Remembering Evans Brasfield
On September 13, 2023 the Motorcycle.com team lost its friend and captain, Evans Brasfield, to a hit-and-run tragedy while riding a motorcycle home from a shoot. The news came to us that evening and has shook the surrounding community in a way that is hard to fathom. For his family, for his friends, and for the readers that he worked so hard for, the world will forever be a little dimmer.
Once the word came out about Evans’ passing, an onslaught of well wishes poured in from all corners of the world. Many mirroring the same sentiment, condolences for a warm-hearted human being who cared for his family and friends above everything else, even motorcycles. That is the genuine person that was Evans Brasfield. A consummate family man who not only cared about his family, but knew that family was of the utmost importance for his friends and coworkers, too. Simultaneously, Evans maintained a passion for motorcycling that most who have done it for so many years could hardly muster.
“My lovely wife,” as Evans called her, held me in her arms after I told her the news. I was in shock that I would never talk to the person I had spoken to multiple times a day for more than six years, ever again. Evans and I could fully rely on each other, and I thoroughly relied on him. He slowed my quick temper with compassion and thoughtfulness, something that I have strived to mirror throughout our time together at Motorcycle.com.
Every once in a while most of us come to the realization that the people we work with are the people we spend the most time with. They shape us, we shape them, and relationships are born from this. If you’re lucky enough, you end up becoming a better person along the way. I lucked into our relationship and I will be forever grateful for everything I’ve gleaned.
Evans onboarded me into the fold here at MO and was always there to help teach me the ropes, or flail clinging to them right next to me. I relished working with folks like Evans because of the decades of experience he had honing his craft. It was later on though that I felt our relationship grew to a new level once Evans showed an interest in getting a little mud on the tires. Because of my enthusiasm and experience off-road, as novice as it may be, I felt I was able to repay him in a way for some of what he had taught me over the years. And as I’ve often said, facing obstacles together off-road creates a bond that’s hard to find elsewhere.
Evans and I did just that a number of times, but the LA-Barstow to Vegas ride in November of 2022 was by far the most memorable. I rode a Ducati Desert X while Evans rode his personal, tastily farkled Kawasaki KLX300. It was a challenge for both of us. For Evans, because he hadn’t been at it all that long, and for me because of the sheer size of the machine. We had Cardo headsets on so we got to chat throughout the ride while also hearing each other’s choice words, grunts, or sighs. It was a fantastic experience to go through together and now it’s a memory that I’ll always cherish.
Evans’ enthusiasm for the sport as a whole never wavered and I connected with him on that level. I can only hope while I sit here with my eyes welling up and tears drying on my cheeks, that I carry the winds of EvB’s enthusiasm under my wings for as long as I live. I’ll strive to be as good a man as my boss and friend, because if the outpouring for Evans Brasfield has shown anything, it’s that he was regarded by all as a wholly good person.
Having started at MO before Evans, I had only known about him as a freelancer who mainly rode cruisers. The reputation was earned of course, because at that time that’s exactly what he was doing. Whether by force or by choice, he took a step back from full-time employment to help raise his young daughters while still finding a little slice of the motorcycle pie to keep him happy.
It wasn’t until Evans joined the MO team that I understood what he brought to the table. He was a natural fit to the team – of course he was, he gets along with everybody. Evans, Tom Roderick, and I would often banter back and forth about different tests and reviews we could do now that we had someone who could not only ride and write – but photograph our shenanigans, too. It was a great time, and the three of us continued bantering back and forth long after our careers took their own turns.
Truth be told, Evans didn’t want to be Motorcycle.com’s Editor-in-Chief. But he understood the importance of the job and took it very seriously. MO’s integrity in this emerging digital age was of utmost importance to him. At the same time, he gave the staff a fair bit of leeway to pursue the stories that were important to them – all while having his helmet and camera ready to ride or shoot.
While many moments stand out during my time knowing and working with Evans, one of my favorites that truly embodies the man was our time together racing a Honda Grom for 24 hours. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but despite making a lot of power (for a Grom), I messed up with the suspension modifications and the bike was absolutely atrocious to ride. Secretly, I was hoping the bike would blow up in the first hour so we could go home. Being a Honda, it never did. But who was always happy to suit up and hop on? That’s right – Evans. No matter if it was the middle of the night, the middle of the day, or anywhere in between. He was ready to give it his all. Completing a 24-hour race had long been one of his bucket list items, and though this one was a wild ride, he was so happy to have done it that we signed up for another one a few years later. I think this, and sending his eldest daughter off to college, sparked his riding renaissance that saw him renew his interest in trackdays (aboard his beloved KTM 790 Duke) and start dirt riding for the first time.
Evans’ mark will be with MO for a long time, as he introduced us to what will now forever be known as the “Brasfield Loop.” A nearly 100-mile loop, Evans would ride this combination of city, highway, canyon, and country roads during his freelance days to evaluate his test bikes. It’s now the primary (but not exclusive) stretch of road we all use when testing bikes – and it’s all thanks to him.
Without a doubt I’ll cherish our time working together, but what I’ll carry with me forever and cherish even more was his devotion to his family – especially his two daughters, Minna and Georgia. As a father to two daughters myself, we often joked about how my life journey was mirroring his. I was just about a decade behind. From school drop-offs and dad-taxi duties, to celebrating my girl’s milestones, he’d often reminisce about when his own girls passed through those life stages. He showed me what it meant to be an unabashed girl dad. For that, I’ll always be thankful.
I’ve worked with Evans for nearly a decade now, though we’ve been thousands of miles apart for most of that time. That’s one of the quirks of working in an online space, with me up in Toronto and Evans in California. We’ve only been in the same place at the same time for just a couple of all too brief dinners several years ago, when my wife, Jackie, and I visited L.A. and met up with the rest of the MO team.
Because part of my role is on the production side of things, I’ve spent a lot of time processing, editing and uploading photos of everyone else, and I can pretty much pick Evans, or any of the MO team, out of any photo with a bunch of riders. Ironically, I have only seen Evans on a motorcycle with my own eyes just once, as he arrived at dinner during my visit on, of all things, a Honda Grom (funny how, for a man once pigeonholed as the cruiser guy, it’s Evans astride a tiny Grom that pops up as a common memory for both Troy and I).
The rest of the time, however, we’ve only interacted virtually, over email and Slack, plus our regular editorial video calls. Evans would typically be the last to log on because he was tied up in another meeting, but now, when the calls start and it’s just Ryan, Troy, and myself, I still catch myself waiting for Evans’ face to pop up, so the meeting could really start.
Even before he was made E-i-C, I always thought of Evans as the team’s dad. That’s not to say I saw him as a father figure, or a reflection on age, as he wasn’t always the oldest of the group. He also definitely wasn’t the stern taskmaster type. No, I mean that more in how Evans carried himself. How he spoke, how he listened to people, how he laughed with that deep, hearty chuckle. How he would make sure I inserted that comma after “deep.” Man, he loved his commas. Everything Evans did just seemed to embody the concept of the word “dad.” And that was especially true in how he beamed whenever he spoke about his two daughters.
That dad image resonates with me on a personal level, now that I’m a father of a two-and-a-half year old girl. My wife’s pregnancy was complicated, on several levels. That’s a combination of Jackie’s pre-existing health issues, a worldwide pandemic, plus a few other things that I’m not going to get into, because this isn’t the place for it. Needless to say, it was a very stressful time for us.
And it was Evans that I turned to for guidance. I messaged him and asked if we could chat for a bit. He didn’t have all the answers, that’s something he would freely admit for this, and most other instances. But he listened, which was what I needed at the time. And he understood, which was just as important.
Everything worked itself out, eventually, and Evans would light up whenever my little Hannah climbed onto my lap during our video calls, which she’s all too willing to do, because she loves seeing herself on camera.
I’ll always be thankful to Evans for helping me through a tough time. And, as we’ve been going through another tough time with Evans gone, I make sure to give Hannah some extra hugs, because that’s what Evans would want me to do. So, while most of us will remember Evans for his contributions to the motorcycle industry, I will also remember him as “the dad.”
In this time of loss, we (his friends, family, colleagues, and the motorcycle industry as a whole) have created a support fund to help with any pressing financial needs, as well as those unforeseen needs coming out of such a tragic situation. In addition, Karin has a dream of using any surplus funds to develop a more formal motorcycling initiative - in keeping with Evans’ lifelong passion of motorcycling and motorcycle safety, and honor his undeniable legacy.
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