What a race to behold in the return to Seattle after a two year hiatus.
Lead Photo By: James Lissimore
I’ve watched the Seattle race a few times now and after initially feeling like I was equally impressed by both Dungey’s charge from last to fourth as well as Tomac’s ride from tenth to second, there’s an obvious superior.
Tomac attacked that moon-dust-like track surface like it was just another typical Supercross track with a smattering of ruts and a forgiving base that tempted him just enough to go to a place we haven’t seen many go in a few years. Ryan Villopoto used to do it here and there but to be completely honest, no one delivered rides like Eli did this weekend, like— yes, I am going to go there, James Stewart.
Hear me out.
What was James Stewart best at? (I just realized I am talking about JS7 like he is retired. I hope he isn’t but under current circumstances, if the shoe fits…) Obviously James’ strength was going crazy balls. Crazy balls is not a reference to his semi-regular fantastic crashes but his exploits when pulled off successfully which sometimes led to those spectacular get-offs. The James Stewart of yesteryear threw caution to the wind. It was all about moving forward in the pursuit of the W. He raced every lap like it was to save his life and there was no next race, all that mattered was the checkered flag conclusion to whatever number of laps were left for him to clock off in the moment. It’s why he has so many diehard fans. We want to see racers who will pull off the unimaginable in their quest to be number 1. Each week from round one to round seventeen, we watch the top .05% athletes in the sport fight tooth and nail for the upper hand. Many times the degree of separation is less than a second from the number one guy down to the tenth and this makes what James Stewart used to do and what Eli Tomac did in Seattle even more incredible.
From the moment Eli came around the first turn and saw two handfuls of competitors ahead of him, he pulled a veil over his own eyes and attacked the track like it was just any other typical Saturday night. All while all those around him were tip toeing in and out of the rhythms and through the battered whoop section. It was absolutely a sight to behold. It’s just something you don’t see in this sport, one of the top .05%ers reeling in another top 05%er in increments of multiple seconds in a single rhythm lane; without them making a mistake no less! The triple-triple-triple and the triple to table-table-table Eli was executing lap after lap may have not been a quad like we would regularly expect to see Stew-do but it was every bit as impressive and unbelievable under those circumstances. This will be one of those rides remembered and spoken of for years to come.
Eli has now brought the points total to a deadlock with Ryan Dungey at number one with three rounds to go. It’s irony at it’s finest. Ryan Dungey and the KTM squad were vehemently against the idea of a Chase-style points reset being implemented in the Supercross series, yet here we are with three rounds remaining and Ryan has floundered his points lead away, leaving us with a Chase-style points reset for the only two guys who have been a threat in 2017. Eli will now take his momentum, confidence and fresh red plate into the first off week of 2017. The flip side of that coin is Ryan Dungey the week off to rethink his whole approach to the final three rounds and searching within himself for a new and alien tactic for fighting this fire breathing beast that is Eli Tomac. A guy who much like Ryan Villopoto at the peak of his dominance, just always seemed to have Dungey’s number.
If Ryan wants to have a true shot at securing his 3rd straight title he needs to start riding like he wants it more than anything he ever has, because Eli has already been doing that for eleven weeks with convincing results.