Eli Tomac Sets Pace at Anaheim 2 for First Supercross Victory in 2020

Eli Tomac jumps across the finish line to capture his first checkered flag of the 2020 450SX season. Photo by Rachel Schuoler/Kickin' the Tires Photo by Rachel Schuoler/Kickin' the Tires

ANAHEIM, CA ⁠— Eli Tomac set the pace for the night as he captures his first career victory at Anaheim 2 in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450 class.

“It was just believing in myself,” said Tomac, smiling during his post-race press conference.

Tomac took the victory in the first heat race after a good battle with defending series champion, Cooper Webb. It was also here he set the fastest lap of the night: 51.620 seconds.

When the gate dropped for the main event, Tomac struggled initially on the start. Ken Roczen took the holeshot, but Tomac was the 10th rider to cross the holeshot line with an early uphill battle. He was able to get around the competition, hunt down the No. 94 bike and put his Monster Energy Kawasaki machine into the lead for the remaining 17 laps of the main.

“We were riding good throughout the day,” “Looking back at Anaheim 1, that was just a wash for us, like I was riding around in 10th place. Last week was just not giving ourselves a chance at all. Tonight wasn’t still right there on the start, but close enough to be in the fight. I was really making up a lot of time in the whoops.

“That was a physically demanding track, so I’m thankful to be back up here and fighting for some wins.”

Roczen started the night well after winning Heat 2 but not without Adam Cianciarulo putting up a strong challenge. The main event was a fantastic start for the Red Bull/Fox Racing Team Honda rider as he pulled out to a significant gap on the opening lap. The only challenge he saw during the 20 minutes was when Tomac made the move to snag the lead away. Still, a strong run after winning at St. Louis has made the German rider the new championship points leader after three races.

“My night was pretty good,” Roczen said “Heat race, we had a good battle with Adam (Cianciarulo). We’ve been having good starts, and took the win there. That makes things a lot easier for the night, just putting myself in a good position and pick a decent gate. Pretty much every single gate on the start were rough, but I hooked up good and got my first holeshot of the year. To be able to win tonight, I had to be a lot better in the whoops, but I’m honestly not complaining up here. I still ended up second, and I have to be happy with that.”

Webb would take up the final step of the podium, but still sits down sixth in points.

“It was a much better night than last week,” said the defending 450SX series champion. “It was good. These two (Tomac and Roczen) were on it tonight. Eli all day was clicking with the track, so I knew he was going to be good, and same with Ken. They rode great all day. I knew it was going to be tough in the main event, but I was about third the whole time. Put our head down, charged, made some time up at the end, and was close there. It was cool to be up there; we got third at (Anaheim 1), but we were still pretty far back. Felt like we were a lot closer now.”

Zach Osborne, after crashing in the heat race, would fight back all day to finish fourth, and Jason Anderson would complete the top five.

One notable rider was former points leader Justin Barcia, who had a very uncharacteristic day. After winning the season opener at A1, and a runner-up finish at St. Louis, Barcia would appear to be mid-pack all day. A fourth place run in his heat race set himself up for mid-gate selection, and a ninth place run would drop him down to second in the points standings, three points behind Roczen.

“A2 was a difficult one for me,” Barcia shared on social media after the race. “But salvaged what I could and got out of there safe and healthy. Excited for a good work week and really looking forward to Glendale. (I) really like that place.”

While it’s still early in the season, it’s still a close battle across many of the top riders in the series. They head over to Glendale, Arizona for their next round on January 25, the first triple crown race of the year.

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