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Quicksand: Eli Tomac comes up big at the Wick

Jul 112016

Just past the halfway mark of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, it finally all came right for Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F as the Colorado native turned deep sand to glass in the chocolate brown sand of Southwick, Massachusetts. Unable to snag a moto win through the first six rounds of the Trans-American motocross series – he had been able to post-up six runner-up finishes leading into the Wick - Tomac went 1-1 at the Southwick National on Saturday. On Monday morning, Monster Energy caught up with the title contender. Equal parts stoked and relieved, Tomac hopes the triumph will serve as the catalyst to make a second-half charge at the AMA MX450 title he so dearly wants. Take it away Eli….


Eli, you guys had not raced at Southwick in a few years. Throughout the day the track was constantly changing and evolving and becoming rougher and rougher. Right from the onset, did you have a good read on everything?

Southwick’s always ever changing but it was cool to see that the practice was a little bit smooth and then by the end of the second practice it started coming around and drying out a little bit and getting a little bit softer and deeper. In the past this place has had a pretty hard base and I thought today there were some fun sand berms and some cool rollers. So for the most part I just really enjoyed this new direction, or the original direction of it. So I was all about it. You know in sand it’s all about momentum and not burying it somewhere and losing your speed. There were sections on the track where it was a little bit timing. You kind of had to wait for things to come to you. In other sections, like the mechanics area, you’re just holding it wide open and praying. That was a pretty gnarly section there as you kind of went over the top of that hill. So it turned into a nasty, nasty track but at the same time pretty fun.

With six runner-up finishes leading into Saturday in Massachusetts, we all know you were just aching to win one of these things. What fell into place at the Wick?

This place is so unique and I always enjoy riding in the sand. I came into the day with a positive mindset. I was going to go out there and have fun on my dirt bike. I don’t know what else to really say. Any time you go out and you get a win it’s good. But we want to keep doing it and try to keep doing better.

You know, how was the track different from when you guys last ran here in 2013?

I thought some of the hills flowed a little bit better with some of the rollers and some of the turns. They tightened up some sections. There were different corners. I enjoyed it. I say keep it that way. The sketchiest part is the start but it wasn’t too bad.

As far as the track, in your opinion, what were the major differences between the first and second moto?

Between moto one and moto two it was just bigger bumps. Some of the outsides were gone. The first moto there were still some dozer berms there. We could go out there and rail them. But it just keeps getting pushed out and a little blown out so you’ve got to start tightening up stuff and you’ll use a couple insides.

You had one small miscue today? What happened?

Yeah, I slid out. That corner had a little small inside rut and my front end just missed the start of it so it just pushed off the hard-pack base there and tipped over. I tried to pop up as fast as I can. At that point your heart rate kind of spikes and you’re kind of freaking out. So luckily I was able to get it back there.

Ken Roczen has been the man to beat in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. What did it require to take the measure of him in the two motos?

I was riding on the edge, you could say that. I think we both had some pretty good moments out there. It was pushing the edge the whole way. It was just a battle literally until the end. Some of the lappers kind of came into play again a little bit here and there. Everyone had to go through them. But sometimes they’re bad.

Right from the start of the season back at Hangtown in May, Roczen had raced off to win virtually every moto. Now, thanks to your outstanding outing at Southwick, you begin the second half of the season with a 1-1. Can you keep up this inertia and begin to oil down the German rider’s significant point lead?

You hope you can. We’re going to do our best to do it again. But we’ll keep improving and at least we made it to the top step today.

I wanted to ask you… Heading into this one sand race of ’16, did you actually practice on some sand track this past week? You were charging so hard through some of the nastiest circuit conditions we’ve seen in well over a year.

Honestly my track at home when we till it up and grip it up it gets really sandy. So it’s not too far off from my track at home.

How good is it to get out of that no man’s land you’ve been for a while? I think you’ve had some lonely races and to be able to get in there and dice like you guys did, how is that?

Yeah, it was fun. It was just a battle, like I said earlier. It was intense and we both fought all the way to the end. It was good, clean racing. It was a gnarly one.

Dumb question, but I’ll ask it anyway: How big was this win for your and the rest of the ’16 season?

It’s big. I think anybody can win so we’ll take it.