Rookie GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac earned the first victory of his very short Monster Energy AMA Supercross Lites West career at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday night. The rookie was out of the gate strong and never looked back despite enduring sloppy track conditions.
“I caught lapped traffic pretty fast and that made the race interesting quickly,” Tomac said. “I knew I was ahead, but I had no idea how far ahead I really was.”
By the end of the race, Tomac built a 13-second lead over runner-up finisher Tyla Rattray. After finishing on the podium in his three previous Lites West races, it was a matter of when, not if, Tomac would break through with a victory.
“This is the best feeling,” Tomac said. “I’ve been working so hard all season to get here and I’m just really happy I finally got my first Supercross win.”
Tomac earned his first professional victory during last year’s outdoor season, but he quickly stated that winning Supercross is his greatest achievement yet.
“This is No. 1 to me,” Tomac said. “Winning Supercross is every kid’s dream. I didn’t start off the season as great as I would have liked but I can’t make excuses, it’s just what happened. I’m definitely turning this season around.”
Tomac is still in third place in the Lites West standings, but has closed the margin he is out of first from 22 points to 12. Tomac knows that he wouldn’t be where he is without his GEICO Honda crew behind him.
“My whole GEICO Honda team is awesome,” Tomac said, “they’re the coolest guys out there.”
Tomac’s teammate and fellow rookie, Jimmy DeCotis, also earned a career-best finish in the 250cc class.
“It’s great to finish fifth,” DeCotis said, “I’m grateful for my team and how we ran.”
DeCotis got off to his strongest main event start of the season and was running right behind Tomac in second place before dropping to fifth place during the eighth lap.
“I was running a really great race,” DeCotis said. “I had the holeshot, I was running all the way up in second but I just wasn’t able to hold on in the end.”
DeCotis said he is staying positive and knows that his first podium finish is just around the corner.
“I know I’ll get up on the podium soon,” DeCotis said. “Every time I get out on that track I learn something and tonight was no different. I just have to keep at it, I’ll get there.”
The Lites West series now takes an extended break as the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads east for several weeks. Tomac and DeCotis won’t race again until April 16 in Seattle.
GEICO Honda’s rider in the Supercross series, Kevin Windham, had a second tough race in a row. Already sore from injuries suffered in Houston the week previous, Windham crashed hard during the final lap of his qualifying session and wasn’t able to finish the heat.
Despite injuries from crashes in consecutive weeks, Windham still ran the Last Chance Qualifier and won it with ease.
Windham made it to the main event but in the opening lap his GEICO Honda got tangled up with another bike and suffered front brake damage. This forced him off the track and he was unable to finish the race.
“Tonight was tough,” Windham said. “I usually ride great on muddy tracks but I crashed hard on the last lap of the qualifying session and it messed me up pretty good. I managed to go out there and win the LCQ, but to add insult to injury, my bike got messed up in the main.”
Windham has still managed to keep a positive attitude even with the struggles he has been dealing with over the past two races.
“I’ve been working extra hard lately but I was sore from the crash last weekend (in Houston), then adding the crash from today just made it even harder for me,” Windham said. “I’m hoping to get back out there next weekend with better results for the whole GEICO Honda team.”
The next stop for the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series will be Feb. 26th at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.