250 Words: All About EliWednesday, January 23, 2013 | 10:40 AM
Three weeks ago, fans all over the world were anticipating an epic battle for the 250SX West Region, with Ken Roczen, Blake Baggett, Zach Osborne, Martin Davalos, Tyla Rattray, Ryan Sipes, Jason Anderson, Kyle Cunningham, Cole Seely, Malcolm Stewart, Christian Craig, and more all gunning for the #1 plate on the front of Eli Tomac's GEICO Honda. Through the usual attrition—crashes, injuries, pile-ups, etc.—that field of true contenders has narrowed quickly at the series’ one-third mark. In fact, only the Red Bull KTM of Roczen and the Lucas Oil/TLD Honda of Seely appear to have the outright speed to beat the better-than-ever Tomac, who seems to have come into his own as a supercross rider. On the night the sun set on Kevin Windham's career, Tomac showed us again that he might be the next big star in this sport.
What Eli is doing right now is sticking to a career plan that his parents laid out for him as he was growing into a top prospect as an 85cc racer. They picked the team that was the best fit for him, moving from Suzuki to Factory Connection Honda in order to grow directly into the spot he's in right now. There have been bumps along the way, like overheating in Texas just one week after winning the Hangtown National (his first race as a pro) and his coming up short of the 2011 West Region Lites SX title in the stretch run. Now ET is humming on all cylinders, and he rides with a business-like attitude that already has folks recalling a rising Jeff Stanton.
Tomac has been unstoppable through three rounds of the Monster Energy Supercross West Region.
Simon Cudby photo
Of course Tomac is one mistake or one terrible start away from resetting the points field and giving Roczen and Seely a new lease on this season (Tomac also built a big early-season points lead last year until a crash at San Diego erased it all). But with every win he earns, the kid seems to grow more comfortable, both on and off the track, and he could build some serious momentum over the next few weeks. Then the talk will really start to build about him making a few races on the 450 and showing us a preview of what he’ll bring to the big kids' table next year.
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Absent from the supercross tour since 2008, the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge remains a favorite of fans nationwide. And now it’s back! Page 136.