For the first time ever Nashville welcomed the roar of Monster Energy Supercross, and fittingly enough, the world’s best riders put on a memorable, high-flying showcase in “Music City.” The debut inside Nissan Stadium ultimately turned into a night of celebration for Monster Energy, as Eli Tomac and Martin Davalos swept the night’s Main Event victories.
It’s been an up and down season for Tomac, at least by his exceptional standards, but despite that the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider had still amassed a trio of wins entering Nashville and still remained the hunt for the championship. Starts have been arguably the most challenging aspect of Tomac’s success, almost serving as a make-or-break circumstance each and every time the gate dropped. However, the Eli Tomac that had stormed to victory in exactly half of the races over the past two seasons returned with a vengeance in Music City and took no prisoners en route to an emphatic and dominant fourth win this season.
To make the triumphant ride even sweeter, Tomac had to overcome adversity in his Heat Race, survive a trip to the LCQ, and fight his way forward from a start outside the top 10 in the Main Event. While no rider would ever choose this path to victory, it had to be one of the more rewarding wins for Tomac in recent memory. He was the heavy favorite to win his first 450SX Class title this season, but fortunes simply haven’t gone his way. Nevertheless, he’s persevered to have the second-most wins in the division and now sits 21 points out of the championship lead with three rounds to go.
"It was a tough day, not going to lie. I struggled all day, to be honest. I am just happy to be up here. I was terrible in the whoops and that was this racetrack. I think as everyone can see I was a fish out of water in those things; I am going to get to work on that this week, it's ridiculous. We are going to get better and just keep plugging away."
No sport is as unpredictable as Monster Energy Supercross, and every rider is only as good as his last race. That bodes well for Tomac as the season draws to its conclusion. While he’s still got work to do, nothing provides a jolt of confidence quite like winning, and there couldn’t be a more opportune time than now for Tomac to string together a few victories.
In the 250SX East Region, things looked glum before the night show even began. Austin Forkner had been the dominant force of the right coast, compiling an undefeated record in East Region races, but a crash in qualifying left him sidelined for the night. However, in Forkner’s absence his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate stepped up to the plate. Davalos has more laps under his belt than any other rider in the division, and it showed in Nashville. The veteran from Ecuador hasn’t been 100% healthy in 2019, but he’s continued to fight through discomfort and push himself each and every week. That patience and resiliency paid off in a big way in Nashville, and Davalos broke through for his first win since 2016.
"It has been a struggle, and a struggle, and a struggle to get back to where I belong. To be honest with you, I am capable of so much more. I have a lot of issues with my neck. I was put to sleep last Friday to deal with this issue and this was a huge win for me; I have not rode supercross since Indianapolis. I have been taking care of my neck... but this win, the whole team deserves it".