With three races left in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, all eyes are fixated on Star Racing Yamaha and 450SX points leader Eli Tomac.
Tomac leads the championship by 11 points over Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb, handing the red-plated No. 1 rider a slim margin for error as the series settles at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., this weekend for round 15 of 17.
The Colorado native and his new YZ450F have proven to be a deadly combination this year, with a string of impressive performances since the gate first dropped in January. Among his myriad of accomplishments, Tomac has relished 10 podium finishes and seven victories, placing him as the second winningest rider in Supercross history with 51 career wins.
He is in the midst of chasing his third premier class title.
SPEED SPORT caught up with Star Racing Yamaha team manager Jeremy Coker on Friday afternoon to discuss the team’s success this season.
Q: Can you talk about the season and what it’s been like to see Eli break so many records?
COKER: Oh, it’s been a phenomenal season for sure. And yeah, the record breaking just adds to it. We don’t try to even think about that. Obviously, our goal is the championship at the end of the year, and we’re doing it.
I think our bad nights have been a little worse than we would want them to be. Otherwise, I think our points lead, it’d be quite a bit more — we’ve won seven races and only have an 11-point lead. But it’s been a phenomenal year.
Q: One of your goals when you brought Tomac to Star Racing Yamaha was to extend his career and bring enjoyment back into his racing. Now that he’s extended his contract into the Pro Motocross season, how rewarding is that for you to see?
COKER: When we signed him, we kind of thought that he would have one more year and he’d be done. And that was kind of his plan. But he’s continued to have fun and really enjoy the sport and he keeps wanting to race.
So hopefully, I can keep him going and keep going even another year.
Q: Even with the noteworthy records he breaks, Tomac is very reserved about his accomplishments. What do you see from him behind the scenes? Do you see him get excited about it, or is he pretty focused?
COKER: I don’t think he even thinks about those records. He definitely cares about them. I mean, I think deep down inside, everybody cares about them. But he shows up to the race to race and win that night and eventually win the championship.
I think that’s his biggest goal — the same thing as us.
Q: Obviously, this is crunch time. How do you guys approach these last couple of races?
COKER: With three races to go and an 11-point lead, it’s kind of management mode.
But we definitely have to limit the damages on our bad nights. Like you saw last week when he was in second, he could have probably pushed to go after the lead, but didn’t need to. And that’s kind of where we’re at now.
I think, let’s just let’s do what we need to do to win the championship.
Q: As team manager, from your side of the sport, what have been some highlights of your season?
COKER: Well, I think winning seven races is a pretty big highlight.
And with three more to go, I hope we can win a total of 10. You know, that’s what we’re here for. Also, the race wins are cool, but the championship is the most important thing. You know, we’re trying to win the war and not just the battles.
That’s something that we all have the vision on.