The 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, is now just 18 days away! The 50th Annual Hangtown Classic, just outside of Sacramento, California, will go off the starting gate on May 19.
Five years ago, on the eve of the 2013 outdoor season, the editors and contributors of Racer X Online did countdown of the 30 Greatest AMA Motocrossers of all time, ranking the best riders on the AMA Motocross circuit. You can check out that list right here.
But now we’re five years past that list, and in anticipation of a brand-new season of racing, we decided to revisit and update that list, adding in the results and championships accumulated in the past five years to our existing results, which go back to 1972. Our rankings include a mix of championships, race wins, and podiums; a rider's efficiency and longevity; the competition they raced against; and, of course, pure talent and speed. Remember, these rankings are based on the AMA Motocross Nationals—international events like the Motocross of Nations and Grand Prix events here and abroad will not be factored into our tally.
Eli Tomac was destined to be on this list from the very day his professional motocross career began. Tomac is the one and only AMA Pro Motocross racer to win his first pro race. He did it on May 22, 2010, when he won the Hangtown National in the 250 Class. That, of course, led to heavy expectations on the then-17-year-old native of Cortez, Colorado. He had already been on everyone’s radar as top young minicycle and amateur prospect growing up on Suzukis, only to be scooped up by Honda just before his final year as an amateur.
Tomac has racing in his blood. His parents John and Cathy were both professional mountain bike racers, and his father is in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Both have had a hand in helping shape him as both an athlete and a person, and though John Tomac only raced motocross as a hobby, he’s developed the insight of a lifelong enthusiast.
Even though Eli had success in his very first race, he was not able to win his second race for two years. He finally broke through for his first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in the 250 Class in 2013. By that point, he had earned himself 12 wins in the 250 Class.
Tomac moved up to the 450 in 2014 and appeared to be in dominant form to start the 2015 season aboard a Honda CRF450. But after easily winning the first five motos of the series that summer, he crashed heavily in Lakewood, Colorado, injuring both shoulders and putting him on the sideline for months.
When he returned in 2016, Tomac was aboard a Monster Energy Kawasaki. The change of brands and race teams seemed to affect him throughout the season, but by 2017, he was ready to ascend to the top of the American motocross ranks. He won four AMA 450 Nationals on his way to the 2017 Lucas Oil 450 Pro Motocross Championship, which means he will ride into 2018 with 21 career outdoor wins between the two classes.
Eli Tomac is now in the prime of his career and will certainly rise on this list to the wins and titles long expected of him. Having come off another season of Monster Energy AMA Supercross where he once again had the most wins but not the title, he will certainly have the motivation to defend his #1 plate in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross.