INTERVIEW: Eli Tomac on his Yamaha move

On Tuesday, October 5, 2021, two important events happened in the world of Monster Energy Supercross.

First off, tickets went on sale for the Angel Stadium round of the Monster Energy Supercross 2022 series. Scheduled for Saturday night of January 8, 2022, supercross and motocross fans around the world are already having their eyes set. at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. Second, Eli Tomac, three-time AMA Pro Motocross 450MX champion and 2020 Monster Energy Supercross series champion, took an unexpected step from longtime employer Monster Energy Kawasaki to the Monster Energy Star Yamaha 450 team. a runner who first entered the professional ranks in 2010, the movement runs deep. Currently the most decorated and successful rider in American motocross and supercross, the fact that veteran Tomac has taken such a big turn in changing his racing schedule so late in his career has created a huge buzz in the sport and in sent more than a few. Die-hard fans of and Ticketmaster looking for tickets dated January 8, 2022.

“I always want to run after the green flags and the checkered flags and be on the start line,” Tomac told the racing world this week. “I still like to do it, so that’s it: I still like to do it. I always like to try to win races and try to be the best. So that’s why I’m still here. “ reunited with Tomac the same day in Cortez, Colorado, where he and 10 of his new team were in attendance for the very first day of testing the Monster Energy Star Yamaha YZ450F racing bike.

Q: You are now part of an entirely new team to you and you own a race bike made by a manufacturer that you have never raced for. It won’t just be you who ride, but all the power of Yamaha, right?

ELI TOMAC: Yes. And it’s a full team effort and it’s a great crew. It’s very similar to what you just said. There are at least eight guys who come to a race weekend, and then there are even a few other guys who also work in the shop. There are a lot of people riding with you there. Not only is the whole business rolling with you, but there are a lot of crew guys out there and all behind the effort.

Q: And when that door falls, it’s all up to you. You represent a serious running effort.

And yeah. It’s cool, though, and it makes the success all the sweeter because you have days like that even today, you know? We came here today, and we went, and tweaked and found the right things, and it’s just satisfying when you can go get the results for them. It’s really cool to have that feeling.

Q: Being a world class supercross racer is definitely a tough way to make a living. It’s nothing but your 10 fingers and 10 toes that keep you on the bike. Then you have to jump jumps the size of small office towers and land in a 10 inch rut. And all of this while 19 other guys on 450cc motocross bikes want nothing more than to beat you. You have to be specific, huh?

ET: Yeah, and it’s precision sport, you know? It’s precision in a different way. Road racing uses a lot of the same lines, and it’s also really gnarly precision. For motocross you have to train your brain to time. The same goes for the supercross. Again, you have to train your brain to time. You have to time everything how far you have to jump and how much throttle you have to give the bike. Your depth perception should also be at its best. Like you said, if you miss a jump with one foot, you know that a fall has serious consequences.

Q: So today is really your first day with the Monster Energy Star Yamaha team?

ET: Yeah, we’re on day one with the Star Yamaha team and we’re breaking it down. We are starting motocross testing right now. We’re trying to get a good foundation, and that gives you a little more leeway in determining where we want to go to get started on a motocross track. We are not totally thrown into the fire. We started off with a few bikes and maybe at the end of the day tomorrow I think we’re going to be on a supercross track so far so good. We love what we’re doing right now as a whole, and we’re just getting started. It’s refreshing and it’s a good group of young people that I work with, and we’re all super motivated.

Q: Sometimes change can be good.

ET: It’s possible. The new change certainly makes it easier to get up in the morning and get to work. This is something I have been looking forward to. I think they can give me, as a rider, a really competitive package in both supercross and motocross. Dylan Ferrandis has had some great success in motocross this year so I’m looking at that and it gives me confidence for what we have to come.

Q: After racing on factory Kawasaki motorcycles for over a decade, do you have a good idea of ​​the Yamaha YZ450F?

ET: I do. From what was first delivered to me, I think we’re going to be in good shape to be where we want to be.

Q: Over the past few months, you’ve talked about getting older, wiser, and more mature about running and your approach.

ET: That’s what happens, you’re getting older and having fun treating things differently. I mean, when I’m at the start line, it’s more of a calm feeling now. You’re good to go and chasing the checkered flag, but it’s a different calm, and I just think it’s age. Over the years you find out what works for you and what doesn’t for you, so I think that’s part of the appeasement as well. I’m not sure if there is a hotline you can refer to in our sport, but I’m getting older and feeling like I can be competitive until I’m 30 in this sport. I’m 28 in November.

Q: The 2022 Angel Stadium Supercross season opener is now about three months away. What’s the plan of attack for you and the team for October, November and December?

ET: The plan of attack starts here in Colorado, and then we go to Florida and hang out there because this team is based just north of Tallahassee, Florida and right there with Ricky Carmichael’s old farm. This is our new home port, so a lot of testing will be done in Florida. In December, we will be driving in California. We’re all over the place, which is great for testing, riding and being on different tracks. Like I said, we’re going to be all over the place right now.

Q: It’ll be great to see everyone back at Angel Stadium this second Saturday in January, won’t it?

ET: I can’t wait. I mean, we missed Anaheim’s opener last year. Anaheim is kind of like the Daytona 500 to us, you know? You kind of get that feeling in Anaheim I, and Anaheim is definitely creating that buzz. Can’t wait for Anaheim I.

Q: Can you win the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Series Championship?

ET: Yes, we can. It is entirely doable. I wouldn’t have signed a new contract if I didn’t think I could do it, and we can do it as a team. This is the only thing we are aiming for.

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