DENVER, CO Ã¢Â€Â“ After weeks of training in Texas preparing for the heat and humidity of the early part of the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac is happy to be returning to his high-altitude home state.
Tomac, a native of Cortez, Colo., feels like he’ll have an edge on the rest of the 250cc field at this Saturday’s Thunder Valley National because he’s used to riding motos in the thin air.
“It’s going to be nice to race in cooler temperatures and dry air,” Tomac said. ” It’s going to be easier for me physically, because I live there. Plus, I really want to be there for the Colorado fans.”
Tomac said he knows he’ll be under the spotlight more than normal because this is as close to a hometown race as it gets for him.
“My brother is trying to make it in and I’ll have some other friends in too,” Tomac said. “Having that kind of support at a race gives you an extra kick.”
Tomac currently sits fourth in the 250cc class standings, and is only eight points behind third-place rider Blake Baggett.
Teammate Justin Barcia, the reigning Supercross East Lites champion, has been fighting a case of mono the last few weeks. Despite his weakened condition, he still managed to gut out a podium finish last week in Budds Creek, Md., and is anticipating nothing less at Thunder Valley.
“I’ll be all right,” Barcia said. “I’ve raced there a couple of times before. The track suits my style real well and the bike has just been awesome lately. I just have to make sure I rest up during the week so I can show up fresh and ready to put on a good show.”
Barcia is fifth in 250cc points, 20 behind Tomac.
GEICO Honda’s third rider, newcomer Lance Vincent, says he’s looking forward to a healthy dose of mountain air as well.
“I’m not going to have to deal with the humidity or crossing-the-United-States travel stuff that I’ve seen so far,” said the California-based rider. “I’m sure I’m going to have a higher energy level and really be able to keep learning and pushing forward.”
Practice at Thunder Valley gets under way at 8:30 a.m. MDT on Saturday. Opening ceremonies get under way at 12:40 p.m. with the first racing starting at 1 p.m. The first motos will be carried live on FUEL TV starting at 3 p.m. EDT with the second motos picked up by SPEED. The 450 class will be shown at 11:30 p.m. EDT and the 250s shown Sunday at 2 p.m.