2014 Houston SupercrossA variety of injuries have taken GEICO Honda Supercross stars Eli Tomac and Zach Osborne out of contention in their respective championship chases, but the talented duo know they still have what it takes to win this Saturday’s national event at NRG Stadium in Houston, which could upset the balance of power in both the 450 and 250 categories.
A rookie on the big bikes, Tomac has competed in just six of the first 13 races of the season, mostly due to a shoulder injury suffered in a practice round of the season opener. But as his runner-up result in Indianapolis shows, Tomac certainly has the ability to find the podium at any time, undoubtedly a sobering thought for the riders at the top of the charts.“There are four races left and I’d like to be a big part of all four races,” said Tomac, who hails from Cortez, Colo. “For me, that means finishing the day on the box, preferably in the middle spot.“I feel better right now than I have all year. Last week (in St. Louis) was a pretty good return. I finished sixth and felt like I had the pace to race with anyone out there. It’s good to get that race in the books. Now I can start concentrating on all the little things that can make the difference during an event. I need perfect starts. I want to have a strong heat race. I just need to put it all together, and we could really close out Supercross with some momentum.”Although Tomac currently ranks 17th in the points, he’s within easy striking range of a top-10 finish should he show well down the stretch.The return to Houston marks a shift back to 250SX West action, bringing Osborne into the mix for three more races — Houston, Seattle, and Las Vegas. Like Tomac, Osborne has been sidelined due to injury, missing Anaheim 3 and San Diego with two fractures in his collarbone, but a two-month break in the action has allowed him to fully heal.“I’m ready to go,” Osborne said. “The fractures were right next to an area where I had a previous injury and there was already a plate in there. The doctors felt that area was strong enough that they didn’t need to do anything else, so it was just a matter of getting some rest.“I couldn’t do much for the first four weeks, but I’ve been riding every day since the early part of March. I’ve had two weeks practicing on an outdoor track and two more on a Supercross layout and I feel great.”Despite missing two races, Osborne is ninth in the rankings. He is 62 points behind the series leader and 38 points behind third-place Justin Hill.“I’m not looking at any of that,” Osborne said. “To me, I’m riding with zero pressure. I’m just gonna go out there and send it and see how we do. There’s no reason to hold anything back.”This Saturday’s race will be shown live beginning at 7:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.