#3 Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki):
It was a tough decision this week; in my opinion, both Chad Reed and Eli Tomac were super impressive in Phoenix. Both riders turned a mediocre top 10 result the weekend prior into a podium position; a turn-around like that is rare and impressive to see. However, the difference between Tomac and Reed is that Tomac was just a bit better, and turned his 8th place finish at Anaheim 2 into a 1st in Phoenix! Not only that, but Tomac absolutely dominated everyone, gapping the rest of the field by over 10 seconds in the first 5 laps… that’s insane! Tomac’s largest lead in the race was 18 seconds… wow.
Honestly, Tomac’s dominance reminded me of his win at Hangtown in 2015, where he beat Dungey by over a full minute. Huge leads like this are rare in the sport, but Eli has achieved this multiple times now. When he’s feeling super confident like this, Eli is definitely a favorite to win; no doubt this must scare his competitors.
What’s even more impressive is how quickly Tomac turned his season around. Tomac entered Phoenix with very disappointing 5-6-8 place finishes in the opening three rounds; Tomac was supposed to be a championship favorite, but these results were awful!! So, needless to say, no one was expecting big things from Tomac anymore… but after this super impressive ride in Phoenix, I think most of us are back on the Tomac bandwagon; when Eli rides like this, he’s unstoppable.
What Tomac will we see in Oakland? The dominant Phoenix version? Or the timid, mediocre Tomac that we saw at the first few rounds? My guess is that Tomac has found his groove, and will be a serious threat for wins from now on. Regardless, his dominant performance in Phoenix is what makes Eli the Most Impressive 450 Rider this week.
Cover photo Transworld MX