Fresh off a dominating victory in Texas, GEICO Honda rider and Colorado native Eli Tomac is full of confidence heading into the Thunder Valley National, a Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship race held this Saturday in Tomac’s mountainous back yard.
“The Lakewood track has always been good to me, I got a podium there last year,” said Tomac, a Cortez, Colo., native. “The track gets a lot of ruts and bumps in it, and our bikes are handling really well this year. That should pay off for us, especially in the corners. The rough tracks suit me really well.”
The three healthy riders on the GEICO Honda team have are in the top 10 in points after the first two races of the outdoors season. Tomac is third in the standings, one point behind Ken Roczen for second; Justin Barcia is in fourth, three points behind Tomac; and Wil Hahn is in seventh place, six points in back of Marvin Musquin.
A back-to-back champion in Supercross Lites, Barcia said he is ready for the challenge that racing in Denver’s high altitude presents.
“I can’t wait to get to there,” Barcia said. “There are a lot of big jumps on the track. It’s a fast track and I’m on the throttle a lot, so it should be a good race for me.”
The thin air does sap power from the engines, but Hahn said the team’s mechanics, especially engine guru Kristian Kibby, will have the formula for a fast bike worked out by the time the team arrives in town.
“I love Denver and I’ve always raced well there,” Hahn said. “Luckily for us Kibby and the guys have our bikes as fast as they can get at elevation, and they don’t lose much power. Kibby does a lot of homework on our EFI (electronic fuel injection) and our bikes will be the best ones there. There’ll be no excuses; we’ll be ready to hit all those big jumps and race hard.”
GEICO Honda’s fourth 250cc rider, Justin Bogle, had successful knee surgery last week and will sit out the next few races while recovering from his operation.
Practice for the Thunder Valley National gets under way at 8:30 a.m. MDT Saturday with opening ceremonies starting at 12:40 p.m. FUEL TV will air the first motos of the even live starting at 2 p.m. EDT with the NBC Sports Network airing the second motos at 11 p.m.