2014 AMA Supercross
It has taken them a few races longer than they had hoped, but GEICO Honda 450SX stars Eli Tomac and Wil Hahn think this Saturday’s Supercross Series stop at Qualcomm Stadium will allow them to finally showcase the form that made them champions in 2013.
Tomac injured his shoulder during practice for the first race of the season and wasn’t able to ride until last Saturday’s race in Anaheim, Calif. Although the reigning 250MX champion failed to finish the main event due to a rare flat tire, his performance in his first race back has the Cortez, Colo., resident pumped up for this weekend and beyond.
“I actually performed a touch better than I thought,” said Tomac, who qualified for the main in the first heat. “I really had no discomfort in my arm or shoulder at all. It did get a little tired feeling in the main before the rear tire went down, but I still feel like I had a top-five finish in me.
“The plan is to keep building on what we did in Anaheim (Calif.) and get better every race. That’s all I can do now, really, so I’ll go after every win I can. Obviously the top guys are really strong and really fast, so I think it will take me a few more weeks to get to the very top level, but hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.”
Hahn expected to challenge for his first podium finish in the premier 450SX class at Anaheim 3 but a spill during practice left him with a swollen right hand. After being checked and released by the Asterisk medical team, Hahn bravely continued his fight, finally finishing the main event in a respectable 12th place.
“I was in a pretty good amount of pain during the race, but I knew it was important to earn as many points as possible,” said Hahn, last season’s 250SX East champion. “I had to be a little conservative because I didn’t want to get in there and bang bars with anyone and risk making my hand worse. There are times you have to look at the bigger picture, and keeping my GEICO Honda out there for the entire season in very important.
“I’ll visit with the doctors a few times this week and keep a close eye on my hand. I think it’ll be fine. I just need to rest it when I can. This is an important race for our team, and Eli and I were talking about how cool it will be when we both start getting up front and challenging for the podium every weekend. It’s coming.”
Both Tomac and Hahn will join in the “Salute to the Troops” this weekend with special military-themed designs. They are also fully supporting teammate Blake Wharton’s special day that he has arranged with several kids from the San Diego chapter of Guide On, which mentors children who have lost a parent in combat.
“Blake has invited a couple dozen kids out who have lost their dads in the war,” Hahn said. “I’m really looking forward to showing them around the pit and getting to know them. The most important thing is for these kids to have a fun day at the races. They’ve been though some tough times and we want to show them a little bit of happiness.”
Added Tomac, “Deals like this certainly bring everything into focus. We stress about racing, but these kids have been forced to deal with something profoundly more intense. It’ll be really special to have them in our pit. Hopefully we can show them a great time. I feel honored that they’re joining us.”