Fresh off winning the 2013 AMA Pro Racing / Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250 Championship, GEICO Motorcycle Honda rider Eli Tomac is prepared for one of the biggest single races in his career—the 67th Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations in Teutschenthal, Germany.
“[Motocross of] Nations is one of those races every rider wants on their résumé,” Tomac said, as he left his home in Cortez, Colo., to fly to Europe. “It signifies that you’re one of the top riders in your country and that’s huge. I’m honored and humbled to be a part of Team USA, and I can’t wait to get over there and do everything we can to win this race.”
Team USA has emerged victorious from Motocross of Nations a record 22 times and is considered the favorite coming into the international event. Last year in the loamy sand of Lommel, Belgium, the powerful group from the United States was relegated to third, finishing behind this year’s host, Germany, and last year’s home team, Belgium.
Each of the 40 countries participating in this year’s Motocross of Nations will field a team of three riders competing in three different classes: MX1, MX2, and Open. Points are awarded in each class based on finishing positions, and then combined for an overall team score.
Returning to Team USA from 2012 are Ryan Dungey, who will ride his 450cc Red Bull KTM in MX1, and Tomac’s former teammate at GEICO Honda, Justin Barcia, who will compete on his 450cc Muscle Milk Honda in the Open category. Tomac will be taking his last ride on a Honda CRF250R in MX2.
“I wasn’t a part of last year’s team, but I’ve talked a lot with Justin and Ryan about that race and I know how much they want to redeem themselves,” Tomac said. “I want to do everything I can to help the USA get the title back. It’s very important to all three of us. The Teutschenthal track should be way different than Lommel. It’s hard-pack clay, so it will seem a lot more familiar to us. It’s not going to be easy by any stretch, especially with the German team being at home. The crowd will be on their side, for sure, and it will be a crazy atmosphere, but I’m pumped.”
Fans in North America can catch the 67th Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations during a three-hour broadcast beginning at 3 p.m. (ET), Sunday, on CBS Sports Network.
“It’s very unique knowing that you’re representing your country,” said Tomac, who earned the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross 250 West title and was runner-up to German KTM rider Ken Roczen this year. “It’s like the Olympics, where it’s us against everyone else. The fact we’re going to another country kind of adds to that feeling. Most of the guys we’re competing against are guys we’ve all raced before, so the same things that make us successful at home will apply. We’ll need good starts and we’ll need to avoid mistakes. We all know what to do; now it’s time to execute.”
Photos by Simon Cudby