A sold-out crowd at Sam Boyd Stadium in hot and blustery Las Vegas, Nevada was the site of the 2016 Monster Energy Cup and it was there that Monster Energy Kawasaki pilot Eli Tomac won his third consecutive world class event in less than one month’s time. Straight of winning both the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina and Glen Helen Raceway near San Bernardino, California MXGP World Championship rounds in late September, Tomac, after a very bad start, frantically raced his way to a last gasp fourth place finish in the final moto to win the sixth annual version of the season-ending Monster Energy Cup classic After all was said and done, Tomac’s 2-1-4 moto scores were just enough to take the measure of Team KTM’s Ryan Dungey’s 3-2-3, and fellow KTM rider Marvin Musquin’s 4-3-2 moto scores. .
“Right off the start of that third and final moto, I got knocked around and said to myself, ‘You gotta be kidding me!’ Going into that first turn there was some bumping and bar-banging, and at that point I was already pretty buried,” explained a very happy – and wealthier - Tomac afterwards. “Going into the big rhythm section I think Chad Reed was down in there and I was thinking about where Ryan Dungey and even Marvin Musquin were because I was so buried way back in the pack. I never saw Ryan so I was like, ‘I think I have to worry about Marvin at this point.’ Then I looked up and Ryan was right there! I was like, Shoot, I might blow this right now! But luckily we were able to get up to him and battle. Those last two laps were pretty nerve wracking with the Joker Lane and getting pretty close to Marvin coming out of it. With Ryan passing me back, it was intense. It was a pretty typical Monster Energy Cup, filled with excitement. In the third moto especially, I knew I was in a great spot to win, but I had to really keep track of my competitors. On the last couple laps I had to put my head down and go to battle. I made it up to where I needed to be, got the job done and took the win!”
All things considered, it was a wild night for Tomac in Vegas which started with an opening moto second place finish behind the fleeting Honda of Ken Roczen. “That was a struggle for me in the first moto. I was really battling with some things out there. I felt like a total dork out there at times. At least later on I cleaned it up a little bit.”
At the start of the second moto. Tomac and his Kawasaki KX450F led the field down from the top of the stadium and into Turn 1, but crossed the line in third. Tomac wasted no time pushing his way into second and was focused on the leader Roczen. With four laps to go, Tomac was able to capitalize on a huge mistake by Roczen and take over first place. Tomac then took care of his once per race obligation to the Joker Lane with two laps to go and cruised home to a win in the second Main Event.
The start of the third and final moto saw Tomac’s lowest score put him in a prime position to claim the overall, until he rounded the first turn in 11th. By the start of the second lap, Tomac had moved into 10th and continued to focus on moving to the front. One lap later he had raced up into seventh and quickly followed that up with a pass for sixth. At the halfway mark, Tomac continued to battle for position, racing the No. 3 KX450F into the top five and back into the contention for the Monster Energy Cup crown. With four laps remaining Tomac made the pass for fourth and immediately followed it up with a pass for third. On the penultimate lap Tomac moved into the lead but had not yet taken the Joker Lane. On the final lap of the race he entered the Joker Lane and upon exit was back into a heated battle for second. The battle relegated Tomac to fourth, which would be good enough to take the 2016 Monster Energy Cup championship.
Now Tomac will retreat home to Colorado for a quick break before getting his nose right back down to the grindstone as preparations for the rapidly approaching 2017 Monster Energy Supercross season.
“Everyone thinks I’m buying guns and going hunting,” laughed Tomac at the conclusion of the Monster Energy Cup press conference. “I probably will. We’ll take a little time off here, but shoot, before you know it you’re back into the grind for Anaheim 1.”