We knew it was only a matter of time. For the past three seasons, no one in Monster Energy Supercross has enjoyed more victories than Eli Tomac, so when he took home a dominant win last Saturday night at Anaheim 2 it wasn’t much of a surprise. While the 2020 campaign got off to a bit of a slower start than he would have hoped, with finishes of 7th and 4th at the first two rounds, the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider was poised to break out at any moment. We got a glimpse of Tomac’s confidence in his heat race, and it carried over into the Main Event, where he was able to overcome an average start to track down the leader and run away from the field for the 28th victory of his career.
It was a statement win for Tomac, who is about as close to a championship-or-bust kind of situation in supercross as anyone could be. With 24 of his 28 wins coming since 2017, it’s shocking to think that the Colorado native is still in search of that elusive first title. While Tomac has put in all the work to trail only Chad Reed as the winningest active rider in the sport, he’s had to sit back and watch the past three championships go to Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson, and Cooper Webb.
For all of his successes, bad luck has also seemed to follow Tomac in the most inopportune ways. Whether it was a faulty front brake in 2017, a bum shoulder in 2018, or a single finish outside the top 10 in 2019, it has seemed each championship shortcoming can be tied to one specific moment. With the chip on his shoulder getting bigger with each passing season, Tomac’s patience will last for only so long.
Adding to his motivation coming into the 2020 season was the addition of high profile rookie Adam Cianciarulo. After missing out on back-to-back Monster Energy Cup victories to his teammate, Tomac was well aware of the talent alongside him under the Monster Energy Kawasaki tent. Traditionally, when two ultra-talented riders compete for the same team, it pushes the overall performance of the squad to a higher level. For proof, look no further than KTM a season ago. As a result, Tomac will need to be even better in 2020 if he indeed wants to break through and finally hoist the FIM World Championship trophy.
With Tomac’s realization of how big this season is for him, on top of the fact that he’s going to become a first-time father in May, what we saw inside Angel Stadium for Round 3 could be the beginning of a huge wave of momentum that has the potential to carry Tomac to a title. With 17 races in 18 weeks, there’s certainly more to lose than be gained on any given night, and that might explain the conservative results he posted through the first two rounds. The risk versus reward scenario should always be taken seriously throughout such a long, action-packed season, and by taking what he could get to start the season, Tomac is just five points from grabbing the red plate. It may have been a surprise to see him record a seventh inside the same stadium two weeks prior, but as they say, Monster Energy Supercross isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and now Tomac is right where he wants to be.