DATE OF INDUCTION: January 15, 2004
CAREER SPAN: 1967-1976
BRANDS RACED : Rupp
COMPETITION TYPE: Oval
AGE AT INDUCTION: 57
Oval Racing great Gene Bloom started racing in 1967 when he entered local races on a Rupp sponsored by his employer, Apfel Construction in Bellaire, Michigan. He raced as a semi-independent for two seasons before his fortunes changed at Ironwood in 1969. He was the only Rupp in the hard-fought Mod 600 class finals that day and his competitiveness drew the attention from the people at Rupp. He was soon given a contract and his factory racing career began.
Bloom quickly became known for his fiery competitiveness and it wasn’t long before his name was closely intertwined with the racing red color of Rupp snowmobiles at the pro oval events of the day. Gene’s best day came at the Ironwood track in 1972, where he worked his way through a huge factory field to win the coveted 440 class title in front of a packed grandstand. He went on to finish his 1972 championship season with 7 wins out of 9 racing events.
Oval Racing in the early days of factory involvement required a strong team and Bloom had one of the best, three of these members were oval legends Bob Neimcheck, Jim Thornton and Lyle Forsgren, a strong team of engineers that worked to make Blooms sleds the best they could be. Racing with this team was close friend John Binkley. Bloom and Binkley went on to carry the Rupp flag until they bowed out of the snowmobile industry in 1978.