With round one at Daytona quickly approaching, teams and riders are busy gearing up for the 2012 AMA Pro Racing season. Rider Jake Holden and the team at Evan Steel Performance (ESP) are no exception, working hard in their backyard “fun factory” during the offseason.
At the end of a dirt road in Tucson, Arizona, sits Evan Steel Performance, a small motorcycle service and repair shop owned by Evan Steel and Phil Allison. The shop, which began with a dyno and a trailer in 2005, now doubles as headquarters for building Jake Holden’s BMW S1000RR, which the team will race this season in the AMA Pro National Guard Superbike class.
Holden moved to Arizona four months ago to join the ESP team. Since the move, he’s been spending nearly every weekend enjoying what he calls the “fun factory” of local tracks—the Mussleman Honda Circuit, MC Motorsports Park, and Arizona Motorsports Park. “I couldn’t ask for more,” he says.
Holden is no stranger to the AMA paddock. He turned pro in 1999 and has regularly competed in the AMA series, finishing third overall in two AMA Pro national championships, achieving 14 AMA Pro national podiums, three pole positions, four track records, and several top-five finishes. Allison, who first met Holden in 2004, describes him as “one of the best talents in the paddock.”
The ESP team has been competing in the AMA Pro series for the last 7 years, earning kudos with some of the fastest trap speeds, several front row starts, and numerous podiums. And, they’ve been doing it all on a bootstrap budget.
A tight budget makes the BMW S1000RR a perfect fit for this privateer team. The bike, already stocked with a 193 horsepower, lightweight engine, saves the team from having to purchase costly upgrades while keeping them competitive on the track.
They are, after all, racing to win. “I believe we can go there and get a trophy. That’s what we’re trying to do,” says Steel.
With Holden on board, both Allison and Steel are confident about the season ahead. “He’s an incredible rider, and he’s very much a professional rider,” says Steel. Allison agrees, “I think we could win some superbike races with him.”
Allison and Steel currently divide their time between working at the shop and racing, trying to earn enough money to make it to as many AMA rounds as possible. They hope to garner enough sponsor support for a dedicated racing division, giving them the ability to devote all their time to competing. ESP is currently seeking a title sponsor.
The team has a huge amount of local support from the motorcycle community, all of whom want to see them go racing and do well. This passionate crowd helps by pitching in money and parts. Their current sponsors include Iron Horse Motorcycles, GPR, Driven, KyleUSA.com, Ohlins, OTL Magazine, Hotbodies, KurveyGirl.com, U.S. Mega-Max.com, Intuition, Carrozzeria USA, XCEL Trackdays, GB Racing, ASMA, Leo Vince, Sidi, Shoei, Ballistik Apparel, Supernova Cycles, Mid Town Bar and Grill, and War Paint by Steve Wellman.
Fans also support ESP and Holden, donating online and purchasing t-shirts, posters, and decals—all making a difference in getting this team on the track.
As a team that’s known for doing a lot with a little, Allison explains it best, “hard work and the desire to be at the front—that’s what we do.”