Eli Tomac (Kawasaki) slaat wederom Motocross des Naties over
Eli Tomac sent shockwaves through the industry on Saturday, as he proclaimed that he would skip the Motocross of Nations for the second season in succession. The story is very similar to last year, much to the dismay of American fans, as scheduling issues have forced him to pull the plug on his participation. That has already been explained though, so here is what the man himself had to say in the post-race press conference.
“Right now, it is looking like a no," he said. "It is the schedule. We have to go and race the USGP and then you have two weekends off, I think it is, but then you make your way to England. A couple of weeks after you have the Monster Cup too. For us, you have been racing since the beginning of January and putting yourself through the meat grinder all the way through to the middle of October.
Tomac (l) in gevecht met Musquin die waarschijnlijk ook niet zal deelnemen omdat Frankrijk hem negeert.
“That is the bummer part, as it is a super special event," he continued. "With the schedule nowadays, it is a pretty terrible time. I don’t know what to say. With the two series and all of the other events, then having the expectation of being a winner throughout that whole year is tough. No one is at home with you throughout the week doing the training and the work. That is where you have to decide where you say no."
Eli Tomac would undoubtedly strengthen the American effort, hence why this has come as such a substantial blow. Team USA will still be announced at Unadilla in a little less than two weeks, much like it has been in recent years, but it remains to be seen who will fill the large hole left by Tomac. Zach Osborne appears to be the only rider locked into a spot.
The 450MX series leader obviously recapped his day in that media event also. "He [Marvin Musquin] was just going fast," Tomac said when questioned about getting beat for the second week in succession. "I was doing what I could, but we had that little bump together. I was trying to settle into a pace, but he was going that same speed. I couldn't stay with him and take high risk doing it. My goal was to just settle into second place at that point. That was all I was today, a second-place guy."
Those contesting the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series will embrace a weekend off in the coming days, before hitting their final stretch of three consecutive events. Eli Tomac currently leads the premier division by thirty-two points.
Finally, another GP victory for Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings, and with a win comes more confidence. We have all said it, when he finds his mojo, then he can be the quickest guy in the world. We sat down with the Dutchman, and he gave us some really cool stuff about the weekend, the USGP and the whole Eli Tomac not racing the MXoN. Also, some cool stuff about training with Aldon Baker in America.
MXLarge: It seems like this Grand Prix, more about pride than anything else. I mean you and Antonio are the two best riders in the world. How much is it about pride?
Herlings: At this Grand Prix, a lot. I mean a lot of people are saying I am the fastest guy in the sand, and a lot of people also say that about Cairoli, so he also wanted to prove a point. But this weekend I beat him in three motos, passed him in all of them, so no excuses for that one. In Italy I had bad luck, I was sick all weekend, Saturday I broke a wheel. Sunday, I was really sick, I don’t like excuses, and he beat me there. He also wins the championship, so he wins the big thing.
MXlarge: When Antonio does start blocking you like he does, does that make you angry at all?
Cairoli: No, because I know how he works and he wants to break me mentally. I don’t have any problem with it, it takes a lot of energy, but as long as he doesn’t just take me out I can deal with it. As long as it stays clean, and I am not a big fan, because I have had some big injuries, but when it is at a slow speed I don’t really care.
MXlarge: That mind games, it seems like he has beaten you in that a couple of times. Is that the case?
Herlings: He is smart, he is eight times world champion and like what 31 or 32 or something. He has been around a long time and knows the ins and outs and he is a smart guy, but we are trying to get smarter.
MXLarge: Possibly the greatest Grand Prix rider of all time, in what many are saying in the peak of his career. How nice is it to beat him like you did today?
Herlings: Its really nice, but I feel like I could have beaten him more often if my starts were there. If I was top five start, I normally catch him, pass him and win, but in Loket when I start seventh and he holeshots, you can be Eli Tomac on a good day or be me, and it’s almost impossible to win. I think if I get a good start, I can beat him on any track. I think I can produce the same speed as him, but at the moment his whole package is better, he is like top three in nine out of ten starts.
MXLarge: Even this weekend, it doesn’t always look like you are riding at your full potential, then suddenly you seem to find you lines and it’s the old Herlings. Is that the case?
Herlings: Depends, in traffic I am always not wanting to mess up and I don’t I don’t want to crash, ruin the season. I want to ride by myself, ride my own speed and I can pass those guys. Sure, we can learn a lot, still my first year. If we had said we were 15th in the championship and get back to second in the championship.
MXlarge: Starts today, the first moto wasn’t great, but within a few corners you were close to the front guy, second moto you were second to Antonio coming out of the first corner. That should give you some confidence for the last rounds.
Herlings: The thing is the 250 you just need the right rpm’s and its ok, with the 450 you need to do so many things correct, so many good guys next to you with good bikes and a lot of experience. I think the KTM 250 is maybe a lot better than the other bikes, but in the 450 class the bikes are a lot closer. I believe in the bike and the team and it is usually KTM or Husky always with the holeshots.
MXlarge: A big one coming up is the Monster Energy United States Grand Prix. How much do you look forward to going to this race?
Herlings: I am going early, I will go on the Tuesday after Sweden. I want to get used to the heat. I have seen the track, and I think it will suit me, but it will also suit the American riders. It’s fast and stuff and it’s going to be really hot. I am going to work with Aldon Baker there for two weeks and I am really excited for that, because he is one of the best trainers out there, and I am very excited for that. KTM gave me the chance to combine that, because he is also based in Florida.
MXlarge: No Eli Tomac for the MXoN, is that disappointing for you and do you understand his situation?
Herlings: I do, and those guys start their series in January and I think they train for like two months before the season begins, so then they have that until May and then the Outdoors starts and that goes until August. Then the USGP and Monster Cup, so he has nearly no time off, because if you take time off you can’t do the higher level. Maybe I would do the same in his position.
MXlarge: What about racing him at the USGP?
Herlings: Man, Tomac on a good day, that guy is gnarly, super, super fast.
MXlarge: Fastest rider in the world on his good day?
Herlings: I think so. Maybe if you put the guy in Loket, it would be a different, but at home, in America, you take out guys like Stewart and Villopoto, who have stopped, then yes, he is the fastest currently, the fastest guy on the planet.