Eli Tomac has a bright new addition to his GEICO Honda CRF250R motorcycle for this Saturday’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross race at O.co Coliseum – the coveted red number plate.
After capturing the points lead following his win in last week’s Supercross Lites West race down the coast in Los Angeles, Tomac earned the right to use the special plate on his bike, which signifies the current points leader. It’s an add-on Tomac would like make a permanent fixture of his bike.
“It’s definitely going to be cool to run that red number plate,” Tomac said. “I wanted it, and now I have it and I want to hold onto it. I really feel like I should have been in this position all season but I wasn’t getting the starts. Now we’ve got that part figured out and we can move forward.”
With three of nine Lites West races in the books, the title chase is developing into a three-man race with Tomac leading Dean Wilson by one point and Tyla Rattray by three. The two riders sharing fourth place are 13 points out of third.
Tomac said following the formula that led to success at Dodger Stadium is still the best course of action for Oakland and beyond.
“I’ll stick with the same program I’ve had all season,” Tomac said. “We’ve had the fastest bike in all three races. If I can get the starts and limit my mistakes on the track, just clean it up a little bit, we can stay out front. I like being in the lead. I worked hard to get here; I’m going to work even harder to stay here.”
GEICO Honda’s Supercross rider Kevin Windham is looking to rally from a down finish at Dodger Stadium last week.
“I doesn’t get any easier out there,” said Windham, who is currently in sixth place in the season standings, but is only five points out of fourth. “The competition is as tough as it gets, so the key is to be as flawless as you can on every lap. The slightest mistake will give the other guy an opportunity to close the gap or pass you.
“We did a pretty good job of riding that way in Phoenix when we finished fourth, so we’ll try to use that template in Oakland.”
Windham also expressed relief that American Honda rider and good friend Trey Canard wasn’t injured more seriously in a scary crash during the first lap of last weekend’s race. Another rider landed on Canard causing both to fall hard from their bikes. Canard suffered a broken back and is scheduled for surgery this week.
“Trey was a member of this GEICO Honda team when he was starting out,” Windham said. “It’s always terrible to see another rider go down like that, but when it’s someone who was a teammate, it hits you like a punch in the gut.
“Myself and everyone on the GEICO Honda team are praying for Trey to make a quick recovery.”
The team’s other Lites West rider, Gavin Faith, is looking to make another step forward in his progression as a rider. Faith’s first Supercross experience last weekend was long on education but short on results when he finished 18th in his first race filling in for injured rider Wil Hahn.
“Things really didn’t go like I wanted so I’m more determined than ever before to pick it up,” Faith said. “I can do this for sure. I felt pretty good all night in L.A. I got little tight in the middle of the main but got through it. I actually learned a lot in one race and having some time to think about it will be good for me.”
Faith got limited practice time leading up to his debut last week, and he said the extra time aboard the bike this week is going to make a world of difference.
“I need to get more comfortable on the bike,” Faith said. “Having a full week of practice will help. I know what I want to work on. I learned from my teammates that the starts are crucial. I have to get better there. I also plan to be a lot more aggressive. I let people get by me that I shouldn’t have let by, but I learned from that.”
Practice for Saturday’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross Race at O.co Coliseum begins at 12:30 p.m. PST with opening ceremonies starting at 7 p.m. The Supercross race will be televised on CBS affiliates nationwide at noon EST on Sunday. The Lites West race will air at 5 p.m. Sunday on SPEED.