From PARA to DAKAR • Author •Adventurer • Inspirational Speaker
Joey Evans has always been a keen sportsman and up for an adventure. He’s run several marathons and ultra-marathons, hiked the fish river canyon, finished the Roof of Africa enduro, raced in the Botswana Desert 1000 and ridden his dirt bike throughout South Africa as well as 15 other countries.
Joey has been married to his soul mate Meredith for nearly 20 years and they are the proud parents of four teenage daughters, an extreme adventure in itself!
Joey had a dream to race his motorbike in the Dakar Rally. A race widely known as the longest, toughest and most dangerous off-road race in the world that has claimed the lives of 70 people over its 39 year history. His dream, along with his life as he knew it, was shattered in 2007, when during a local race in South Africa he was hit by another biker and amongst other serious injuries he broke his back, crushing his spinal cord leaving him completely paralyzed from just below his chest. The injury was diagnosed as a T8-T9 incomplete spinal cord injury with about a 10% chance to walk again. Joey still determined to chase his Dakar dream, used it to fuel his motivation to recover.
It took him nearly 10 years, with many more challenges, successes and lessons learnt along the way, until on the 2nd of January 2017, Joey stood as a competitor on the start of the Dakar Rally in Asuncion, Paraguay.
Qualifying to race the Dakar Rally was an incredible achievement in itself but the unbelievable events that followed during those next 9000km across South America tested him beyond what he could have ever imagined. An unforeseen and catastrophic twist in the plot created a final chapter you simply couldn’t make up!
Joey shares a message of determination in the face of insurmountable odds. A true to life struggle of chasing a dream while not only overcoming physical disabilities but also living in the real world with its daily pressures and challenges. His presentation will leave you with a new perspective on your own challenges and the renewed drive to chase your own goals and dreams.
Since racing the Dakar Rally, Joey has written the book on his journey titled “From Para to Dakar.” Published in November 2017, it is available on line and in leading book stores nationwide. He was awarded “Off track rider of the year” by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists and later honoured by Motorsport South Africa with the “Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to South African Motorsport.” His journey has been a top featured story on Carte Blanche, Super Sport and widespread leading publications.