Monday Conversation:  Eli Tomac

Monday Conversation: Eli Tomac

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GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac has entered his home-state race in Colorado four times, but didn’t generate a win until this year. He came close to getting Ken Roczen for the first moto win, taking a close second, and then blew everyone away in moto two. He chatted about it post-race.

Racer X: With a 2-1 you get the monkey off your back. You win your home state race. That’s got to feel good.
Eli Tomac: It feels so good. I feel like I kind of let Colorado down the past few years. Actually I haven’t been close to leading races here at all. So it finally happened here.

We’re all like, “This is your hometown race.” But you’re definitely not from Lakewood. So how close are you and how often do you ride here?
The only time I’ve come up here in amateur days was maybe for a Loretta’s qualifier or regional or something if they had one. It was like once a year, maybe. And it’s like a seven and a half hour drive so we actually flew up here. So it’s not like a local race

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Ken Roczen (94) got the best of Tomac (17) in the first moto. Tomac came back for a commanding moto two win giving him the overall.
Simon Cudby photo

What was different in that second moto? You were just gone in that one.
I guess it’s just the start. Getting out to the lead early. I thought that at the end of the first moto I had some really good lines, got the flow going. In that first moto I tried to make something happen there at the end but kind of just lost my rear wheel when I was behind Ken. So that was a little bit a bummer but we still stayed in second.

Ken was obviously really strong last week. Obviously you were much improved this week. Was it your bike? Was it you? Do you know what was different? You were obviously much faster this time.
I don’t know. It’s just like some days you click, some days you wake up on the right side of the bed, I guess. My bike got a little bit better. We did a little exhaust stuff here and there. Hangtown, it’s the first race of the year. You got a little bit of jitters here and there. A podium there for me, I was really happy.

Late in the second moto your teammate was coming into a battle and took second, took some points away from Kenny. Was that cool?
That was super cool. I actually saw on the track that they were battling, there was a jump and I was able to look over every lap and see them. It was Kenny and Zach there. I saw it the whole time. So I was like, yeah, he might get him. So I’m, happy to get the points. Good for Zach, he rode well.

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Tomac's (near) teammate, Zach Osborne (rear), secured second in the second moto, taking points away from Roczen.
Simon Cudby photo

Do you feel that being from Colorado and knowing how to handle the altitude and knowing how your bike handles the altitude that gives you an advantage as a racer?
I think practicing at home, you’re used to that. That bogged down feeling, where the bike is going to feel slow. We even did some starts at home with different gearing and got our gearing figured out early. I used second gear with starts all day. Most, I think, were actually in first here. So it was a little bit of an advantage for me. It was a short intermission, too, so some of the guys could have been feeling it, and I could have been a little bit better [because of that].

I think next week could be the first time we’ve had some super muggy conditions. Probably a lot hotter. It’s been pretty kind of us so far. Preparation-wise have you changed anything to get ready for the humidity and heat?
Not switching a whole lot. If it’s humid, it’s humid; just kind of have to deal with it. Last year I stayed home in Colorado the whole time and it was actually my best year in the heat. So I think its just a little bit of experience of getting older and getting stronger.

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