Features 29 Jun 2021

Conversation: Eli Tomac

Three-time champion talks High Point moto win and season so far.

The start of the season for three-time Lucas Oil Pro Motocross champion Eli Tomac was one that many didn’t see coming. In the opening five motos, he didn’t crack the top five and finished as low as 11th in a moto at his home track, Thunder Valley. While it was announced just ahead of the season that he and Monster Energy Kawasaki would part ways at the close of the year, Tomac fully planned to take back the number one plate ahead of his departure. He lined up at High Point’s round three with a lot to prove, and eventually took 6-1 moto scores for his first overall podium and top five of the season. We caught up with him following round three to get his thoughts on his moto win at High Point.

Image: Octopi Media

Did Kawasaki give you the works parts back or did you just got out and get mad and get the win? [Laughs]

[Laughs] I kind of got mad and just went out and won. Put myself in a lot better track position early on and that really changed it for me. I just felt like I was behind you know in those other motos, not riding like myself at all, struggling with lines and kind of connecting the whole track. So I don’t know, I kind of flipped the switch. Another kind of a weird Eli Tomac deal but that’s how it goes, I’m glad to win something.

In the second moto at High Point, your first win of the season, did you feel different out there than you did in the first five motos of the season? 

Oh totally, I was like a whole different guy and I don’t even really know why other than like I said, putting myself in [good] early track position up there. Yeah, I thought the track was really good this week, it was one of the best high points in my opinion for moisture in the track and just how it was prepped. I went and looked at it last night and I was like, ‘Dang, this track looks sweet,’ and it turned out that way. They had some fun stuff on it like the dozer berm and the whole thing shaped up, in my opinion, in the right way between rough enough and technical enough but not a total mess in the morning.

The track looked pretty technical at High Point, that downhill where you were hopping over the little hip jump, I didn’t see too many people doing that. 

Yeah, that line after the big quad table. I did it once in the first moto and I clipped my rear end on it in the first moto and I kind of put it away. I looked at it again in moto two and the breaking bump on it was more built up from the 250 guys, so there was a better lip to get over it. So that was a cool line and then the other triple step up beforehand I felt like were big [for me] in moto two.

Image: Octopi Media.

You would be the first to admit the first two rounds haven’t gone the way you’d like them to go. There’s been a lot of press around your early-season performance, even some conspiracy from fans. How do you deal with that about and continue to get past all of that when you yourself weren’t sure what was going on at the beginning of the season?

I could say round one I had a different set up on, I went to round one with something else suspension-wise and general chassis stuff. So that one, I’m like ‘well maybe we just missed it,’ but the second race in Colorado, I had [the settings] that I had [at High Point]. So I don’t know what was going on, I was getting tight in those other motos so I don’t know if I had something going on with my body that way but now I’m feeling back to normal at least moto two [at High Point] I could do what I wanted to do. Yeah with the conspiracy stuff, I think we’re all bigger better people than that.

You talked a little bit about the frustration, was part of your speed and aggression that second moto at High Point due to that? 

[Laughs] I mean yeah, of course, my moto finishes have been very marginal so that was in my mind, I’m like ‘I’ve gotta do something, gotta get back to normal,’ so like I said before it’s frustrating to have those races like that and dig yourself in that big of a hole. But better to get back to normal sooner than later.