Donny Schmit - Minnesota Motorcycle Hall of Fame Member

Donny Schmit - Motocross

When this was originally written in 1999, Bloomington, Minnesota native, Donny Schmit, was widely considered to be the most successful motocross rider to come from Minnesota. Although his accomplishments may have been eclipsed by other Minnesota riders since then, Ryan Dungey most notably, there is no doubt that Donny took the Gopher State to the next level. While Tom Benolkin was the first Minnesota-born rider to be competitive at the national level, and to get a factory ride, Donny was the first to win races and championships.

His career, which started by riding 80s at longtime District 23 tracks such as Millville, Cambridge and Grantsburg, included 125 Supercross and US Motocross wins, 125 and 250 GP wins, and three major championships. He rode for factory US Suzuki in the late 80s and for a variety of top-level teams at the GP level. His 15 GP wins remain the most of any American to this day.

Major Titles
1986 125cc West Supercross Champion
1990 125cc World Champion
1992 250cc World Champion

Best Finishes
Won 3 125 US National Motocross races.
Second 1988 US 125 Motocross Championship
Won 7 GPs in the 125 class and 8 in the 250 class

Shortly after his retirement at the age of 29, Donny was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, and died a few days later, just before the 1996 Minneapolis Supercross race. The void he left behind is still felt by those who knew him well or were fortunate enough to see him in action. After his passing, District 23 posted this collection of stories about Donny, written by people who knew him well. There is also this personal recollection of the 1987 Millville National.

Career Higlights
1977 to 1979 Intermittent racing for the first three years of his career

1980 - #3 Minnesota Overall in Mini Expert Class

1981 - #2 Minnesota Overall in Mini Expert Class

1982 - #1 Minnesota Overall in Mini Expert Class
#1 Minnesota Overall in 100cc Expert Class
#4 National AMA 80cc Stock Expert Class
#6 National AMA 100cc Amateur Class

1983 - #1 Minnesota Overall in 100cc Expert Class
#2 Minnesota Overall in 125cc Expert Class
#2 National NMA 100cc Amateur Class
#2 National NMA 100cc Stock Class
#15 National NMA 125cc Stock Class
#15 National AMA 125cc A Stock Class

1984 - #1 Minnesota Overall in 125cc Expert Class
#2 Minnesota Overall in 250cc Expert Class
Broke wrist at NMA Nationals; unable to continue in other national events

1985 - #2 Florida Winter Series 125cc A Stock Class
#4 National NMA 125cc Pro Stock Class
#9 National NMA 250cc Pro Stock Class
#1 National AMA 125cc A Stock Class
#2 National AMA 250cc A Stock Class
#1 State AMA 125cc Expert Class
#1 State AMA 250cc Expert Class

1986 - #1 National AMA 125cc Western Supercross Series
#1 National NMA 125cc Pro Stock Class
#1 National NMA 250cc Pro Stock Class
NMA Grand National Champion
#1 National AMA 250/Open Pro-Am
#9 National AMA 125 Pro-Am

1987 - #5 AMA 125cc National Championship Series, 2 Wins
AMA 125cc Rookie of the Year

1988 - #2 AMA 125cc National Championship Series, 1 Win

1989 - #4 AMA 125cc National Championship Series (Privateer)

1990 - #1 FIM 125cc World Championship Series, 4 Wins

1991 - #8 FIM 125cc World Championship Series, 3 Wins (broke wrist)

1992 - #1 FIM 250cc World Championship Series, 4 Wins

1993 - #3 FIM 250cc World Championship Series, 3 Wins

1994 - #7 FIM 250cc World Championship Series, 1 Win

1995 - #1 Four-Stroke Sound of Thunder Champion
One US national appearance, a 4th in 250 class at Millville