal at the end of the year for the top privateer, so that’s what I’m really shooting for.

TWMX: Will you ride any 250cc Nationals this year?

EVANS: That’s going to depend on the title sponsor that I’m hoping is coming in. If the sponsor comes in I’ll do all of them. If they don’t, I’ll do a minimum of six. Also, if the X Games thing works out, I’ll take time off to train and get ready for FMX. I’ll need a solid month of practicing for freestyle to get back up to speed with my tricks.

TWMX: What kind of stuff do you do when you’re not on your bike?

EVANS: You know what, right now I don’t have time for a single hobby. I’m booking all of my own flights, I’m acting as the team manager of my team, I’m doing all these things that totally consume my day. I’m running around like a taxi driver with parts and getting bikes ready. The time off is so short that if I do have a spare few minutes, I just like to relax and watch TV or drive my car around and listen to music. For the most part, though, I’m focusing 100% of my life towards the racing season this year. It’s going to be a good year.

tever… I’m on to the next step in life. I keep taking steps in this sport, and now I’ve moved on to the next step that I have to.

TWMX: How has being in the Mulisha changed your life?

EVANS: When I first started doing the Mulisha thing, I just couldn’t believe how down for one another everyone is. I was used to coming from a racing lifestyle, where people would turn their back on you as soon as you did bad one weekend. It meant so much to me that those guys weren’t like that. I’ll always back those guys, and always be friends with them.

TWMX: What kind of effect will your podium finish in Seville have on the remainder of your 2004 season?

EVANS: My confidence is so high right now. Last year I had no confidence, and I had things going on in my life that didn’t allow me to deal with racing like I should have. Now all I want to do is go ride every single day. I want to be at the races. I finally have the right team. I’ve been on teams before, but there have always been a couple pieces of the puzzle missing. This year I have every piece of the puzzle in line.

TWMX: Realistically, what are your goals for the upcoming American SX tour?

EVANS: Top-ten at every race. Top-fives even. I know I can do it, I’ve been on the podium on 250s already, and I’ve podiumed a bunch in the 125cc class against the same guys that are up there right now. I’d say that my biggest goal of the season is to be the top privateer, and of course at the same time beat some factory guys. There’s a big money deal at the end of the year for the top privateer, so that’s what I’m really shooting for.

TWMX: Will you ride any 250cc Nationals this year?

EVANS: That’s going to depend on the title sponsor that I’m hoping is coming in. If the sponsor comes in I’ll do all of them. If they don’t, I’ll do a minimum of six. Also, if the X Games thing works out, I’ll take time off to train and get ready for FMX. I’ll need a solid month of practicing for freestyle to get back up to speed with my tricks.

TWMX: What kind of stuff do you do when you’re not on your bike?

EVANS: You know what, right now I don’t have time for a single hobby. I’m booking all of my own flights, I’m acting as the team manager of my team, I’m doing all these things that totally consume my day. I’m running around like a taxi driver with parts and getting bikes ready. The time off is so short that if I do have a spare few minutes, I just like to relax and watch TV or drive my car around and listen to music. For the most part, though, I’m focusing 100% of my life towards the racing season this year. It’s going to be a good year.

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