The Conversation: 450 Podium

July 1, 2017 6:10pm | by:

Racer X: Eli Tomac, this is the type of race where you just silence everyone and say, this is what I’m bringing to the table? Tell us a bit about your day.
Eli Tomac: If we’re silencing people there was only one guy talking, really. It was a good day for us. It was something we were looking for, just a mistake-free day. Had to work for it. We were a little bit behind on the start there. The second moto it was a better start, but ended up being on the outside in the second turn there. Got passed by a few guys and had to work our way up. It was our first win here, so that was pretty cool. The fans are awesome here. Surprisingly going into the race, this track raced pretty one-lined even though it’s so wide. I thought for how wide of a track it was, it was one of the tracks that was kind of one fast line. A little bit tough to get by guys, but no excuses. All around a good day.

Jason, you’ve had a pretty unique afternoon yourself. Take us through a bit of that.
Jason Anderson: Yeah. The first start, all I saw was bikes flipping and I got hit by someone and fell down. I got back up and fell again by myself in the second corner. Then made my way up. I was able to make my way up to fourth and it wasn’t bad. Kind of had to work pretty hard to catch and pass all those guys. In the second moto, I started up front and I was in that battle between me, [Justin] Barcia and Eli. Eli got the best of us again that second moto. I feel like I stayed closer and was a little bit better this weekend. I just need to keep working and try and just be better next weekend.

Marvin, there’s been a bunch of chatter about your injury. How’s it been? Obviously, you’re getting stronger and stronger. You put it on third today.
Marvin Musquin: For sure. It’s a big difference. Obviously, this week at practice, so the speed was getting better and the confidence is back. It’s crazy how much you can lose with a little injury like that, lose anything—lose speed, confidence, and all that. It was a difficult time, but I feel like I’m going over that and getting better. It’s good to first of all in practice put in some good laps and being able to turn left again, because of the knee. I was just not comfortable on the left side. Just basically pulling the leg up and doing stuff like that. It was tough at the beginning. It’s night and day right now. So, I’m really happy about that. Big improvement. It was good to do a podium here at RedBud. We enjoyed the weekend so much. It’s good also for all of us at the team.

Andrew Fredrickson

In the first moto, you had a little bit of an upset stomach maybe. What’d you do to kind of quell that?
Musquin: I don’t know. I don’t think I did anything special with food or anything. My stomach was killing me and cramping and all that. It got better for the second moto so that was better. Second moto I just couldn’t get going. I was behind Josh Grant and Weston Peick and they were actually going good. I needed to get around those guys because up front Eli and Jason was up there, but they were not going anywhere. They were not too far. But I lose a little bit of time, too much to get a chance to battle at least with Jason. Overall, it’s a good day. To get third is good for the confidence and we move forward.

Eli, in moto two it seems like you started off and Barcia was up front and Jason was there in second. It seemed like you were a little bit more patient in that second moto to get in the gates with those guys. Was it a little bit of strategy to kind of wait and see how it played out?
Tomac: Yeah. I just didn’t want to rush anything. I knew the pace was already pretty fast and pretty gnarly. It wasn’t easy to push it out of the comfort zone. There was a lot of roost and I was pulling tear-offs a lot. Kind of backed off a little bit and then just slowly crept my way back up to them.

You and Blake [Baggett] got side by side there and he ended up on the ground. Did you know that he had gone down early in that second moto?
Tomac: Yeah, I saw that early.

Jason, we barely saw you on TV in the first moto. Just explain how you were able to work your way up. I guess you were probably in the 30s at one point. How’d you make all those passes?
Anderson: To be honest, I feel that pileup, a lot of good guys went down. I was laying on the ground with [Broc] Tickle, Josh [Grant], Cooper [Webb], [Weston] Peick. Then I came around and there was Trey [Canard] with Marty [Martin Davalos]. Not saying that I had to go through slow guys, it was just in the first lap I passed 10 dudes in the first two corners just because they were all laying down. I had a good moto. I started coming through the pack and picking guys off. Just had to push all my way through and try and get those guys. I feel for us we’re going to have motos like that where we have little issues at the beginning of the race. We just got to overcome it to stay in the points battle.

For you and for Eli, I think you guys have raced each other your whole lives. Is it weird to be out here at this level and still being the guys trying to beat each other when you probably did it even when you were kids?
Anderson: Yeah, I think it’s pretty cool. We grew up really close together and we’ve been racing each other since we were eight years old. It’s pretty cool because where we grew up, racing wasn’t that good or anything. It wasn’t California or anything. I think it’s cool. We’ve had a good time and made it up to racing each other still to this day.

Tomac: Yeah, it’s kind of crazy sitting here. We’re sitting on top of the 450 podium and we came from the southwest part of the country. I remember racing at the Loretta Lynn qualifiers at Moriarty and me and Jason battling. It’s pretty cool that we were able to do it from the small-town scene.

Andrew Fredrickson

Could you describe the beginning of the second moto? Barcia got in there and Baggett was battling Jason. What was the opening lap of that second moto like?
Anderson: Yeah. Barcia, he’s going fast and Blake’s obviously going fast too. The first laps are kind of hard because we’re just crisscrossing and just trying to make those first lap moves. You’re trying to get out front and get some clear track. It’s kind of chaos and you want to be reserved, but at the same time the first moment you kind of chill out on the first lap you’ve got some people behind you that are going for it too. It’s kind of tough. You just want to maintain for the most part and hopefully you’re maintaining up front.

Eli, at the end of that first moto Baggett started to catch you a little bit. It looks like you had two or three laps off of your normal pace. Was that you running into lappers or miss-managing the race? You dropped your fastest lap time on the last lap, so you clearly weren’t tired. What happened there?
Tomac: It was a combination of a couple things. One was lappers and then I made a mistake on the second to last lap before that table top. I stepped out and he probably gained easily a second right here. He was right on me. It got close at the end but we were able to hang onto it and that’s what matters.

Jason, you’ve been a podium contender in the 450 class. It seems like this year you’ve stepped it up more, you’ve stepped to the next level. Is that true? Do you feel like you’ve really made some in roads this year?
Anderson: For sure, I feel like I’m better this year. I feel like I’ve progressively gotten better every year. I’m getting closer to being one of the guys and being able to battle for championships. For me this year the only race I was off the podium so far this outdoor season has been round one whenever I had a couple of mess-ups and stuff like that. I feel like I’ve been pretty consistent so far, but I still feel like I have another step to go to really be threatening. I need to start winning some motos and stuff like that. I’ve taken a step in the right direction, but I feel like I need more. I have one more step to go, or a couple more. We’re always learning. Everyone’s getting faster. We’re just trying our butts off to make it interesting.

Marvin, obviously you have a lot of fitness working with Aldon Baker. You’ve been doing very well in the outdoor series. How does it affect you maybe mentally? You had the injury and then you had the bike issue at Muddy Creek. How do you get past that?
Musquin: When you have good people around you, you have a good trainer, you put in the work and that’s basically all you have to do. It is difficult. It’s so awesome when you’re doing great, but when you don’t do good it’s tough mentally. You’ve got to look at it in a positive way, at the positive things. Life’s good even though there’s tough moments. You’ve just got to do your best. A weekend like that, to get back on the podium, it just makes me happy. Now we move forward. That injury is on my back now, so it’s good.

This looked like a little less deeply rutted RedBud than we’ve seen in the past. Did it seem like there was a little bit different track this weekend?
Anderson: I feel like it was still pretty bumpy, maybe a little less rutty. But I feel like in years past we’ve had also a lot more rain. So, it’s kind of been that more spongey type deal. Sometimes when we don’t get that much rain it’s hard to get the moisture that deep. I feel like it was still rough. It was bumpy. I feel like maybe last weekend was smooth, but I still feel like that was a good racetrack. This weekend it was rougher and I feel like it was good. It was good for racing. We were able to make passes and battle. So, I think it was good.

Marvin and Jason, I saw on Instagram [Ryan] Dungey was out at the track riding with you guys this week. Does that help you at all getting back into a more normal program like you had for the last year? Or is he just like old and slow and retried now?
Anderson: Honestly, he came out and rode and you would think he’s retired and he would come out and have fun or whatever. He’s still thinking about bike setup, all this stuff. That’s just the way he is. It was cool to see him out, but it’s cool for him to still come hang out with us and everything like that. He’s a good dude. It was cool to have him out and ride with us. He’s there. He still goes on the road rides with us sometimes whenever he wants to, but he deserves that.

Andrew Fredrickson

Marvin, end of the season will you get your knee operated on?
Musquin: We’ll see. Right now, there’s nothing to do. I’m feeling good. So, we move forward and we keep going and keep training hard.

Eli, are you ready for Southwick? Is that a place that favors your abilities?
Tomac: I’ve always had good success in the past. I love the sand when we can get it. So, heck yeah, I’m excited.

Jason, what’s your plans this week? Is it a rehab week or is it a move forward week?
Anderson: Same stuff. I think we might not ride at our track. I think we might ride some sand tracks. That’s about it. Then we do it out of the back of Aldon’s van and just run it.