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Eli Tomac’s wins come with cost

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There is a cost associated with winning and it is not always to long hours spent away from friends and family. In the case of Eli Tomac in 2019, that cost has been paid in the form of consistency – or rather the lack thereof.

At the beginning of the season, Tomac scored four consecutive results of fourth or better. The best of these was a pair of third-place finishes in Anaheim’s two races. Victory eluded him and without a second-place finish to his credit, it didn’t seem all that close.

But Tomac was able to keep the pressure on after Cooper Webb finished 10th in Round 2 at Glendale and Marvin Musquin began the season with an eighth in Anaheim I. Ken Roczen, the other title contender, was on a downward trajectory that began with a second in Anaheim I and got progressively worse by one spot until he finished fifth at Oakland.

Entering San Diego, Webb was on a two-race winning streak, but since those were the first two wins of his season, everyone waited for him to stumble – and he did in Southern California mud with an eighth-place finish.

Tomac was poised to pounce. And pounce he did: His win in Round 5 gave him the red plate and a four-point margin over Musquin. After four rounds that featured riders getting their first, second or third career wins, the veteran may have thought he was ready to take control.

Tomac’s San Diego victory wasn’t exactly pyrrhic – that is defined as a triumph that costs so much as to effectively be a loss – but Tomac has not been the same since.

Mistakes were made at Minneapolis. A poor start dropped him deep in the pack and he could ride only to sixth. It was worse at Arlington, were Tomac finished a distant 12th.

In the past six weeks, Eli Tomac has been all or nothing. (SupercrossLIVE.com)

Then, he won at Detroit. In fact, he won three times that weekend with a pair of Main events and the overall in the Triple Crown race. Tomac stumbled again the following week and finished sixth at Atlanta – dropping him to fourth in the standings as Webb continued to pad his lead.

So now he’s won again. This time taking one of the most prestigious victories in the form of the Daytona Supercross. He moved back into a tie for second-place in the standings.

Unfortunately, the focus is starting to shift. Even with his win, Tomac shaved only three points off Webb’s lead last week and 19 markers currently separate the two. Seven races remain and with three more wins and two runner-up finishes in the last five races, Webb has been more consistent and stronger than Tomac. If Webb refuses to stumble, Tomac has to run the table.

There is a cost associated with winning a championship, and now that Tomac has three wins in the books, he just may need to shift his attention to riding well and finishing on the podium.

NBC’s Sport Gold Supercross / Motocross season pass can be purchased at https://www.nbcsports.com/gold.

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Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

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“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).