Defending 450SX champion points toward added depth in current era.
The fading chances of Ryan Dungey making a comeback to Monster Energy Supercross in 2021 ‘would be tough’, reigning champion Eli Tomac has suggested.
At 27, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tomac clinched his maiden 450SX crown in Salt Lake City during June and will enter next year as the favorite to defend his title.
It emerged last month that four-time champion Dungey, who retired from the sport as champion in 2017, was seeking opportunities to make a shock return next season, however, momentum has since appeared to stall with limited factory-level seats available.
Tomac believes that the level of the premier class has risen over the past three years since Dungey’s retirement, indicating that it would be an immense challenge for the 30-year-old to come back and be able to challenge at the front. Still, he understood why the attraction might be there.
“All I can say is, in my opinion, the 450 class has gotten harder,” Tomac stated. “I think there’s more guys now that are truly gonna have the opportunity of winning races, so it would be tough.
“But, you know, people can do whatever they want. I’m sure he misses the love of racing and that competitive environment. I think it’s easy to maybe call things too early, but everyone’s got their own deal, you know.”
After winning Supercross and claiming third in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, it’s understood that Tomac’s current multi-year contract will conclude at the end of 2021, now expected to renew again to continue through 2022 at least.
“I don’t know what the deal is or why it is, but everyone seems like 26 or 27 is the time to write it off in this sport,” Tomac said in relation to any pending retirement plans.
“Obviously that’s not the case now, Zach [Osborne] has proved that wrong and there’s other names like [Justin] Brayton and [Chad] Reed, so I don’t know. I don’t think I’m done, say after this next season, I would like to get one or two more in, so hopefully that’s the case.”