GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac might be a Colorado native, but Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium seems a lot like home.
With its high altitude, thin air and proximity to his home base in Cortez, Colo., Tomac said he’s going to have an advantage heading into this Saturday’s Monster Energy AMA Lites West Supercross race.
“It’s just like a home track for me, for sure,” Tomac said. “It’s only six hours away so I can drive there. I’ve been spending a lot of time in California this season but I’ve been back in Colorado this week so I can get readjusted to the elevation and be ready to race.”
The Salt Lake City track is similar to Seattle – another track in Tomac’s comfort zone – because the conditions can be unpredictable.
“You can have just about anything there,” Tomac said. “It could rain, snow or be really nice; you just never know. It’s going to be fun no matter what happens.”
The majority of Tomac’s sunny outlook can be traced back to the fact he regained the Lites West points lead (and the coveted leader’s red plate) last Saturday in Seattle with a third-place finish.
“I didn’t like my bike with the black plate on it,” Tomac said. “I wanted the red plate back and I made it happen. I’ve got two more races to hang on and win this championship.”
Four riders still have a shot at the Lites West title. Tomac leads second-place Dean Wilson by four points; third-place Cole Seely is 15 back of the lead and Marvin Musquin is in fourth, 23 behind.
GEICO Honda’s other Lites West rider, Wil Hahn, is looking to make another leap forward and land on the podium in a year where he has been beset by injury.
“I’ve been in good spots, I’ve just not been able to capitalize,” Hahn said. “I’ve been building and moving forward. I’m back and I’m racing every weekend, so I’m happy about that.”
Kevin Windham, GEICO Honda’s Supercross rider, is still battling multiple injuries suffered from a crash in Houston. While the veteran said he’s making progress healing, he’s once again doubtful to make the trip to Salt Lake City.
Practice for Saturday’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross race begins at 12:30 p.m. MDT at Rice-Eccles Stadium with opening ceremonies getting started at 7 p.m. CBS affiliates nationwide will air the Supercross race on Sunday (check local listings for time and channel), while SPEED will air the Lites race beginning at 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday.