Since the Triple Crown was introduced to Monster Energy AMA Supercross prior to the start of the 2018 season, Eli Tomac has hands down been the best rider in the three-race format. Entering the first Triple Crown event of 2023, Tomac collected 10 total race wins and six total overall wins in the 11 previous renditions. The only other rider to win at least two Triple Crown overalls is Cooper Webb, who has two overall wins. Despite Tomac historically not being a great starter, he has been rather dominant in this format.
At the 2023 Anaheim 2 Supercross, Tomac finished third and second in the first two Triple Crown races of the night. He was entering the third and final race of the night in a tie with Ken Roczen for first overall with a low score of five apiece, as Roczen finished second then third. Then, in the final race of the night, we saw Tomac make an uncharacteristic mistake.
Tomac and Webb have split the last four Monster Energy Supercross Championships and sat 1-2 in points coming into this race. In this final race of Anaheim 2, Tomac was battling with Webb for third place behind Chase Sexton and Jason Anderson. The two most-used lines for the next rhythm section was to either double-triple-quad-double or to go triple on-triple off onto the next table-jump off-triple out. Webb was doing the first line while Tomac had been hitting the latter line.
On the fifth lap, when the two two-time 450SX champions were almost by side exiting the turn after the whoops section, Webb went with his line doubling out of the turn and Tomac tried to pull off his triple onto the tabletop line. Webb, though, made sure to stick way inside on the corner exit, so Tomac headed to the outside line on the track. Except when Tomac took off, he drifted left, directly onto a Tuff Block on top of the tabletop. Tomac’s head caught the ground first as he flipped head over heels and landed somewhat in a sitting position on another Tuff Block. Without that Tuff Block, it would have been a really hard landing. He got up, pushed his visor back up, grabbed his YZ450F that had gone flipping, and returned to the track. He got going again, but lost a ton of time, remounting in 14th.
“We put ourselves in a good spot going into the third main and then obviously made a huge mistake,” Tomac said in a post-race press release from Yamaha. “I went for a triple onto the tabletop and pulled a little bit to the outside when I went onto the ramp and jumped onto the tuff blocks. Honestly, my bike was just wiped away from me and I kind of folded over it. When I cartwheeled, thankfully my body landed on the tuff blocks again, so I came away unscathed. The bike was pretty beat up, but thankfully I was able to keep going and salvage that sixth overall. So, it was a bad scenario but also a good scenario because it was a Triple Crown, and the points damage wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. That’s the way I’m looking at it; to take it as a positive and learn from my mistake and come back next week.”
Sweet Candy Productions (@sweetcandy_productions on Instagram) caught another angle of Tomac’ crash. Check it out below.
Tomac had just put in a 58:250 for his fastest lap of the race so far but the lap where he crashed was a 1:20.916. He was not able to make up much ground though position wise, as he took the checkered flag 13th. The #1’s 3-2-13 gave him sixth overall on the night, scoring 17 points on the night.
Luckily for Tomac, he was not injured in the incident. And since the crash happened in the third Triple Crown race compared to a normal main event format, Tomac was able to leave the race with the points lead. He grabbed sixth overall in the Triple Crown was 17 points compared to a 13th in a regular format main event, which earns only 10 points. On the other hand, if race was a regular main event, maybe the crash does not even happen. But still, Tomac got lucky the crash did not result in injury and he was able to leave still with the red backgrounds on his YZ450F.
He posted the clip of his crash on Instagram with the following caption:
“Well I'll start off by saying I'm Ok and will be just fine for next weekend! So thankful to walk and ride away from this one unscathed. I jumped the triple "on" to the table top multiple times throughout the day from the second and third rut. With Cooper on the inside I think my instincts to not jump towards him caused my mistake to drift left off the ramp. Obviously lucky for this to happen in the triple crown format and salvage 6th overall on the night.”
“Overall, it was a really good day,” said Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 team manager Jeremy Coker. “It was a bummer what happened in the last race, but the guys rode well all day. These Triple Crowns aren’t easy. You have to put in three main events – three starts and put everything together. Eli was riding phenomenally. He just had to change his line in that last race and happened to land on a tuff block and had a really big crash. Luckily he was healthy and got up and salvaged some points. Although it wasn’t ideal, this was the perfect night for something like this to happen because it’s the Triple Crown, and we ended up getting sixth overall instead of 13th, and only lost two points. At the end of the day, he’s healthy, and we still have the points lead.”
This weekend will be the first East Coast race as the championship will take over NRG Stadium Saturday, February 4. Will Tomac rebound from this mistake and gain more points on the competition or will Sexton, Webb, Roczen, Anderson, or more gain on him? Tune in Saturday for the Houston Supercross.