The mystery as to where Eli Tomac would end up for the 2014 AMA Supercross and 450 Motocross Championships is a mystery no longer. He’s staying where he is.
The GEICO Honda team announced today that both Tomac and his current teammate Wil Hahn will make the move to the 450 class and they’ll do so with GEICO Honda, the Rick Zielfelder, Jeff Majkrzak and Mike Grondahl-owned team expanding next year to include a 450 team.
"As an amateur, GEICO Honda was a team you looked up to," Tomac said in a team release. "They always had a great 250 team and legendary guys like Mike LaRocco and Kevin Windham on their 450s. What we're doing now is a step in a new direction. It's going to be like a whole new program. To be one of the first guys to make it happen is really cool."
With the move to the big class, Tomac becomes the third GEICO Honda rider to do so as he joins Trey Canard and Justin Barcia in making the step from 250s to 450s. Canard and Barcia are members of the Muscle Milk Honda factory team.
partnership that's produced dozens of race wins and the 2012 Supercross
While Tomac’s rise to the top has been quick and included the 2012 250 Supercross West title, Hahn’s path has been a bit rockier. In his first race for the team, Hahn suffered a broken back and spent most of the next two seasons recovering from various injuries. But this year he broke through and captured the 250 Supercross East title.
"I didn't start with them as an amateur, but I feel like I have," Hahn said. "I was around the team a lot when I was younger hanging out with my brother Tommy. I've always felt love from this team and I'm honored they asked me to ride the 450 for them. They stuck behind me during times when a lot of teams would have let me go. They saw something in me, they kept me on, and it paid off for both sides."
Majkrzak said that expanding to two 450 riders is a big step but one the team has been working toward for a long time.
"We only wanted to expand to two 450 riders if we could do it the right way," Majkrzak said. "We wanted to make sure our major partners - GEICO, Honda and AMSOIL - were ready and willing to go on this ride with us. The timing was perfect and we're excited for the team's future with Eli and Wil leading the way for our 250cc and amateur teams."
Tomac and Hahn both said they're excited to make the transition to the top class in familiar surroundings.
"Moving to a 450 is a big enough step as it is," Tomac said. "I would imagine that the transition would be a lot harder if you've got to learn a new motorcycle and a new team. I won't have to do that. I already know this inside and out. I'm excited to get started."
Hahn echoed those thoughts, adding that success as a professional is as much about attitude as it is about parts and pieces.
"Riding for a factory 450 team is something you dream about as a kid," Hahn said. "Everyone on the team has a constant drive and determination to want to win. Everyone works together for that goal. The great part of it is, everything is staying the same: familiar surroundings, same Factory Connection suspension, same engine guy, a Honda motorcycle and the family atmosphere. There's a lot to be said for that."
Both Tomac and Hahn will compete on 450s in the Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 19, according to the team.