News 27 Feb 2024

Has Tomac brought 'Beast Mode' back into 450SX?

Two-time champion shows signs of his former self in Arlington runner-up.

It’s the phrase that Eli Tomac has stopped short of saying himself, and following a stellar performance in Arlington on Saturday night, there’s one question everyone is asking: Is ‘Beast Mode’ back in Monster Energy Supercross?

Tomac’s 2024 campaign has served up varied results so far, the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing rider returning from an achilles injury that cruelly denied him of a third 450SX crown last season, which at the time, increased suggestions he would call time on his illustrious career.

Ultimately signing a contract extension with the factory Yamaha squad in July 2023, Tomac only returned to Supercross training in November, limiting him to just two months of preparation ahead of Anaheim’s season-opener in January.

Image: Octopi Media.

At 31 years of age, and with an extended stint on the sidelines, many questioned whether we’d still see the Tomac we’ve become accustomed to – the rider who can seemingly flick a switch and charge his way through the field for wins and podiums.

“You find the right flow, so for whatever that is – if you have a couple of good turns on whatever track you’re riding, and you have that flow – that feeling – it’s almost like things come easy, and they come [at you] slower,” described Tomac, speaking on his state of mind when charging through the field.

“So it’s when everything is working right and you can go in the places you want to go, and you’ve got the flow. In that situation, I can just keep pushing the whole moto.”

Image: Octopi Media.

The season-opening round only fuelled questions about Tomac’s form, finishing a disappointing – by his standards – P9. He rebounded to finish second at San Francisco’s round two, although considering the difficult and muddy conditions, it still wasn’t a clear indicator that he was ‘back’.

Since then, it’s been a mixed bag of finishes for the two-time 450SX champion, going 9-2-10-4, and most recently, another runner-up result at the weekend’s seventh round.

While not a victory, it was a performance that has the return of Tomac – or ‘Beast Mode’ – in conversation, after the number three overcame an early mistake before flipping the switch and making 14 passes, going from P16 on lap two to second at checkers.

Image: Octopi Media.

“This was a race I needed, even though it wasn’t a win – I’ll tell you that,” Tomac recalled. “I was really struggling with these situations before this weekend, so I feel like I’m a lot better now. I was bummed to make the mistake early on… it was all on me, I overshot a triple and tucked the front end and went over the berm.

“I’ve heard it all season, and I know I’m not there yet. I dunno, maybe some people are right – I haven’t won an overall yet. One thing is for sure, I have improved, I’m getting better, so yeah, I’m ready to put up the fight in this last half and maybe show some of the young guys that they’re still young.”

The uptick in form has been timely for Tomac, who is now in the frame for a late championship charge as Monster Energy Supercross heads to Daytona this weekend. It’s a place that has been a playground of sorts for the Colorado native, winning the last five 450SX main events – for a total of seven – at the unique venue. He currently sits fifth in the championship standings, just 13 points shy of series leader Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC).