When he entered the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship there was little doubt that Eli Tomac was favored to once again defend his 450 Class crown. However, this year’s title defense came with added weight compared to his championship-winning 2017 and 2018 campaigns.
Well, in 47 seasons of Pro Motocross only three riders had ever accomplished such a dominant feat. The first two titleholders in the history of the championship, Gary Jones and Tony DiStefano, went back-to-back with their three-peats, from 1972-1977. After that, it took another 25 years until it happened again, when Monster Energy athlete Ricky Carmichael clinched his three-peat in 2002. Of course, Carmichael went on to string together seven straight titles during the single-most-dominant era and career in American motocross history.
A full decade after Carmichael hung up his riding boots for good, Tomac broke through with his first national championship in the premier division. It was a nail-biter of a summer, but Tomac prevailed at season’s end by a 17-point margin. The following year, Tomac enjoyed considerably more success than his initial championship run. However, a nightmare afternoon at RedBud threatened to put a damper on his entire title defense. With his back against the wall, what unfolded over the course of the second half of the season showed what Tomac is made of. He dug deep, put forth some of the most jaw-dropping performances we’ve ever seen, and once again emerged triumphant, this time by just 16 points.
History proved that neither of Tomac’s back-to-back titles came easy. While it was clear that he was the rider to beat each and every time the gate dropped, anything can and often does happen in the world of motocross, and simply being the fastest rider isn’t always enough. Sometimes luck needs to fall your way, but more often than not, if a rider of Tomac’s caliber can go out and take care of his business, he’s going to put himself in a championship-winning position.
If we’ve learned anything throughout his career, it’s that Tomac is a rider that undoubtedly takes care of business. He shows up to the track knowing he’s got the field covered, and he’s fully confident that each National is his to lose. When adversity strikes, Tomac almost always responds emphatically, silencing the critics in a decisive and convincing matter.