Well, I just wrote nearly half an article and couldn’t stop thinking about something else, so I threw it in reverse and here we are. A red flagged Swizcorner and a restart, behind the gate.
Lead Photo by: Spikman
I can’t stop pondering just what the heck has gone on with Eli Tomac this year. The guy starts the series floundering like he did in 2016, looking like he hasn’t figured anything out with himself or his motorcycle since Anaheim 1 of last season. We saw how he came on at moments during the Nationals but we are all too aware of the very different animal that 30+2 in the outdoors are versus the Supercross series where the riders make the bulk of their contracts.
When Ken Roczen ejected from his bike and the series, there were plenty of people talking about Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac riding better because “Ken was in their heads”. If found that utterly ridiculous. It was plain as day to see that Ken was far and away riding superiorly to both the 5(1) and the 3 but to think that the 94 had some kind of Kryptonite Jedi Mind Trick at work which was causing his main title combatants to flounder and fail, was just ridiculous.
While Ken not being in the series anymore could certainly alleviate some pressure on the main players, it could never account for the massive and I mean MASSIVE swing we have witnessed with the #3 on the Monster Kawasaki. You could easily convince most fans that Eli was suffering from just about any of the common MX “sicknesses” through the opening rounds and any of a handful of the typical motorcycle setup monkey wrenches that are regularly touted when the going gets tough. Seriously, if you would have said Eli couldn’t ride any faster at the opening rounds because his bike was accidentally setup with outdoor suspension or they mistakingly loaded his KX450 with a 1992 KDX200 ignition curve (OBVIOUSLY joking), it would seem plausible when you see what he has done since those rounds.
This is why I ask, “Is confidence Green?”
Ryan Dungey clearly doesn’t have it right now, it’s all Eli Tomac’s. If anybody were in anybody else’s head right now, it could certainly be argued that Eli, is in Ryan’s. Ryan has hemorrhaged a whopping 20 points in the last 4 races and those losses don’t appear to be slowing at any point. The days of Ryan pulling a start from any gate and sneaking around the inside corner are gone in 2017, welcome the days of Eli Tomac doing much the same that Ryan Villopoto did for years, albeit in a completely different riding style. RV was all about hunkering down low, hanging off the back, power sliding and in full attack mode. Eli looks like a giant riding a pit bike out there. His bike is is an extension of his limbs. We’ve seen it before but usually it comes from French riders. He lets the bike dance around under him and do all the work while he keeps his body positioned precisely above it in a predictable and most importantly, confidence inspiring manner.
He looks unfaultable at this point. That’s a scary thing to say because the last time he looked this good, he went down hard and for a while. Likewise, the last time we saw someone looks this good that wasn’t Eli Tomac, it was the 94, and we saw how that unfortunately turned out. It’s when confidence is surging and it seems that no wrong can be nit picked out of a riders exploits that we (they) need most be diligent in the dotting of I’s and crossing of T’s in terms of their execution and refusal to take any of it for granted.
I say it regularly and believe it completely, there is a reason we race every lap (minute now) of every race throughout the season as scheduled: Anything can happen in racing and often it does.