By Justin Schuoler, Senior Writer
PALA, CA – It’s no doubt that Eli Tomac is the best 450 Motocross competitor right now. His 25 career victories and 52 outdoor podiums is highest among active riders. The three consecutive championships from 2017 to 2019 makes him the fourth rider in history to achieve that feat, first since 2006 when Ricky Carmichael won seven in a row.
But in his final year with Monster Energy Kawasaki, the Colorado native has a chance to go out with a bang, and not just a fourth title in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
“There were some good results in there, and also there were some not-so-good weekends in there,” Tomac shared at the end of his Monster Energy AMA Supercross season. “The season was a little bit more up and down than I would have liked, but we never stopped fighting, and I’m just thankful that we go those races in.”
First, a title would be the biggest achievement to cap a great 11-year career with the green machines. It would be his fourth in the last five years, continuing to solidify his dominance at the outdoor venues, and return the No. 1 plate to him from Zach Osborne. The milestone for him would move him second all-time in Motocross championships, breaking a six-way tie with Gary Jones (‘72-’74), Tony DiStefano (‘75-’77), Rick Johnson (‘84, ‘86-’87), Jeff Stanton (‘89-’90, ‘92), and Ryan Dungey (‘10, ‘12, ‘15).
To dive deeper into the statistics, only two others have achieved the three-peat. Tomac with his championships alone puts his name next to legendary hall-of-famers. This fourth championship would put him in his own throne, only under Carmichael.
“As they look ahead to the upcoming Pro Motocross season,” Kawasaki shared on social media. “The team and Tomac are both committed to earning their fourth championship in the last five years with preparations starting this week.”
Let’s not forget the joys of winning races though. Tomac has 25 career victories spanning from 2014 through last season with his win at Ironman Raceway in October. That places him fourth on the all-time list, just two behind two-time champion Bob Hannah. Hannah was the third rider to win a championship in Motocross, so the possibility of making a change in the top-three of the all-time wins list is quite high. The current podium of all-time winners since 2012 when Dungey won his 22nd career race.
Speaking of podiums, Tomac with 52 is just three behind Kevin Windam for third on the all-time list. Mike LaRocco sits in fourth with one more podium than Tomac. He looks to spray the champagne in one of three ways to start tackling these milestones early.
“The championship is our goal, and we’ll be plenty capable of going after that.”
Just another example of more hall-of-fame names surrounding Tomac.
While it was announced earlier this year about his departure from Kawasaki after the 2021 season, no official announcement has been released on where Tomac will go or if he may even retire.
“I can’t really talk about that right now, so no comment.”
To start his season, Tomac qualified 10th for The Dirt Bike Kidz Fox Raceway I National with a time of 2:22.376. Teammate and last year’s championship runner-up Adam Cianciarulo grabbed the top spot, set at 2:18.793 with Marvin Musquin being the only other rider under the 140 second bracket at 2:19.559.
Cover photo by Rachel Schuoler / Kickin’ the Tires