Interview by: Chris Cooksey – Photos by: Chase Yocom

After Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac took his 7th Supercross victory of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross series in Minneapolis last Saturday, I asked him a few questions. When I interview riders after a race, I do my best not to ask them the usual cookie cutter questions everyone else does. My interview techniques are outside the box and can get some really good interviews or create some seriously awkward interactions. This interview with Eli clearly hit the awkward zone.

I have been critical of Eli’s lack of urgency to get back up after crashes. I thought for sure this was a planned technique to keep his heart rate low or keep him from panicking and forcing additional mistakes. When I asked him, he didn’t really have an answer and it threw me for a loop so I asked it again and tried to lean toward an answer—and still he gave me nothing. I didn’t mean to phrase it virtually the same a third time, but I did. I meant to say something along the lines of, “Would electric start help or has this been something you have done since the amateurs?” But nope, I just repeated the question a third time. Eli looked at me with a puzzled look. I was buried so I went to the old, “Have you been testing for outdoors?” and cut my losses.

My interview was about as puzzling as his season, with Eli nothing goes as intended.

Eli may not win the title in ’18, but he will definitely cash the most win bonuses.

Eli, your season has been very up and down. Are you starting to look towards outdoors now?

We’re just going for the overalls, and thankfully we’ve done that the past two weekends. Yeah, it’s tough. I want to look forward to outdoors and reset the points. You just look at the [SX] points and you just shake your head. It’s all on me. I’ll try to do better next year when it comes to that situation. I feel like I’ve been fortunate that I’ve stayed healthy for the most part. We’re here and still able to win races, so just keep trucking.


I’m hearing rumors that you’re burned out? Are you getting burned out or needing a break?

I’m not burned out. (laughs) If you go back to last year, it was a grueling season and that’s what separates the guys. We do need that little reset here and there. That’s all I can say about that. I still love what I do. I’m not going away anytime soon.


The reason I said that was because when they did that little piece on you about fishing, you just lit up. I was like, “I haven’t seen that from Eli about dirt bikes.”

Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe I was just excited to talk about something other than dirt bikes. I’m so used to the same questions.


I’m trying to ask you different stuff that I think is on some fans’ minds, and hopefully you don’t get to mad at me. When you crash, sometimes it almost seems like you’re in slow motion when you’re picking your bike up. Why is that? Is there a theory behind that? Is it to stay calm? What’s the deal?

(laughs) I think sometimes I’m a little too aware of the situations. I don’t know, I’m not just completely, I don’t know, out of my mind. I’m thinking about the situation too much like, “I don’t want to get landed on,” or something. Maybe you could say that about the Oakland one. For the most part, I do what I can and try to get back to my bike.

Eli looks aggressive on the bike no matter where you catch him in a photo.

I think the weirdest one—that got everyone talking—was last year in New Jersey when the Championship was on the line and we thought you would hurry to get back up. Then there was High Point outdoors as well. Like I said, I was guessing maybe it was your philosophy to possibly keep your heart rate down.

(laughs) I don’t know what to tell you about that. Yeah, trust me; I’m here to win races, not there to lay on the ground.


Is it something you’ve worked on in your training program?

No, I just do what I do.


How’s the outdoor testing going? Have you got into that now?

Yeah, we started the outdoor stuff. It’s mixed in with the program during the week. Yeah, it’s in there.


You’re signed with Kawasaki through the end of next year?

I’m signed through ’19.


Alright, thank you for the time, Eli.

Alright, thanks.