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January 8, 2013

Tomac begins title defense with big win at Anaheim season-opener

tomac wins anaheim
ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 6) — GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac began his Supercross Lites West title defense with a convincing wire-to-wire victory Saturday night at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Tomac used the frustration of a sixth-best qualifying effort to fuel his fire on this cool January evening and simply dominated the class he conquered in 2012, when he won five times in nine starts.
“I was riding around in the heat race saying, ‘What are you doing? Get your head in the game,’ because you know how hard it is to ride up front when you don’t get a good start,” Tomac said. “I was able to get a way better start in the Main and I think there were about three of us together around the first turn. I got clear of that group and just rode a clean 15 (laps) and took it home.”
Tomac knows the No. 1 champion’s plate on his CRF250 makes him the rider against which all others will be measured this year, but he insists he’s up for the challenge and certainly rode with confidence when it mattered most.
“The No. 1 plate motivates me,” Tomac said. “I don’t think of it as a weight around my shoulders. I worked hard to get it and I will work even harder to keep it. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
“This is a very satisfying win for me. I’ve finally won Anaheim 1. It took me three years to get it done, but now I have and it feels great.”
Adding to the happy occasion, Tomac’s mechanic, Brian Kranz, was earned the MMI Top Tech Award and received a bonus check of $500. “That’s a cool deal for Brain,” Tomac said. “I’m really happy for him. He deserves everything he gets.”
New team rider Zach Osborne got tangled up with Tomac at the start of the Main and took the first turn near the back of the pack. Osborne, who qualified second overall, fought hard to pick his way through the field from there and eventually carded a respectable seventh-place finish on his 250.
“I got into Eli a little at the start, just a dumb decision on my part, and when I went into the first turn I lost the front wheel and kind of tipped over there for a second,” Osborne said. “Other than that, I feel really good about everything. To get back up to seventh and ride the way I was riding was really positive. My fitness was there, I rode my fastest lap the last time around, so I’m pretty happy to come out of here safe.
“I enjoyed myself all day and I feel like a great weight has been lifted. All the first-race jitters are gone now and I can just ride my bike and get some podiums.”
Superstar rider Kevin Windham began his 18th professional season with a 10-place result in the 450cc class. Windham had qualified sixth in his Heat race.
“To be completely honest, it’s a big relief for me to ride 20 laps on two wheels,” Windham said. “The last two times I’ve been on the bike, in Houston back in the spring of 2012, and then at the Monster Energy Cup in October, I had two of the biggest crashes of my career. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t on my mind a bit today.
“My goal was to ride hard but ride smart at the same time. I need to build my confidence back up. Obviously riding safe isn’t going to translate to wins and I know I’ll need to turn it up a notch, but tonight was really about keeping it on two wheels. There was a lot of carnage out there with guys going for broke. I didn’t think it was time for me to push it that hard.
“We’ll take this race and move forward. Phoenix is just a few days away and we’ll be ready to go fast there.”
The AMA Pro Monster Energy Supercross Tour returns to action next Saturday at Chase Field in Phoenix.

One Comment

  1. Jennifer, Thank you for sharing that with us and shnwiog how wonderfully strong and beautiful the Papa family is. She’s a beautiful little girl and Julieanne and Tyrus can look forward to being with her again.Love,The Gleasons

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