First full race produces seventh-place result for GEICO Honda’s Tomac
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 8) — Eli Tomac finally completed a race in his inaugural season aboard the GEICO Honda 450, and his seventh-place result with brother Greg, a Captain in the U.S. Air Force cheering him on, made for a satisfying Military Appreciation Day at Qualcomm Stadium.
“Not bad for just my second race back,” said Tomac, who suffered a flat tire in last weekend’s main event and was unable to finish. “I’m feeling better and better and my shoulder (injured in practice during the first race of the year) is stronger. It’s still not 100 percent but it’s very close. I know that as it gets better, I’ll get better overall.”
Teammate Wil Hahn missed the evening’s program after reinjuring his right hand, which was banged up a week ago in Anaheim, Calif. Combined with existing injuries to 250SX West pros Zach Bell and Zach Osborne, Tomac was the only GEICO Honda rider left to compete.
“There’s always a sense of pressure to perform, and when Wil went out it ramped everything up,” Tomac said. “We all want to do well for GEICO and Honda and all of our other sponsors, and with this race being a salute to the military and seeing all those uniforms in the stands, we definitely wanted to give them a great show.
“I struggled early. I just had no flow in practice. We were looking for a setup and tried some thing that worked in practice this week but it didn’t translate to this track. We finally went back to a tried and true setup for P3 and it worked. I got better each time out after that.
“We finished one off the transfer spot in the first heat but managed to pretty much go wire-to-wire in the semifinals. That was a very solid race, you’d have to say, even though I didn’t have the chance to pass a lot of people. Then the main was pretty good and we got one in the books, so we have something to build off.”
As for Hahn, the nagging hand injury and decision to push hard to race this weekend ultimately was to blame for his forgettable outing.
“I probably should have waited a week but I wanted to race here, especially with it being Military Appreciation night,” Hahn said. “GEICO always has been very involved with supporting the troops and I know this race meant a lot to everyone.
“I really tried to ride but as soon as I crashed (in practice) I realized right away that it happened because my hand isn’t healed all the way. If I was able to grip the handlebars like normal, I wouldn’t have gone down. I decided to take the night off to make absolutely sure I can race up front next weekend in Dallas.”
The Supercross tour now shifts to Cowboy’s Stadium in Arlington, Texas, next Saturday, signifying a transition to the East Series for the 250SX class. Tomac and Hahn will now be joined by Blake Wharton, Justin Bogle, and Matt Bisceglia.