Tom Benolkin - Minnesota Motorcycle Hall of Fame Member

Tom Benolkin - Motocross

Tom raced raced on the national circuit in the early 80s and was a Kawasaki factory rider from 1981-1982. He won several pro class championships at the Florida Winter Series as well as finishing on the podium at the Mid-Ohio 125 USGP and several nationals.

The first picture is from the 1980 USGP and that's a factory Honda that he's flying through the mud. To find out the story behind this ride and a much more detailed look at his career, check out the book Pioneers of Minnesota Motocross.


Best Championship Finish
Tom was fifth in the 125 class in 1981. In front of him were three past or future champions; Mark Barnett, Jeff Ward, and Jonny O'Mara. The riders behind him included Rick Johnson and Danny Chandler.

Best Race Finishes
3rd place in a Moto of 1980 Mid-Ohio 125 USGP

2nd Overall in 125 Motocross at 1981 Washougal

5th Overall in 250 Motocross at 1982 Saddleback

Known For
• Fast in Florida / Sand
• Creative Lines

• Acrobatic riding style

• Vintage motorcycle speed and wins

Benolkin was the ground breaker for Minnesota riders in the pros. A few had raced events before him but he was the first rider to achieve many things:
• Large color photo in Motocross Action magazine
• Finish in the Top 10 in a moto
• Finish in the Top 3 Motocross overall
• Finish Top 3 in a 125 GP moto

• Ride for a factory team

• Be pictured in gear ads

• Finish in the Top 5 of a Motocross championship

Tom still lives in Minnesota, rides the occasional Vintage race, and you never know, he may show up to ride a vintage bike or XR200 against modern motocross bikes, and still startle unknowing young riders with his speed. He spends much of his spare time restoring motorcycles from the golden era of dirt bike technology advancement.