Eli Tomac of Cortez heads to the Monster Energy AMA Supercross in Atlanta on Saturday with two straight wins, consistent speed and a confidence boost.
“Stoked to pull off the W in Tampa!” he said Monday on Twitter. “Tough track, gnarly rhythm section, crazy sand, and 26 laps.”
Last Saturday in Tampa, the ace rider from Kawasaki was fast all day.
During qualifying rounds in the afternoon, Tomac posted the fastest lap of 48.916 seconds. Cooper Webb of Yamaha followed him at 49.049 seconds, and Jason Anderson of Husqvarna was third at 49.231 seconds
In his heat race before the main event, Tomac was second to the turn, trailing Anderson and leading Honda rider Cole Seely. Seeley crashed in the first lap, bringing out the red flag. At the restart, Anderson again took the lead, but Tomac quickly challenged, racing bar-to-bar with Anderson in the sand and quad-jumping in the rhythm section. With a lap to go, Tomac was at Anderson’s rear wheel, riding perhaps his most aggressive race of the year.
At the finish line, he was second, just 0.270 second back. During the heat, Tomac again posted the fastest lap, 48.414 seconds compared with Anderson’s 48.496 seconds.
In the 450SX main event at Raymond James Stadium, Tomac entered the first turn in second place behind Webb. Tomac quickly got to the lead for the second and third laps, but a couple of mistakes opened the door to Marvin Musquin of KTM and Justin Hill of Suzuki, who both led Tomac by the sixth lap.
Then, Tomac found his line through the tricky course, which had a difficult sandy stretch and slick spots. He got past Hill in the seventh lap, and the run for the title became a two-man race between Musquin and Tomac.
“Once Hill got by me, that’s when I really got my groove,” Tomac said in the postrace interview. “Then after that we just slowly started chipping away, getting close to the lead there.”
Catching Musquin by riding fast in the rhythm section, Tomac began his duel with Musquin for the lead. After a couple of back-and-forth passes, Tomac took the lead for the final time in Lap 16, and led the final 11 laps of the race.
“I had that inside line in my bag from the heat race,” he said. “That’s where I was able to get Marv the first time. The second time I was able to make it stick.”
At the finish line, Tomac was 4.536 seconds ahead of Musquin. Anderson finished third, 12.065 seconds back. Webb was fourth.
With the victory, Tomac moved up three spots in the standings, to seventh place. He is now 65 points out of the lead, held by Anderson with 181 points. Musquin is second with 142.
Two weeks ago in Arlington, Texas, Tomac set the pace all day long with the fastest qualifying and heat times. He then won the main event, riding far ahead of the pack to a wire-to-wire finish.
Next Saturday, the Supercross series moves to Daytona International Speedway.