By Jordan Powell
It would be easy to say that the outdoor season hasn’t gone quite as planned for the young Geico Honda rider, Eli Tomac. After a strong start at Hangtown, starts have been crippling his chances of a podium, since the 250 class has a giant list of strong riders. However, Tomac turned things around at Thunder Valley when his high intensity motos allowed him to post a 3-3 finish. The next weekend, two DNFs at Red Bud, the result of a practice crash, set him back in points. Nevertheless, Eli is stronger than ever, and he remains positive for the second half of the Nationals.
What’s up, Eli? How has the weekend off been for you?
Well, I was obviously bummed that I didn’t get to race Red Bud, but I’ve been spending some time out here in Michigan for a Larocco boot camp. Actually, the whole team is up here. He’s just been putting us to work.
Now, what is this boot camp? What does he have you guys do?
He has us running around in the sand dunes. Like, these are gnarly runs! I don’t know. He’s basically just putting us to work. Obviously I have trained a lot before, but he has definitely taken it up a notch.
Is Mike Larocco leading this whole thing?
Yeah, we’re up at his farm in Michigan and he’s in charge of everything up here.
Do you feel like you’re in the Marines [laughs]?
Pretty much! He definitely lives up to his nickname “The Rock.”
Going back to Red Bud, what exactly happened during the crash?
I was going up to “Larocco’s Leap” and I overshot the double a little bit. When I did that, the landing was a little soft, and I got massive headshake from it. That instantly ripped my feet off of my pegs and I did a huge no footer. It was pretty spectacular [laughs]. I was actually okay from that crash, but [Travis] Baker came over the landing and hit me. That’s what really jacked me up. Other than that, I was fine.
Was it the AMA that told you that you couldn’t race, or was it something that you decided yourself?
Well, Doc Bodnar thought I might have jacked up my lung a little bit, so he wanted me to go get it checked out. I actually could have raced because I felt fine, but when I got back to the track for the second moto someone had filled my gate, and I got kind of jacked for that moto.
Obviously you took a pretty big hit with points. Now that we’re halfway through the season, do you still think you have a chance at winning the championship, or do you now have a different game plan?
I mean, we’re only halfway, so I guess everything can turn back around. I’m not really out of it just yet, but I do have to start winning some races.
What do you think has been the hardest thing for you in the outdoors?
I’ve actually been struggling with my starts. I got a holeshot at Hangtown, but I’ve seemed to go downhill from there. I actually started to get things going again in Colorado where I went 3-3 at Thunder Valley, but then that crash at Red Bud set me back. Other than that, I just need to up my intensity during my motos.
So, you’ve spent a few weeks in Texas and then you spent a week in Michigan. Are you going back home to Colorado after this?
Yep! It seems like we’ve been on the road for a long time now, and it will be nice to finally be back home.