ELI TOMAC INTERVIEW: CATCHING UP WITH THE NEW
450 SUPERCROSS CHAMPION
The 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season certainly threw some curve balls at the riders. However, Eli Tomac persevered through the unknown of the shutdown and the restart of the season in Salt Lake City, Utah, to claim his first ever 450SX Championship. During this dry period in racing where we are waiting for the 2020 Pro Motocross season to begin, Kawasaki invited MXA to talk with Eli Tomac about what he’s been up lately. We took the time to ask a few unique questions about Eli Tomac’s mindset as a racer, we asked what his ideal day of riding a dirt bike would look like and we even discussed his favorite and least favorite technique drills to practice during his training. We also picked his brain about the Pro National that is schedule to race on the tight and technical Loretta Lynn’s amateur track.
By Josh Mosiman
WITH MULTIPLE BREAKS IN THE SEASON SO FAR, DO YOU FIND YOURSELF WITH A GREATER APPRECIATION OF RACING? Before we got racing, you’re like “Man, I want to get this thing done” and you look back on it that way, and I hope other guys realize that. If you’re not racing, we’re missing out on what we are here for, we’re missing out on our purpose. When I wrecked both of my shoulders in 2015 that was a huge eye opener for me because I was sitting on the couch for five months. I was like “Man, what am I doing?” So the weekends where you’re grinding through it and you’re wanting time off, guys need to realize those are much better than the alternatives.
HOW HAS YOUR RACING MINDSET SHIFTED AS YOU’VE GROWN OLDER, HAVE YOU ALWAYS BELIEVED YOU COULD BE THE 450SX CHAMPION? I never want to tell myself that I don’t have the chance to win, but there are years for sure where you’re like, “Man, I really need to improve my game” or “man, I need to really work on my set up on my motorcycle or my consistency.” Each year though is different for your mindset that way. It’s kind of where you’re at in the class and how things are really going. As you get older your mindset changes. When you’re young and you see the 250 class, you see all the crazy things happening in the first lap and that just goes to show you how their mindset is, right? If you look at the 450 guys they’re a little more calm and collected that way.
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE RACING AGAINST YOUR COMPETITORS AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL? Really, it’s wild how you somewhat race the same group all the way through your career. That’s what is pretty interesting. When you get to the 450 class there’s guys who have been there for a while or just got there, but really there’s a lot of the same guys when you look back at your amateur racing like at Loretta’s. You look back on it like “No way, I’ve been racing this guy for fifteen years.”
WHAT DOES YOUR MOST FUN DAY ON A MOTORCYCLE LOOK LIKE? Fun day? I’m trying to think here. Really, it’s just a day when everything feels right. Do you mean like a race day or just riding a motorcycle in general?
LETS REPHRASE THAT, WHAT DOES A FUN DAY AWAY FROM THE RACES LOOK LIKE? Once or twice a year we’ll pull out our two-strokes and go for a ride around our ranch there, like go out back. Those are good days, we have four or five guys out there or whoever is with you. When you’re riding out there you’re just going, that’s what is so cool about dirt bikes, it’s the freedom. You can really just cruise wherever you want, and you do your thing. Those are the good days. Hopefully more guys can do that. I wish I did more of that myself actually. Most of us modern day guys probably don’t do that enough, but we do it here and there.
WHAT IS ONE TECHNIQUE DRILL THAT YOU LIKE TO FOCUS ON WHEN YOU’RE TRAINING? I like focusing on my foot position on the pegs. I’ll warm up and be like, “Alright, use your balls of your feet.” That’s been really important for me in Supercross to get control of the bike.
WHAT IS ONE DRILL THAT YOU DREAD DOING? This is a hard one. Sometimes we’ll have to do standup drills and those I don’t enjoy. We’ll go out on the motocross track and do three laps in a row, no sitting down. Those are torture.
WHAT KIND OF INSIGHT DO YOU HAVE ON LORETTA’S, HAVE YOU HEARD IF THE TRACK IS GOING TO BE ANY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THEY HAVE THERE ALREADY? I don’t have any insight on what it’s going to turn into, but I know if the track is located anywhere near where there current track is, it’s going to be a tight race track that way. Hopefully they can make room for us, we’ll see, I don’t know.
LORETTA’S USUALLY HAS DEEP RUTS AND TIGHT CORNERS, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT? Well, you don’t know really what you’re going to get. Really, I just don’t know. It’s a pretty jumpy track too so that’ll be interesting to see what sort of obstacles they have there and what we can do with them. It’s a pretty busy track that way.