Pioneers Of Minnesota Motocross
Tom Benolkin and Donny Schmit

Now available for secure purchase on Amazon in E-Book and Paperback formats

This book examines the racing careers of Tom Benolkin and Donny Schmit, two Motocross racers from the unlikely state of Minnesota. Their stories are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but never dull. Each in their own way would blaze the trail for future Minnesota-born champions such as Ryan Dungey and Jeremy Martin.

This all takes place during a very dynamic period in the sport of Motocross; 1971 through 1995. As Motocross was beginning to flourish in the United States in the early 1970s, nearly all the top pros were from California. Minnesota was not where the factories scouted or even expected talent to come from. That would change in the 1980s because of these two riders.

In the late 70s and early 80s, Tom Benolkin, unknown to most outside of the Upper Midwest, put in some great results against the nationís top professionals to earn a spot on Factory Kawasaki. He broke down many barriers along the way and became a threat to win against the countryís best.

In the mid-80s, Donny Schmit took it even further. Schmit had a career that was almost always on the rise, first in the US, then the Gran Prix circuit. He rose to the challenge of the next level, then the next level, all the way to the heights of the Motocross world. But it was not without constant obstacles and challenges.

The book also explores the earliest days of District 23, asking the question, ďWho was the first Minnesota Motocross rider to race against the top national pros?" It was a seemingly simple question that took the author to unexpected places.

These stories are told from the perspective of someone who is a fan of the sport, a former mediocre racer, an occasional digresser, and a Minnesota homer to the core. He tells the riderís stories while putting into context the effect their accomplishments had on the riders and Motocross fans back in Minnesota.

Supplemental Photos

About the Author
Bob Chase is the founder of, a Minnesota Motocross website that dates back to the late 90s. From 2001-2010, the self-proclaimed Minnesota Motocross Historian was a regular District 23 Vet class competitor and an active contributor to Cycle News and Cycle USA. After his late-life racing days were over, his focus shifted to telling stories from the past, the common thread holding them together being Minnesota, dirt bikes, and competition. Looking back much more often than forward, and never taking anything too seriously, the stories may often take the scenic route rather than the interstate, but they never stray too far from the main point, guys going fast on dirt bikes, or trying to go fast in the authorís case.