It was an odd, truncated Monster Energy AMA Supercross season due to COVID-19, but that didn’t matter to Eli Tomac.
The 27-year-old racer from Colorado finally broke through to earn his first Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship title.
Generally considered one of the all-time elites in AMA Supercross and motocross history, Tomac had accomplished just about everything a rider could in the sport. He had earned multiple AMA motocross championships, a 250cc Supercross Regional title and a pair of Monster Energy Cup victories, yet the premier AMA Supercross title eluded Tomac for six years.
But after being series runner-up three times, Tomac clinched the title during the 17th and final round of the season inside an empty Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Cooper Webb, the only other eligible championship contender in the last round, fell in a first turn pileup and finished eighth, but it didn’t matter that much, since Tomac had pretty much gotten the job done before the final race.
Ten of the 17 rounds were complete when the season was suspended on March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 14, Feld Entertainment announced the season would conclude with races on Wednesdays and Sundays at Rice-Eccles Stadium. It was the first major pro sporting event to run and complete its series amidst the virus, though the races were run without fans.
Tomac became the oldest rider to win his first 450SX class championship, the first rider with 30 or more Supercross victories to earn his first title and the first father to win a first Supercross premier class title — fittingly it happened on Father’s Day.
“Just unbelievable circumstances,” Tomac said upon receiving the championship No. 1 plate. “I just always think back to the whole of this lifetime worth of riding, and just going through everything. The failures with the team, coming here, with the whole COVID going on right now. So pretty unbelievable. There was a time we didn’t even know if we were even going to ride or not between Daytona and this swing of the series. And it’s finally here and, unbelievable.”
This season, Tomac won seven rounds, which moved him past legends Bob Hannah and Rick Johnson on the list of all-time AMA Supercross winners. Tomac is tied for sixth on the list with four-time champion Ryan Dungey with 34 Supercross triumphs.
Tomac acknowledged he was relieved to finally wear the Supercross crown.
“It’s probably the biggest title you can win in our sport and it was kind of the last thing I was really chasing,” Tomac explained. “I’ll admit not having that championship was nagging on me. I had three second-place finishes and at some point, you almost wonder if you’re ever going to get it. So, to finally win this means the world to me.”
He’d been so dominant at points in his career, even in Supercross, many wondered if Tomac felt like maybe he was cursed and perhaps destined to never win the one title he most desired.
“You start feeling a little bit that way,” he admitted. “You have those seasons where you win more races than the guy who won the championship and that was what was sort of driving me crazy. There were two seasons in there where I was by far the dominant guy, but it didn’t result in a championship. It was frustrating to say the least.”
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