DATE OF INDUCTION: January 20, 2000
CAREER SPAN: 1966-2012
COMPETITION TYPE: Oval, Drag & Cross-Country
BRANDS RACED: Arctic Cat, John Deere, Polaris & Ski-Doo
AGE AT INDUCTION: 46
Renowned as the only driver to win the Winnipeg-to-St. Paul International 500 on two different brands, Brian Nelson and longtime racing partner Hubert Fixsen built, tuned and raced snowmobiles as very successful “students of the game” for three decades. The duo produced many winning sleds and posted a phenomenal record of pro victories during the 1970s with a thoughtful, detail minded style perfectly suited to the multi-day events of the era.
Competing since his early teens, Nelson joined the pro ranks at the age of 22 with a berth on the John Deere Cross Country team in 1975. In 1976 as a member of the legendary Enduro Team Deere he recorded his first Winnipeg to St. Paul I-500 win staging one of the greatest come from behind victories ever by overcoming a 14 minute deficit on the final day to win the 500 mile race by just 32 seconds. Brian also won the Cross-Country high-point title that year.
After changing to Arctic Cat for the 1977 race season the Nelson-Fixsen team designed and built a cross country kit that was made available for the 1978 El Tigre’ 6000. Nelson drove that sled to his second Winnipeg to St. Paul I-500 win in 1978. He made his final I-500 run from Winnipeg in 1995 racing the senior class.
Innovative and skilled at fabrication, Nelson participated in snowmobile development and testing throughout his career, working on several Arctic Cat projects including the original ZR produced in 1993. Nelson took a hiatus from pro competition in the early 1980s but he continued to make a contribution as a dealer, team owner, R&D consultant, tour operator and occasional competitor through the 1990s. His last race was the vintage leg of The I-500 in 2011, in that race Brian finished second, just behind fellow Hall of Fame inductee Joey Hallstrom.
In Brian’s latest endeavor he founded the USXC Cross Country Race circuit in 2012. The USXC is the premier cross country racing circuit in the North America . Most recently resurrecting the legendary I-500 starting from Winnipeg.