With “the pass” that Red Bull / KTM’s Marvin Musquin put on Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac in Foxborough a week ago still fresh on everyone’s mind, all eyes were focused on the #25 and the #3 in Salt Lake City on Saturday. Would Eli get a chance to retaliate on the French rider? If he got the chance, would he take it? Those questions were on everyone’s collective minds. In the main event, though, Eli buried himself in the pack with a bad start, while Marv got to the lead and ran away from everyone.
Eli has really turned the corner with his starts in 2018 with the second best average starting position—behind Musquin—in the 450SX class, but in Salt Lake he rounded the first turn way back in around 14th. With a very dry and sketchy track to contend with and Marvin out front performing a disappearing act on the field, Eli did all he could to catch the #25. Unfortunately a crash while trying to pass Rocky Mountain ATV/MC / KTM’s Blake Baggett for 2nd ended any chance of the crowd seeing any fireworks between the two. Marvin went on to grab his second win in a row, while Eli followed him across the line in 2nd for the second week in a row,
After the press conference was over, we caught up with Eli to talk about his day in Salt Lake.
Eli, not the result you were looking for with a 2nd, but you were flying. I think you were definitely the fastest guy on track. Can you walk me through your Salt Lake City SX?
Yeah, it was a bad day of starts. Then I got shuffled back in the first turn just like in my heat race—which sucked. It was catch up from there. It was a little bit tough to make up ground and I sat behind a couple of guys for too long. Once I got to Blake [Baggett] I got a little inpatient, made a mistake and tipped over. I had to get back by [Christian] Craig and Blake again, and I lost touch with Marv [Marvin Musquin]. Not a good weekend for me.
I asked you last week about getting up slow from crashes but you popped right up from that one and made me look silly.
This track got really marbly on the insides. Everyone else was having trouble passing with it but you didn’t seem to have any trouble passing. Is it because you steer with the rear? What do you attribute that to?
Ah, I’m trying to think. I had a good line in the sweeper, and then I’d go down that first rhythm lane with a different combo then I’d say 90% of the guys were doing. I was starting it with a double instead of going outside with a double. That’s where I made a majority of my passes. A couple in the whoops, but overall my bike was good. I just put myself in a bad position early on.
What do you think of day races?
Day races? I can go either way with it. They’re long. Or they feel longer. Maybe they’re not but after we can go have a normal dinner or whatever. (laughs) When you think about that, that’s cool. I could go either way with it, they don’t bother me.
I don’t know how far Cortez, Colorado [Eli’s home town] is from here, but it seems like this crowd absolutely loves you. They literally followed you through the pack. Could you hear them? Do you have a lot of friends and family in Salt Lake?
Yeah, it’s close to home in the Four Corners area. It’s probably a five and half hour drive. There’s not like a moto…I’d say it’s a Four Corners crowd. They get loud, it’s cool.
Photo by: Octopi