THE LATE MIKE BELL WAS THE OTHER RIDER ON THE COVER OF THE MAY 1987 ISSUE OF MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION

That's supercross star Mike Bell on the right, with Eli Tomac's dad

Zap filled us in on the other rider on the cover of this issue. When we shared this cover a few days ago, we only talked about John Tomac, who was on the left side of the main photo, but Zap (Zapata Espinoza, who was the editor of MBA back then) just filled us in on the other rider: “Hey just a bot [sic] of added history on the Tomac cover – he’s riding next to Mike Bell, factory Yamaha rider and Supercross national champion who also won the MTB race at the Coliseum in 86ish. Mike is riding the Wicked Fat Chance, and he also appeared on three other covers.”

That’s John Tomac on the left and Mike Bell on the right side of our May 1987 issue of Mountain Bike Action. For any of our readers who don’t know who John Tomac  is, he has long been considered one of the best mountain bikers in history, if not the best.

Four years after this cover came out, John Tomac (who was MBA’s top test rider of the 1980s) went on to win the Men’s Cross-country title at the 1991 UCI World Championships, as well as the UCI World Cup XC title that year. On top of that, Tomac also picked up the silver medal in Elite Men’s Downhill at the UCI’s 1991 World Championships. A few years later, he’d go on to win another silver medal  in the UCI Downhill World Championships

Tomac is the only rider in history to win multiple Elite Men’s World Cup races in both the cross-country and downhill categories.

Nowadays, John Tomac is probably best known to today’s youth as motocross superstar Eli Tomac’s dad.

Still, to everybody who followed mountain biking from the late 1980s through most of the 1990s, John Tomac was widely considered the best all-around mountain biker in the world. And, it’s quite possible that some people still feel that way today. “Johnny T” was incredibly good.

Mike Bell died in January 2021 after suffering a heart attack on a mountain bike ride. Here’s an article that Zap wrote about him, shortly after his death:

https://mbaction.com/in-memoriam-mike-bell-a-mt-bike-motocross-icon/

 

 

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