Eli Tomac interview – first win on Star Yamaha!

Eli Tomac got a huge first win on his Star Racing Yamaha to extend his points lead to six points but crucially, for the first time all season, Tomac was the fastest guy on the track and beat Sexton and Anderson straight up for the win – his two closest title contenders looking back at the first three rounds.

This is what a very happy Tomac had to say to the press after the race:

Eli, breaking a two-year winless streak for the 450 Yamaha in supercross. For you, how meaningful was that?
That doesn’t really matter to me. It’s just cool that moving to this new team, it was a little bit of a gamble and it totally paid off. There’s no questions now that we can get it done. So, we’ve just been improving every race. I’ve been getting better every main event. Working on weaknesses, and it’s paying off on the weekends. Just really, really good. Really great group of people behind me. We haven’t stopped getting better. Really cool for us to get this first win.

You had the points lead after round three, but did you still feel there was something left on the table? Were there things you did during the week? How big of a boost is it to get the win? Especially Sexton and Anderson have been going fast, and you were able to pull away tonight. So, is this a big step even compared to last week? 
It was a big step forward. Last week they were faster than me, hands down. I got passed by Jason and then Chase just rode away from me. I had to go to work again. Try to find weaknesses, be better, get better. Felt good tonight.

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Four rounds in and this points battle is still really tight. Did you guys expect it to be this tight, or did you guys expect anything different? Just tell me about these first four rounds. 
I’ve got to say the same thing as Jason. A lot of times, by round three or four you really start figuring out who the guys are, but really the first three were a whole toss-up this year. It’s by far the deepest field that we’ve had.

During the week the past two weeks, has there been work with the starts? You said you didn’t need to get the holeshot, you just needed to be up there. Two great starts in the heat races and the main event. Was there something different, or just worked on it this week? 
Yes. I have been working on starts. I’ve worked on them my whole life. I’ve been more consistent, period. I’ve finally been bringing my practice starts to the racetrack. That’s what I was doing wrong before. I somehow was a totally different guy come race night. Now I’m just doing the same thing I do at the practice track.

At the start of the season, the results maybe weren’t exactly what you wanted, but you seemed very calm. Was there any panic with you or the team, or did you always feel a win and the pace you had today would come?
I would say there was some panic after Anaheim 1. Of course, you come in there thinking you’ve got the best stuff and you’re feeling really great at the practice track. You normally do. It was kind of a big miss for me there. Starts were terrible. Riding wasn’t good in the main for the full distance. I was a little bit worried. Thankfully, got a good group of people around us and it made things better.

You’re coming up on 40 wins. Quite an accomplishment. You’ve obviously won a lot. What does celebrating this win look like for you? 
For me, it’s just like the new year. The first win of the year. I feel like those always feel really nice when you get it in the next season. Tonight was ice cream. You think you’re getting older and you’re like, “Man, am I going to be able to keep winning and keep doing this?” Hell yeah, it felt good.

What flavour?
Mint chocolate chip – that’s my flavour!

You’ve historically gotten better as the season goes on. The first couple rounds aren’t always the best, but you’re the points leader earlier than you’ve ever been. You got a win here. Is this actually the best you feel you’ve started a supercross championship? 
There were years where I was riding good, but I would crash. I was crashing. Anaheim 1 the one year, I was leading, wadded up, hurt my shoulder. The other years, making mistakes. So, I’ve felt good in the past, I was just kind of a mess. This year we’ve been solid so far, so it’s consistent.

Images: Yamaha

Jonathan McCready and Andy McKinstry look back at Anaheim two, another unfortunate foot injury for Jeffrey Herlings and the first pre-season internationals in Europe ahead of the world championship beginning in three weeks. Listen on iTunes here or get it on Spotify or YouTube below: