Features 1 Apr 2024

Debrief: 2024 Supercross Rd12 St. Louis

St. Louis winners Tomac and Kitchen discuss their Triple Crown sweeps.

For the first time since coming back to racing following a ruptured Achilles tendon in 2023, Eli Tomac found his way to the top step of the podium again in St. Louis. He did so in a Triple Crown sweep which was done in both 450SX and 250SX classes on the same night for the first time as Levi Kitchen swept all three races in 250SX. Both riders spoke with the media following the race in this Debrief feature.


Image: Octopi Media.

Eli, it’s been a long time coming. We know Ken Roczen had a sweep. Jett Lawrence had a sweep earlier this year. As the king of Triple Crowns, you now have your sweep. I just want to talk about what this means to you and your team.

Yeah, it just feels good to deliver a win for the team. I was in a bit of a rough patch these last few weeks. A bit of a slump there, and I was struggling with a lot of things. A little bit with my body, a little bit of just overall riding on the track there. Tonight was old me. I was just able to execute everything that I needed to do. Starts, just riding, qualifying, and all the above. This was big for us. I didn’t like where I was finishing, I’ll tell you that, before this week.

As you mentioned, a bit of a slump the last few weeks. Today, an amazing ride though. What was the difference?

Putting everything together and really that’s it. Just executing everything, I just felt good. To be honest, I was struggling in the crazy soft conditions just having comfort and getting through those mains and doing everything right.

Have these soft conditions week to week made it difficult during the week to make gains on what you focus on?

Yeah, I was just struggling straight up. The real story is I tweaked my ankle like three weeks ago and I haven’t been able to balance right either. Tonight, that finally came around too and my balance is back. So, maybe it was some of that, a little bit of the soft conditions, and it obviously made it worse limping around.

What does it mean to get this win given your comeback?

I was getting to the point where I was very frustrated. Getting to the point where maybe the comeback wasn’t really worth it. So yeah, this was goal number one for my comeback was just to get an overall and know I was still capable of doing it. Whether it was Triple Crown or a normal main event, I’ll take it.

On the point of questioning the comeback, at one point during the season do those thoughts creep in, and how do you sit there and take it when you get so much questioning?

It’s just part of the game. You hear it, but at the end of the day, you get used to it and you just try to become numb to the people that are making those comments. It’s part of the game.


Image: Octopi Media.

Levi, you looked so excited on the podium. Another Triple Crown win, you’ve done well in Triple Crowns, and outside of Triple Crowns. Moving forward and extending your lead, how are you feeling right about now after going 1-1-1?

Yeah, I feel as good as I could I guess I could say. That was pretty awesome to get all three wins like that. As far as the points go, I think I did gain a little more points on RJ [Hampshire] there, so that was obviously nice too. We’re going into a little break. We’re going to enjoy that. Overall, it was a really fun night.

In Race 3, we noticed RJ kind of pressuring you a bit. Were you comfortable running that pace, and if not, did you ever consider backing down and taking a second because you didn’t need the win for the overall?

A little bit. I think my mechanic gave me five to go [on the pit board] and he was like 2.5 behind me. I kind of talked to myself a little bit while I was riding and I was like, I made a plan, and I just told myself I was going to sprint for two laps. If he hangs on, kudos to him, we’ll see where it goes. But I put in two good laps, gapped him a little bit, and pretty much rode it in from there.

It looks like you kind of raised your game here the last couple of weeks, especially after this break. Do you feel like you were at this level last year and you just couldn’t get the starts or do you as a rider feel completely different from last year?

Honestly, last year if I had gotten these starts, I don’t know that I would have believed in myself enough to do this. I think that’s the difference now. I just really believe that’s where I belong. I think that helps on the starts too. I want to get to that first turn first every time obviously and I try my best to do that. I think it’s just a confidence thing. Last year was a solid year for me. I stayed healthy all year and learned a lot and I think that just carried into this round.

From reports and from you as well, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki tends to be a bit more of a relaxed environment with a bit more freedom there for you. Is that one of the contributing factors this year for you to develop the way you are?

Yeah, I would say a little bit. Mainly just the riding part. I don’t have to stress during the week. I’m really competitive so when I was at Star, I feel like I wanted to beat everybody every day and I’d kind of bury myself in the ground. Now I just ride with Ken [Roczen] and Chiz [Kyle Chisholm] and those guys. Ken is Ken, I mean it’s Ken Roczen so if he’s going to be faster than me, I’m not too worried about it. But I just do my best to stay close to him and I’m having a lot of fun right now.