Eli Tomac makes the move to the 450 class in 2014, remaining with GEICO Honda as the team expands its presence in the premier class to two riders.
GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac and Wil Hahn will move to the 450 class in 2014, starting with the Monster Energy AMA Supercross season opener in Anaheim. The announcement marks the first time GEICO Honda will field two riders in the premier-class and team owner Jeff Majkrzak commented on the decision to increase the team’s presence in the 450 ranks.
“We only wanted to expand to two 450 riders if we could do it the right way. We wanted to make sure our major partners — GEICO, Honda and AMSOIL — were ready and willing to go on this ride with us. The timing was perfect and we’re excited for the team’s future with Eli and Wil leading the way for our 250cc and amateur teams.”
Tomac has been with GEICO Honda since his days as an amateur and earned a Supercross title in 2012, winning the 250 Lites West crown.
“As an amateur, GEICO Honda was a team you looked up to,” said Tomac. “They always had a great 250 team and legendary guys like Mike LaRocco and Kevin Windham on their 450. What we’re doing now is a step in a new direction. It’s going to be like a whole new program. To be one of the first guys to make it happen is really cool.”
Hahn joined the Honda program in 2010 after riding for Yamaha in 2008 during his first season in the pro ranks and the MDK KTM team in 2009. In his debut race with Honda Hahn broke his back and endured a long recovery, all the while remaining part of the team. The years of rehabilitation and training finally paid off when he scored the SX East title in 2013.
“I didn’t start with them as an amateur, but I feel like I have,” said Hahn. “I was around the team a lot when I was younger hanging out with my brother Tommy. I’ve always felt love from this team and I’m honored they asked me to ride the 450 for them.
“They stuck behind me during times when a lot of teams would have let me go. They saw something in me, they kept me on, and it paid off for both sides.”
Both riders are positive about the future with GEICO Honda, since the program they’ve worked with for years will transition to the premier-class as well.
“Moving to a 450 is a big enough step as it is,” Tomac said. “I would imagine that the transition would be a lot harder if you’ve got to learn a new motorcycle and a new team. I won’t have to do that. I already know this inside and out. I’m excited to get started.”
“Riding for a factory 450 team is something you dream about as a kid,” Hahn added. “Everyone on the team has a constant drive and determination to want to win. Everyone works together for that goal.
“The great part of it is, everything is staying the same: familiar surroundings, same Factory Connection suspension, same engine guy, a Honda motorcycle and the family atmosphere. There’s a lot to be said for that.”