Eli Tomac of Cortez launched his campaign for a first AMA Supercross championship with a seventh-place finish Saturday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
Tomac, 27, entered the 450cc series on the back of his third consecutive Lucas Oil Pro Motocross title this summer and an overall 23 victories in the past three years, the most of any rider. But a Supercross title and a season-opening win at Anaheim have eluded him.
On press day 2020, he appeared ready to race.
“Absolutely I’m here to win this championship,” he said this weekend. “The past two Supercross seasons have consisted of a lot of wins for me, but it has also consisted of a lot of inconsistency. I’m trying to be a new guy that way, but it’s always easier said than done. I would love to make a statement here and try to get a win at Anaheim 1.”
Late Saturday, he left Anaheim 1 again without a win.
Starting in the No. 7 position at the gate, Tomac was slow to the first turn and in 11th place after the first lap. Justin Barcia led the frontrunners and was trailed by Justin Brayton and Adam Cianciarulo, Tomac’s teammate on Monster Energy Kawasaki. Cianciarulo moved into second in the fourth lap and into the lead in the eighth when Barcia went off the track.
After nine laps, Tomac was eighth, more than 14 seconds behind the leader. He continued to fade and finished seventh, more than 23.75 seconds behind Barcia, who recovered from a rough stretch and overtook Cianciarulo for the win.
Defending Supercross champion Cooper Webb finished third, and Blake Baggett and Jason Anderson rounded out the top five.
Tomac’s finish Saturday at Anaheim 1 was his worst since he crashed out in 2018. Last year, he was third.
The day started out well for the Kawasaki team.
Tomac was the second-fastest rider after two qualifying rounds in the afternoon. In the first round, he was seventh, with a time of 59.119 seconds. Cianciarulo was fastest, at 57.296. In the second round, Tomac posted a 56.667 second lap, and again Cianciarulo was fastest, at 56.169 seconds..
Then, in the first of two heats leading up to the main event, Tomac finished fourth, 8.440 seconds off the lead. Starting in the No. 1 gate, he was in sixth place after the first of eight laps, and in fifth after six laps. He passed Malcolm Stewart – and sent him into the dirt – in the seventh lap and finished fourth behind Brayton, Ken Roczen and Vince Friese.
In the second heat, Cianciarulo, finished second to Barcia. Cianciarulo was third after the first lap and dropped to fifth after two, but he charged into second in the fifth lap to finish 3.409 seconds behind Barcia.
The second round of the 16-round Monster Energy AMA Supercross series is Saturday in St. Louis at The Dome at America’s Center.