The legendary John Tomac, back in the 1980s

John Tomac was riding for Mongoose when MBA shot this photo. We couldn’t tell what year it was taken, so we sent it to Tomac and asked him. Tomac told us: “That’s 1987 or 88. Leaning towards 87. I can’t tell where it’s at from the photo.”

Check out the rigid fork and the toe clips on the pedals. While “Johnny T” was humble, friendly, polite and very respectful of others on and off the race courses, he was intensely competitive when he was racing.

Tomac used to win cross-country, downhill, dual slalom and trials competitions at the nationals, but he never won them all on the same weekend, he told us. When he raced in the World Cup events of the 1990s, he won numerous XC and downhill World Cup races, but he never won both of them at the same race.

His best race weekend was the UCI World Championships in Italy in 1991, when he won the cross-country race one day and placed second in the downhill the other day. There’s a reason why many people still consider John Tomac the greatest mountain biker in history.

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