SALT LAKE CITY – GEICO Honda Lites rookie rider Eli Tomac rode like a champion Saturday as he collected his second win of the 2011 season at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The impressive wire-to-wire win lifted the rookie rider into second place in the championship chase and leaves him just two points off the lead with opne race left.
“Tonight was awesome,” Tomac said. “I made a few mistakes but luckily I had enough of a lead where it didn’t hurt my chances of winning. I feel great about tonight and can’t wait for Vegas.”
Tomac was clearly out in front by the second turn of the opening lap and never looked back, despite some suspect riding by top contender Josh Hansen.
“I ended up sneaking around for the holeshot,” Tomac said. “Then Hansen came in and tried to take me out. I just leaned into him and thankfully I’m a big enough guy to hold my own. It backfired on him, he tipped over and I extended my lead.”
The standout rider from Colorado heads into the final round of Supercross in Las Vegas just two points behind Broc Tickle, who finished third Saturday. The Lites championship will be determined at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas and Tomac hopes that his momentum will continue into the finals.
“It’s nice to control you own destiny,” Tomac said. “Now I will at least win the tie breaker if it comes down to that. I hope it doesn’t but we’ll see next weekend. We know if we win the race, we win the title.”
GEICO Honda 450cc rider Kevin Windham came into Salt Lake City as the defending champion at Sam Boyd Stadium and was hoping his success in the city would continue.
“I love it here in Salt Lake,” Windham said. “I’ve always done well here and since I won here last year and was the runner-up last weekend in Seattle, I was feeling really good heading into the main.”
The fan favorite was riding well and seemed comfortable in the freezing conditions of Salt Lake City. He was running near the top during practice and finished second in his heat race. During the main event Windham was running as far back as ninth but worked his way up to earn a sixth-place finish.
“Of course I wanted to get on the podium again,” Windham said. “Actually I wanted to get a double up for GEICO Honda and win the race but I didn’t. I rode hard and am feeling pretty good about tonight.”
The Supercross veteran has been riding strong all season, which has allowed him to maintain a top 10 position in the championship point standings heading into the finals.
“I love Las Vegas,” Windham said, “but who doesn’t? This year it’ll be a very interesting final, I’m just happy to be a part of it. Maybe I can play spoiler out there and win the last race of the season, we’ll see.”
The fans will definitely get their money’s worth at the finals since all of the championships will be decided in Las Vegas. The final round of the 2011 Monster Energy Supercross series will be May 7 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.