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Monday Conversation: Eli Tomac

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Colorado’s Eli Tomac, 16, comes from good stock. His dad John is one of the greatest American mountain bike racers ever, and now Eli is poised to become a professional athlete, too. He dominated his Schoolboy and B class at the Air Nautique/AMA Amateur Nationals presented by Amsoil at Loretta Lynn Ranch. He could make the jump straight to pro like his teammate Justin Barcia did this year, but Eli’s not sure yet. While Barcia is a racing, training and scrubbing machine, Tomac is smooth, calculated and patient. Let’s get to know him a little better.

  • Eli Tomac got perfect scores in Tennesee.
  • Tomac has a great personal trainer in his father, John.
Racer X: Did you come here expecting to do this well?
Eli Tomac: I knew I had a pretty good chance, my dad and I did a lot of training for the event. So once I got to Ponca, we had a chance to test my speed. I had some tough competition there, like Justin Bogle. I ended up winning two classes there, but then I got beat in my other class, so I knew I had to put more work into it here. So that’s what I did. I thought about my technique, and I nailed all my corners right. So it seemed like my technique and everything really worked here.

Your dad was a professional mountain biking champion, one of the greatest of all time, really. Then he came here to race motocross and even ended up winning a Loretta’s title. What kind of influence does he have on your career?
Well, as far as training, he knows what to do right and what you can do that’s wrong. So he knows the body and how to train.

And I’ve heard you have a program in place that’s designed to not have you get burned out from riding all the time?
Well that’s exactly what we do. Now that I’m on big bikes, we have started ramping up our program and riding more. But on minicycles, we definitely took it easy (note: Tomac collected six minicycle championships at the Ranch, not bad for taking it easy.) Now we’re training and riding more, but even now, after this I’m taking a month off and going elk hunting and having a normal life.

So after a month, how badly do you want to go riding?
[Laughs]Well, you train and prepare so hard for this race that at first, when you take a break you’re like, “Yeah okay, let’s do something else for fun.” But when you do come back after a few weeks, that’s when it starts to be more fun again.

Your team has brought Trey Canard, Blake Wharton and Justin Barcia through. Is that your plan?
Definitely. I already have a deal signed with the pro team for two years, with GEICO Powersports Honda. So that’s good. I may start with them as early as Glen Helen next year.

  • Eli's not sure yet if he'll go pro at Glen Helen next year, or stick around the amateur scene for another season
Well I’ve heard both sides, you are either going to go straight from B to pro and race the opener next May, like Barcia did, or you’re going to hang around in the amateurs for awhile. How will you make that decision?
Well, a good comparison is to see who has the lap times here. If you’re in the B class and you’re putting in lap times as fast as the pros, the A riders, than you’re definitely ready. But we’ll just have to see how it goes. We’ll race the Mini O’s in November and see what happens from there.

Looking forward to riding the new 2010 CRF250R there?
Oh yeah. Can’t wait to get that fuel injected bike and have some fun.

Finally, what about supercross?
We have a little track at our house, it’s kind of like a supercross and Arenacross track combined, and I ride that a lot in the fall, when I’m taking a break from racing motocross. Yeah, I definitely know what’s going on there.

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