ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The highly anticipated 450 return of GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac will take place this weekend at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in the fifth round of Monster Energy Supercross.
After winning the 250 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross title last summer, Tomac was expected to make an immediate impact in the sport's premier class, but an odd fall after a collision with another rider, which occurred during the heat race for the first Anaheim race on Jan. 4, resulted in a contused left shoulder that weakened Tomac's arm enough that he was unable to ride in the first four races of the season.
"It's been a long month but I'm finally ready to go," Tomac said. "Not exactly the way we wanted to start our 450 career, but I plan on being out here for a long time and winning a lot of races for GEICO Honda, so in the long run I think we did what was best.
"It was a weird deal because I went to a few different specialists and there was nothing structurally wrong with my arm or my shoulder, but at the same time it was really weak while it was healing. I just couldn't hold onto the bike well enough to race at this level."
Immediately after the injury, Tomac made a hard push to return to action as soon as possible but it just wasn't meant to be.
"We tried every kind of therapy and rest cycles we could," Tomac said. "The thought was that if I could ride in Phoenix or A2 and get any kind of result, I'd at least earn enough points to stay in the championship picture, but I just couldn't do it. After that we just decided to let it heal all the way, get in some really good training and riding, and come back when I was 100 percent. That's where we're at now."
With the pressure of the title chase in the 17-race series effectively eliminated, Tomac can now ride with a bit of a carefree attitude, which the young pro from Cortez, Colorado., says could ultimately be of great benefit.
"No one is even thinking of us at this point, so maybe we can get out there and sneak up on some guys," Tomac said. "It would be great to get in some good rides and try to put this GEICO Honda up on the podium. I'd love to win some races, for sure. I know we have everything we need to be successful, and if we can stay healthy I like our chances."
This Saturday's race will be shown live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 7 p.m., Pacific.