WHAT DO Kevin Schwantz, the Hayden brothers, Ben Spies, Josh Hayes, Josh Herrin and Scott Russell have in common? They have all raced with WERA Motorcycle Roadracing, the largest national roadracing sanctioning body in the United States. And since 1984, WERA has been under the watchful eye of owner Evelyne Clarke.
Evelyne first attended a WERA race in 1976 with her boyfriend. Not content to sit and watch, she started working for WERA, and by the next year she was their chief registrar. In 1984, she became a part owner and agreed to run the day-to-day operations.
By the mid-2000s, Evelyne had bought out all of the other owners. She oversees pro/am, amateur, vintage and endurance racing. She has seen kids turn into MotoGP and AMA champions, and she has dealt with the injuries and deaths inherent in such a dangerous sport.
For Evelyne, it is all very personal. In fact, she handles licensing for WERA, entering each new rider’s name into the system. “It gives me an opportunity to see everybody who has ever raced with WERA,” she said. “I don’t want it to ever be impersonal. It’s a sport where you risk your life, it’s a family thing and it’s what we do seven days a week.”
Evelyne faced her biggest challenge in 2008, when the economic downturn meant fewer racers and less sponsorship. Still, Evelyne is optimistic. “The sport right now has some issues, but I think the strong will survive and that there will always be a passion for it,” she said.
That passion is part of the legacy the Evelyne hopes she has built with WERA. “I’m proud of the people that we’ve produced. That’s really the most important thing for me,” she said, adding that she also wants to be known for giving riders “a place to race where they can have a good time, meet their goals and live their dreams.”
Read all the 2014 Women Who Roll profiles here.