In his first motocross race ever as a professional, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Eli Tomac took the overall win. Immediately the rookie was the talk of the town, and many wondered if he would continue at that level for the entire season. Although Tomac’s speed has been on par for the most part, he has struggled to duplicate his first round feat. As the son of mountain biking legend, John Tomac, we're sure he'll find his flow soon and return to the top of the box. We found Eli waiting for a flight at O’Hare airport with his parents and took the opportunity for a quick interview.
Eli, let’s start off with how your season is going for you so far.
Tomac took the overall win during his first professional race during the season opening event at Hangtown.
Hangtown was obviously killer, and since then I’ve been struggling. At first it was kind of the humidity and the heat, and now it’s my starts. So once I fix that I think I’ll be fine. I definitely have the speed to run up front.
What is the level like in the pro class versus the amateurs? Was it what you expected? The first race you came out and took the overall, which no one has done before. Did you think, “Oh man, this is going to be a cakewalk?”
I definitely did think it was going to be cake, but the first race was kind of crazy. I was totally shocked and didn’t really know what to expect. Now it’s really setting in more; you kind of realize you’re there in the pro stuff. It’s definitely tough.
So it was your first time at Red Bud. What did you think of the spectacle that is Red Bud?
The fans are probably the craziest, most awesome around. There was a ton of them too; they definitely killed any other attendance. It’s definitely cool to see that people are super into it up in Michigan.
Are there any tracks this year you are looking forward to?
Eli knows he needs to work on getting better starts to improve his results this season.
I think I’ll be looking forward to Southwick; I like the sand. It looks like fun, but it’s going to be a tough one too. But yeah that’s the one I’m looking forward to.
Let’s talk about what you have going on during the week. What do you do to train in-between rounds?
I usually ride three days a week, and in-between that we’ll do a road bike ride and a little gym workout. But mostly we keep it a little more light, I guess, than before the season started. Mostly it’s motorcycle time.
Before Hangtown you went and raced WORCS to get ready for the rigors of racing long motos. What was it like racing off-road in comparison to the track?
You kind of had to teach yourself to calm down; you can’t go out there and spaz and go crazy. It’s definitely fun. It makes you tough too, ‘cause it’s really a methodical type of race. You can’t go too slow at the start, but you also can’t go too hard. It gave me respect for what those guys do.
What’s it like coming into a big team like GEICO Powersports and being inside the Factory Connection rig. You now have a large amount of people behind you to help you succeed, where before it was a small core group that was in your corner. How’s that been?
Tomac is looking forward to the sand of Southwick, saying he enjoys sandy motocross tracks.
It’s fun. It’s a little crazy and hectic, because you have four guys in the semi. So the bunks are totally packed, but everyone get’s along well. All the team guys are pretty mellow actually, and there’s not a ton of pressure for me since it’s my rookie season. That’s kind of nice. Everyone is super cool.
How about Supercross next year?
I hope I get to do West Coast. I think they’re going to do that, because Barcia and I will be separated since we are the young guys. I have a little Arenacross-Supercross track at my house. It’s not full blown, but we’ll build a legit one here pretty soon. But I like riding Supercross.
So what do you do to relax, besides lying around on airport benches?
I do a lot of hunting, dirt jumping, RC car driving, and that’s about it.
Okay, well we’ll see you at Millville. Hopefully you’ll be grabbing some better starts.
Yeah, definitely! Thanks.