PHOTOS | Emery
It has been a few weeks since we last heard from Eli Tomac. Not like that is unusual, seeing how the Monster Energy Kawasaki racer prefers to keep to himself in Colorado for most of the year, but there has been virtually no news from his camp since the first moto crash at the 2017 Monster Energy Cup in October. With his preseason prep at his home facility complete, he’s relocated to Southern California to finalize his settings for 2018 with the team. On Wednesday night at a Kawasaki corporate function, we spent a few minutes chatting with ET3 about the upcoming season, his new training partner, and what was learned from last year’s missed title.
You’ve been off the radar since the Monster Energy Cup, but understandably so because that’s what you usually do. Can you give us a rundown of the last few weeks?
November was just at home doing the normal training to build the base up. Thankfully I have been healthy for quite a long while now, so we have a good base. This year it’s pretty much the same for us with the motorcycle, which is actually a good thing. I had a really good base last year and we’re not doing a lot differently than we did last year. I’m all good right now.
You were fine after the crash at the Monster Energy Cup, right?
I did bang my head a little bit and that’s why I didn’t line up to block Marvin from getting a million bucks [Laughs]. Thankfully I was okay because that was a good tumble and I didn’t hurt my legs or wrists. I dinged my head, so I thought there was no way that it was worth it.
The thing about staying in Colorado that most people don’t understand is that where you are at, on the west side of the mountains, isn’t cold.
We can normally ride all the way up to December 1st, that’s normally my deadline and then I come to California. This year we had awesome weather and it was close to 60 degrees when I left. When people think of Colorado they think of snow anytime after October, but in Cortez, that’s not the case. I’ll go back in the middle of February.
One thing that was different and that not many people knew about was that Jeremy Martin trained with you. How was it to have someone to work with? Because that’s pretty rare for you, except for Zach Osborne one year.
It’s been really nice to have Jeremy at our place. That dude can really push, I’ll tell you that, whether it’s on or off of the motorcycle. I think that has even helped my game. That’s what everyone says when they ride with another guy, that it helps each guy push, and that’s exactly what it did. In the days that I’ve ridden by myself now, it kind of sucked. It was good and we rode together for a solid month.
How did that come about? You have very similar personalities, two guys that aren’t afraid to put in work and keep to themselves, but there are zero relationships between any brand that would put you together.
Let’s just say it’s because I was on GEICO before [Laughs]. The relationship is there and that’s how they contact happened.
Going into the next few weeks you will have a final push, but like you said, the bike is the same. So what will you do to get ready mentally?
I just like to stay low, like you said. I don’t like to get spun up with social media stuff.
You’re not one to bang your chest…
No. And as I’ve grown older, I don’t let those things bug me. I do my thing and know what I have to bring. I don’t come in with too big of a head, but with that said, we were one of the best last year and cranked out some serious wins. I’m all healthy right now and excited for the new season.
By all measurement, last year was very good. Yeah, it sucks to have what happened at the end of the championship, but as a racer, you must have learned a lot as a racer that will help you in the future.
Like you said, last year was as good as it could have gone without winning a championship. That totally sucked, but it was a massive improvement as a racer and I’ve learned things about the motorcycle that will work for us. I couldn’t have asked for anything more last year, other than the championship. That was a tough one to swallow.
You turned that into motivation for the outdoors and made a mark on the series as soon as the gate dropped.
In the outdoors the motivation was massive. I had plenty of fire in my gut. We were actually less dominant but more consistent, never had a big goose egg like we did in Supercross from the big mistakes. And that was something I learned from the Supercross season.
In 2018 there are big changes with the three rounds that have a different format and a different point structure. Did you put any thought into how the points would have helped you last year or is it just something in the past?
That’s the past, I had to get over it. That being said, if you were in my situation last year and that happens again this year, it’s cool because it doesn’t ding you as hard for a bad night.
With the races that have a triple-header format, how do you plan for those?
You treat every race like it’s the main event and just go for it.
Do you prep for them differently, by doing more sprint practice motos?
We’ve mixed that into the program so we know what to expect. As long as they don’t do more than three of those a year it will be fine, it’ll spice up things a bit.