Tom Bell Memorial

Tom Bell Memorial Award

While both Autocross and RallyCross had enthusiast of the year awards, in 2009 Road Rally did not have such an award. Following Tom’s death, it was decided to initiate a Road Rally enthusiast of the year award, named for Tom. The intent is to award it to the rally participant who best exemplifies Tom’s enthusiastic support and welcoming attitude for rallying.

This trophy is presented annually to the region member who demonstrates the enthusiasm, contribution, and commitment to TSD Rallying that Tom exemplified in his lifetime. The Rally Director selects the recipient.

 

Bruce Fisher’s reminiscence:

Tom Bell grew up in East Lansing. I met him and his wife Judy in the early 1970’s and we became good friends. Later, he was the best man in my wedding. We participated in all kinds of motorsports together, including TSD, Stage Rally, Ice racing, Autocross, and the Empire Hill Climb. Tom, David Stone, and I all started in Stage Rally as Co-Drivers. Tom had multiple top ten finishes, including some top five’s, as a Co-Driver. Tom’s first drive in Stage Rally was in the 1979 POR in a car we co-owned, we finished in 11th place. We swapped places for the 1979 Sno*Drift and my first drive for a 12 place. Tom moved up to the Kalkaska/Traverse city area in the early 1980’s and did a lot more rallying (TSD and Stage) with David.

1979 POR, Tom Bell – driver, Bruce Fisher – co-driver.

John Fishbeck’s reminiscence:

Tom Bell was an avid and enthusiastic rallyist. He, David Stone and Bruce Fisher are all from the same generation of rallyists, and all were active in stage rallying during the mid-70s thru the mid-80s. Tom and David frequently teamed together, with Tom driving and David co-driving. This was during the ‘golden years’ of US rallying, and they rallied with folks like John Buffum, Doug Shepard, Rod Millen, Scott Harvey (Scott Harvey Jr.’s dad) and Gene Henderson, among others.

A partial list of stage rallies that Tom competed in can be found on this site:

https://rallyracingnews.com/scca/rally tom bell

In later years Tom continued to rally actively, both running and organizing TSD rallies. He was a regular participant in DR SCCA and Furrin Group (out of Grand Rapids) rallies and put on a number of DR rallies. Tom was a great ambassador for rallying – he always made a point of welcoming and encouraging newcomers.

Tom struggled some five years with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, finally succumbing to complications following a bone marrow transplant procedure in the summer of 2009. An obituary for him can be viewed at https://www.heeney-sundquist.com/obituary/4866628 .