GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac had a great night when his closest competitors struggled, reaping great rewards as a result.
Tomac walked out of Saturday night’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross Lites West race at O.co Coliseum with his second win of the season and a heftier points lead.
“You had to race against the track tonight,” Tomac said. “It was so technical, soft and rutted in spots. It could bite you at any time.”
Tomac got out of the gate in the main event in third place and he was working his way to the front. As Tomac prepared to battle with title contender Dean Wilson on Lap 2, the track took a bite out of Wilson.
“He got cross-rutted and went flying into the hay bales,” Tomac said. “You don’t want to see guys crash, but you take whatever you can get in the points and keep going.”
From there, Tomac charged to the lead by Lap 3 and built a sizeable cushion while trying not to suffer the same pitfalls that struck other riders during the 15-lap race.
“After I saw some guys make mistakes, I thought, ‘Wow. Maybe I should tone her down a little bit,'” Tomac said. “By that time, I had a big enough a big enough gap where I could put her in cruise control and ride the race the way I know how.”
Even with Tomac riding cautiously toward the end of the race, he still won by a commanding margin of 12 seconds.
In becoming the first two-time winner of the Supercross season, Tomac capitalized on the misfortune of the other title contenders. Wilson, who went into the night behind Tomac by a single point, rallied to finish 10th after going off the track. Tyla Rattray, who was third in points, crashed his bike in his heat race and wasn’t able to return, and Cole Seely (fourth going into Oakland) had a down night, finishing 11th.
Tomac leaves Oakland with a 15 point lead over Wilson and a 21 point edge over new third place rider Zachary Osborne.
“It’s good to have this kind of lead in such a short series,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the next race.”
GEICO Honda’s Supercross rider Kevin Windham had a solid night in Oakland with a sixth place finish in the main event.
“Last week was a tough race for me with all that happened with Trey Canard’s crash,” Windham said. “I spent a lot of time this week just focusing on getting my head back into the game. I had a better start this weekend, which is good, and overall a nice rebound race for me.”
Windham said he had a good pace the whole day, but is still looking for that right combination to but his GEICO Honda on the podium.
“The reality in the 450cc class is that you can have a really great ride, and finish in that fifth or sixth position,” Windham said. “There are high quality riders all around us. I felt like we were close to the pace, but just didn’t get the breaks to run up near the front.”
Windham leaves the Bay Area in sixth place, three points behind fifth place Jake Weimer.
The team’s second Lites West rider, Gavin Faith, who was riding in just his second race of the season filling in for the injured Wil Hahn, showed a comfort and skill on the bike that belied his 14th place finish in the main.
“It went a lot better than last weekend,” Faith said. “It’s still not ideal. I still had some problems in the main, but other than that it went all right.”
Faith’s was strongest in his heat race where he overcame a 10th place start to finish fifth.
The GEICO Honda team marches back to Southern California on Feb. 4 for a return to Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the fifth stop in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series.