Eli Tomac (above) and Wil Hahn (below) will start their 450SX careers during the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season opener in Anaheim, California.
With the start of their 450SX careers in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series just around the corner, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac and Wil Hahn are leaving no detail unresolved before Saturday’s race — all the way down to their choice of music for the opening ceremony.
“I think I can pick my own song,” Tomac said. “I’ve got my list narrowed to a few I’m going to pick from. I guess I’ll have to decide and tell them when I get there. It’s one of those crazy things that hits you and lets you know you’ve made it to the top step of the sport.”
Hahn already knows what will accompany his introduction if and when he’s picked to take part in the festivities to kick off the season at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
“It actually didn’t take me that long to figure out which one I wanted,” he said. “It’s definitely my favorite song right now, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.”
Although this is their rookie season on a 450cc bike, both Tomac and Hahn have championship résumés and some experience in Supercross’ top class after making spot starts over the last couple of seasons.
“It gave me a good idea of what it takes to race at that level,” Hahn said. “When I did it then, it was all about learning and getting back in game shape to ride the 250. Now it’s a different situation. I want to make a name for myself in the class and show that I’m in it for the long haul.”
It didn’t take long for Tomac to get comfortable on his Honda 450 CRF-R.
“One good thing about moving up to the 450 is that I’m a little bigger guy,” Tomac said. “I think my frame fits the 450 bike a little better than a 250. It’s a whole different animal, but it’s not going to rip my arms off because I’ve been getting stronger every year I race.”
The season opener normally has a more electric atmosphere than most other stops on the Supercross tour, but both riders have raced in that situation before, so the chances of getting overwhelmed by the hype are minimal.
“It’s a good thing for me because I’ve raced my entire Supercross career on the West Coast,” Tomac said. “This first round usually has the most energy surrounding it. I know I’m going to be excited to be taking part in my first race in the 450 class.
“I want to do well enough so I can be respected as a fast guy in the class instead of just another guy. It’s a little crazy to think I’m racing against some of the other guys in the class because I looked up to them when I was coming up. Events like the Monster Energy Cup have really helped me gain experience against those guys.”
Although the competition will be the steepest they have faced during their careers, the approach to race day really doesn’t change.
“You still are trying to put yourself in a good position and get a strong start where you contend for the holeshot,” Hahn said. “Then you really let the cards fall from there. The deeper field is going to be more challenging, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Tomac echoed the sentiment saying that he has set some lofty goals and wants to kick off the season the right way in Anaheim.
“I’d like to leave with at least a top five finish, if not a spot on the podium,” Tomac said. “I want to run a good race and try not to do anything stupid.”
Practice for Saturday’s opener at Angel Stadium of Anaheim gets under way at 12:30 p.m. PST with opening ceremonies starting at 7 p.m. The race will air live starting at 10 p.m. EST on FOX Sports 1.
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