250 Words: Anaheim 2Sunday, February 5, 2012 | 5:20 PM
A little less than two years ago Eli Tomac turned pro and rode right into the record books by winning the first pro race he ever entered: the 2010 Hangtown Motocross Classic. Many of us in the motocross media immediately pegged him as the next big superstar of the sport. But then things went a little sideways for the GEICO Honda rider from Colorado. He struggled with his endurance following a near meltdown at the Freestone National, and he hasn't won a national since. He also had an up-and-down rookie SX tour in 2011, losing the West Region title to Broc Tickle after losing him in traffic at the end of the Las Vegas finale. Obviously we were a little premature in pinning such great expectations on him.
But now he's winning—streaking even. The quiet, polite and very fast teenager has taken hold of the West Region with a steady grip, reeling off three wins while his primary competition has floundered and made mistakes. Dean Wilson, Cole Seely, Marvin Musquin and the now-injured Tyla Rattray (not to forget the departed Zach Osborne) are all very fast, but they have all been unable to put together what it takes to win one of these events in the last three weeks: a good start and 15 laps without any mistakes.
Tomac took home his third straight win on Saturday in Anaheim.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Tomac, meanwhile, has laid down 45 straight laps of methodical brilliance, building a points lead of almost one full race on Wilson. With one race left in the West before these guys go on hiatus, it's easy to imagine that Tomac can pretty much put this thing away with another win in San Diego. If that happens, one might expect Wilson and friends to start focusing on the outdoors and a new championship chase, because this one is almost out of reach for anyone but Eli Tomac. In fact, it's his to lose, and having done that last year, it's doubtful he loses it again.
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