Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac added another accolade to his 2022 dream season and won his first ESPY Award in the Best Athlete, Men’s Action Sports Category. Recognized for his stellar Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, which saw him take his second title in the premier class, the Coloradan joins an exclusive list with some of the biggest names in the action sports world. Names like Tony Hawk, Ryan Nyquist, Dave Mirra, Shaun White, Travis Pastrana, and fellow supercross rider – Ryan Dungey.
“It’s special to win this award, and it’s very cool for the sport of Supercross,” Tomac said. “This year was that sort of season for us. It was just a refreshing, successful season, and we were able to do everything the right way and come out with the championship. That was the goal, and it ended up happening; it was just a dream season for us.”
The annual awards ceremony hosted by ESPN recognizes major sporting achievements and the best athletes in the world, with fans voting across 35 different categories. In the men’s action sports category, Tomac was the only entry from motorcycle racing and was joined by three Olympic Gold Medal Athletes - American freestyle skier Alexander Hall, Japanese skateboarder Yuto Horigome, and Japanese snowboarder Ayumu Hirano. For the 2022 450SX Supercross Champion, the outpouring of support that came from supercross and motocross fans was the best part of winning the award.
“That was super cool,” Tomac said. “It just goes to show that there is a lot of enthusiasm in our sport, and that was awesome to see. What’s cool about this award is that it’s the fan’s choice. I think our sport’s in a really healthy position right now, and everyone’s loving supercross, and I’m glad that I was able to represent the sport.”
It’s another achievement to add to a supercross season that saw Tomac take the title and climb his way up the all-time list to tie Chad Reed for fourth with 44 career wins. There were a lot of great moments during the season, including a record-breaking sixth victory at the legendary Daytona International Speedway and an impressive five-race win streak with a victory at the Seattle Supercross. His first win with his new team early in the year at the Anaheim 2 Supercross was also one for the memory books, but it was more than just one moment for the multi-time champ.
“I would say it was just the whole process of getting to where we ended up that stands out to me,” Tomac explained. “I think about my first day on the motorcycle to getting the championship wrapped up in Denver; it’s the whole journey that I love to look back on. And to do it with the Yamaha team, it was just a fun year and that usually ends with a good result.”
Jim Roach, the Yamaha Racing Department Manager for YMUS, congratulates Tomac on receiving his first ESPY award: “Eli, being only the second supercross rider to claim an ESPY in this category, is having an amazing year. He clinched the 450 Supercross Championship a weekend early and is now leading the Pro Motocross Championship. Eli definitely puts in the hard work, which, coupled with his focus, drive, and riding ability, enables him to have the success that landed him this amazing recognition! Great job, and congratulations!”
Jeremy Coker, the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 Team Manager, echoes the praise for Tomac and his 2022 achievements thus far. “It’s been an incredible year,” Coker said. “We knew if we gave him the bike he would accomplish great things, but he’s been phenomenal. There is no one more deserving of this award this year, and we couldn’t be happier for him.”
Tomac has also been enjoying success aboard the Yamaha YZ450F in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. So far, he has nine moto wins and is currently riding a seven-moto win streak that saw him claim the points lead at the previous round in Millville, Minnesota. He heads into this weekend’s Washougal National in Washougal, Washington, with a five-point lead and 10 motos remaining in the championship. So what’s the secret to success? Does he feel like he’s a different Eli this year?
“I do,” Tomac answered. “Having two kids now it’s a total blessing, and the way my family life is has also been a huge part of my success. It’s about having everything go smoothly and being in the right environment surrounded by people that have the same mindset as you. I’ve just been enjoying the sport and enjoying riding my motorcycle. It’s all of that combined.”
After a 17-round supercross season and six rounds into the outdoor season, the first race of the year on January 8th in Anaheim, California, seems like a long time ago. Add to that his resounding success, and one might easily forget that this is actually Tomac’s first year with the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team and racing the YZ450F.
“That’s another thing I look back on. It’s like, ‘wow, we did this in year one,’” Tomac said. “That’s a credit to the whole team, and all of us working well together. It often takes a year or two to get everything sorted out, but we found success right away.”