Bruce Gates - Minnesota Motorcycle Hall of Fame Member

Bruce Gates - Motocross

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After much success at the District 23 level, Bruce raced in a several Motocross nationals in the mid-80s, scoring many top 20 moto finishes.

Between 1984 and 1987, Bruce competed in 13 events, but he raced at quite a variety of tracks. He went to 9 different venues in 8 different states. His best result in 250 Motocross was in 1984, the first race he qualified for, getting an 11th at Red Bud. He went to 2 more nationals that year at Lakewood, Colorado and Washougal, Washington, not quite matching his Red Bud effort, but in the points.

Early in 1985, he qualified for a 125 Supercross race in Atlanta, finishing 16th. When the racing went outside, he was on a 125 this time, visiting Las Vegas, Lakewood, and back home at Millville. He was again on a CR125 in 1986, racing 2 outdoor nationals, Hollister Hills, California and Washougal. He didn’t quite match his 250 results either year, hovering in the lower end of the top 20 both years.

In 1987, Bruce had the best weekend of his career.
Gates Medals at the Silverdome

Bruce qualified for one other Supercross race that year, a 16th at Tampa, Florida. With only 3 races, he still finished 14th in the points. The only Motocross he raced was the 125 class at Millville, a 17th. It was his best 125 Motocross result, but it went almost unnoticed by the crowd, because native son, Donny Schmit, was winning the race. Bruce then called it a pro career. Or so we thought.

In the 90s, when the age classes were proliferating, Bruce came back as a super-fast vet. The Spring Creek track series had become the unofficial regional Vet class championship, and Gates was always running up front, even when racing “the kids” in 250A. He decided to give the Millville national a try. He qualified for the big show in 95 and 96.

In 1997, 10 years after his last national points, he finished 18th overall. In 1999, he qualified again, for the last time. Some issues in a moto hindered his results, but he was setting a good pace, and all the other fast MN vets who had to deal with him every week as a fierce competitor could enjoy cheering him on for once.

After not getting to Millville until his second pro season, he ended up racing there many times.

Millville Results
1984 250 18th
1985 125 20th
1987 125 17th
1995 250 Qualified
1996 250 Qualified
1997 250 18th overall
1999 250 Qualified

Bruce continued to race the Spring Creek series and he even made it out to Grantsburg in 2009. He was the headline rider at what would turn out to be one of the last MX Bob race reports.

His name has not appeared in the Millville results for a few years (as of 2020), so perhaps his memory is fading among the current racers. Hopefully, this story can be a reminder of how well he represented Minnesota early in the “Vet Class era”, and that he is one of the few riders from Minnesota that can say they have a podium in national competition.

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