April 11, 2013 – Encinitas, CA – As the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series begins to wind down, racers and loyal fans travel to the Minneapolis Metrodome for round 14 of the 2013 season. Along with the series comes another stop of the Legends and Heroes Tour, which will honor a Minnesota local, the late Supercross and World Motocross champion, Donny Schmit.
Donny Schmit was born in Minneapolis on January 17, 1967. Donny stared his two-wheel career at Millville, Minnesota on a Honda XR75, but his early race results were certainly no hint of things to come. Fellow racers made note of Schmit’s cowboy boots and a kidney belt wrapped around his waist about three times because he was so thin. “Everyone called him ‘Peanut’ because he was just a little guy,” said Donny’s wife, Carrie. “He was such a little kid he used a milk crate to hold himself up on his bike at the starting line.”
After moving up to a more competitive machine, it didn’t take long for Schmit to start winning. He soon caught the attention of Kawasaki’s Team Green, and went on to have great success with them in the amateur ranks. In 1986, Schmit turned pro and immediately won the AMA 125cc Western Regional Supercross Championship. He earned a reputation as a hard-charger who worked diligently, never gave up and always found a way to the front. Donny made a career choice in 1987 to leave Kawasaki and sign with Suzuki. That year he scored his first AMA Motocross National win in the 125cc division at Anderson, South Carolina. Schmit earned a few more wins that season and finished the year fifth in the championship.
When Team Bieffe Suzuki began looking for a rider to contest the 125cc World Championship, they immediately went looking for Donny Schmit. He shocked the world, and perhaps even himself, with his immediate success on the world circuit. Donny won four grand prix events, earning him the 1990 125cc World Motocross Championship title.
In 1992, Schmit looked for a new challenge in the 250cc Motocross World Championship, and it was there he struck gold again. That season, riding for Chesterfield Yamaha, Schmit won his second world title, tallying five 250 GP wins along the way. He stayed with Chesterfield Yamaha for the next two seasons, and although he never regained the world title, he won three more 250cc grand prix rounds.
When Schmit retired, his 15 career victories in World Motocross Grand Prix were the most ever by an American rider. Schmit withdrew from full-time racing after the 1994 season and tragically died less than two years later from complications of a rare disease called aplastic anemia at only 29 years of age.