Tomac seeks 450 progress

Photo by Simon Cudby

Eli Tomac catches air Feb. 23, on his GEICO Honda CRF 450R at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Tomac made his AMA Supercross 450 debut and took seventh.

By Rob Geiger

ST. LOUIS - Eli Tomac posted a solid seventh-place finish in his first Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450 start in Atlanta last Saturday.

A four-time winner in the 250SX West series this year, Tomac is competing in four races on a GEICO Honda CRF 450R this year to get some experience in advance of a move to the top category next season.

"It's ridiculous when you look at the top eight, 10 guys in this class and they're all champions," Tomac said. "This class is no joke. I got a bad gate pick and it made it tough for me."

Tomac hopes to learn from his Georgia Dome race.

"It was a great learning experience, for sure. I learned a lot about the bike. It's a beast," he said. "There are some things I want to change in the suspension and gearing that I think will help. I also need to get past guys quicker on the track. Hopefully, it will all come together for me in St. Louis."

Tomac is in St. Louis today for his second taste of racing in the 450SX class.

"I didn't fully know where I was compared to the top guys," Tomac said of his inaugural 450 ride in Atlanta. "Once the night show came around, I rode a little bit tight or was a little bit nervous or something."

Things could have been worse for Tomac, though.

"It wasn't bad for my first official 450 race," he said. "This weekend, the plan is to get better starts in both the heat and main. I definitely learned that having a good gate pick for the main event, is really important."

After racing in primarily outdoor venues his whole Supercross career, Tomac said racing in a domed stadium has a more intense vibe.

"Atlanta was crazy packed with fans," he said. "It was cool to see that many people at once. It's a totally different crowd than the West Coast stadiums. I expect it to be pretty similar this weekend, too."

Practice for today's Monster Energy AMA Supercross event gets underway at 11:30 a.m. from Edward Jones Dome. Opening ceremonies start at 6 p.m. The 450SX race will be broadcast on CBS affiliates across the country (check local listings for times).

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