Gary fisher is heralded with inventing mtb, but this man made it what it is..

Posted: June 12, 2013 by kirisyko in Bike, Mountain Biking
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John Tomac, former professional mountainbike r...

John Tomac, former professional mountainbike racer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Legend

 

John Tomac

 

The most respected person to ever throw a leg over a mountain bike, John Tomac was just a youngster when he began winning bike races.

 

The Owosso, Michigan native won his first major event at the age of 16, becoming the National BMX Cruiser Class Champion in 1984. He won an XC World Championship in 1991 and is a 10-time National Champion. From BMX, to road, to DH and XC mountain bike racing, Tomac is the most versatile cyclist to ever ride. With his Kamikaze win in 2005, his cycling career has stretched over 20 years.

 

 

 

John Tomac was still a youngster when he began winning bike races. The Owosso, Michigan native won his first major event at the age of 16, becoming the National BMX Cruiser Class Champion in 1984. He won an XC World Championship in 1991 and is a ten time National Champion.

 

From BMX, to road, to DH and XC mountain bike racing, Tomac is the most versatile cyclist to ever ride a bicycle. With his Kamikaze win in 2005, his cycling career has stretched over 20 years.

 

1975 to 1983: Tomac begins his cycling career in BMX. From the age of 7 to 15, he races locally in Michigan and in the Midwest, winning State and Regional Championships.

 

1984: A 16 year old Tomac wins his first major race, a National BMX Cruiser Class Title. Tomac rides for the Factory Mongoose Team.

 

1985: Tomac turns pro at age 17 and races only one year as a privateer in the pro ranks.

 

1986: Tomac moves from Michigan to Southern California and starts riding and racing Mongoose mountain bikes full time. His first major win happens in the fall of 1986, when he wins The Ross Fat Tire Stage Race in Massachusetts. He also wins the L.A. Coliseum Supercross Mountain Bike Exhibition Race.

 

1987: Mongoose creates a Tomac signature Tange steel mountain bike. At the time, it has radical geometry with a 72 head angle and 73 seat angle, considered very aggressive, as most mountain bikes at the time are running slacker “beach cruiser” geometry. This year, Tomac is the Mountain Bike Action Super Prestige Series Winner, wins three National XC races and is again the Ross Stage Race Winner.

 

1988: Tomac wins the NORBA World Mountain Bike Championships overall title at Mammoth. This title was won by earning the most points in DH, XC, and Slalom. Tomac also becomes the USCF National Criterium Champion on the road, the NORBA National XC Champion, the NORBA Dual Slalom World Champion, and wins at Stage at the Tour of the Rockies. Still in Mongoose on dirt, Tomac rides for the Sunkyong and Celestial Seasoning’s team on the road.

 

1989: Another pheonomenal year for Tomac, he again wins the NORBA World Mountain Bike Championships overall title, but adds the NORBA Downhill World Championship, European XC World Championship, German National XC Championship and a USCF National Team Time Trial Championship in road to his belt.

 

1990: JT races both the road and mountain bikes again in 1990, with two major team contracts. His mountain bike contract is with Yeti and his road contact is with the 7-11 pro team. Tomac is living in Belgium, traveling back and forth from the US to Europe to race NORBA National events, major US road events, World Cup mountain bike events, and also major road racing events in Europe. Tomac races over 100 events this year, including the Tour of Flanders, the Tour of Italy and Paris-Roubaix. He finishes in the top 20 at Ghent-Wevelgem. On the mountain side, JT wins the World Mountain Bike Championships overall title. At the Durango World Championships, he finishes 4th place in the DH event on a Yeti C-26 with “drop bars” and with first generation Manitou mountain bike forks.

 

1991: Another busy year for Tomac, he changes sponsors on both the road and the mountain sides. On dirt, he begins his stint at Raleigh, and on the road signs for the Motorola professional road team. Tomac wins the World Championship in XC in Ciocco, Italy and finishes second in DH. He also is the UCI World Cup XC Champion, NORBA National DH Champion and wins two World Cups in XC.

 

1992: After a stellar mountain bike season in 1991, Tomac decides to devote all of his attention to mountain bikes. Still riding for Raleigh, he finishes second in UCI World Cup Overall XC points, wins two XC World Cups in Belgium and Switzerland and finishes 5th at the World Championships in DH. Johnny T hit a spectator at Mount Snow, 3 minutes ahead half way through the race, and a spectator ran across the course and Johnny tacoed his wheel, stayed in, got back up to second and Frishy won the World Cup championship because of it.

 

1993: Tomac and Raleigh introduce a signature John Tomac racing bike. Litespeed made the front head lug and rear triangle that was mated to the carbon main tubes. The bike was decked out in full Tomac-sponsor gear from Tioga, RockShox, Shimano, Grafton and Grip Shift. This bike retailed for $6300 in 1993 and there were approximately 60 made. Tomac finishes second in UCI World Cup Overall DH points, second in NORBA National XC Series points and wins a DH World Cup in Canada and two NORBA National XC races (Indiana and Michigan).

 

1994: Tomac comes back strong again in 1994, winning the NORBA National DH Championship, and the Cactus Cup and Sea Otter Stage races. He also manages an XC World Cup win in Spain. He races the majority of the season on Raleigh, but near the end of the year, make the move to Giant.

 

1996: Tomac again races both the DH and XC series in 1996 and wins the NORBA National XC Championship. His season in DH also goes well: he is fourth in NORBA National DH points at the end of the season. Another highlight of the year is that he wins the Olympic Qualification XC race in Georgia.

 

1997: Tomac follows up a great 1996 with an unbelievable season, winning the NORBA National DH Championship and finishing 2nd at Worlds behind Nicolas Vouilloz. He’s fifth in overall World Cup points at the end of the season, and wins a stunner World Cup final DH race in Austria. He also manages to snag the Washington NORBA National Dual Slalom win. 1998 & 1999: Tomac gets together with friend Doug Bradbury and starts Tomac. They design a new DH bike, called the Magnum 204, but injuries plaque Johnny in 1998 and 1999, as he suffers a broken collar bone and broken wrist in these years respectively. He does manage an X-Games bronze medal in 1998, but spends the majority of the two years managing the race team, which consists of the Houseman brothers and Sari Jorgensen.

 

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    Never seen a more stylish rider, my first memories of seeing mtb on tv as a kid is of JT!

    • sykose says:

      Agreed. What a champ he was , and a super versatile rider , unlike the specialists of today. And he hammered me at the world champs as youngster , when he was reaching the throes of being a veteran. Must be a lot of knowledge in that head , that could be imparted to the riders of today.

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