Eli Tomac is entering his second season riding for GEICO Honda with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder.
Last year, Tomac came just six points short of winning the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Lites West title, and that disappointment has turned into a source of motivational fuel for the 19-year old from Colorado.
"When people talk to me about that it makes me a little sour," Tomac said. "But it's going to give me a little extra fight this year, that's for sure."
Tomac knows he's grown from being a skittish rookie at Anaheim 1 into the confident rider who won twice in Supercross in 2011, finished second there and fourth overall during the outdoor season, the best points finish by a GEICO Honda rider in the summer session.
"At first you are all nervous because you've never raced in a stadium full of fans like that," Tomac said. "But you kind of get into the groove. Unfortunately, I got into the groove a little too late during Supercross.
"I know what's coming now, so I feel like I'll be strong from Round 1."
Tomac said he's focused on keeping his competitive edge during the offseason.
"I did a couple of offseason races, the Monster Energy Cup and raced in Bercy (Paris)," Tomac said. "So, that extra seat time helps. Plus, having a whole year under my belt is important."
A native Coloradoan, Tomac started his pro career with a bang by winning the 2010 motocross season opener at Hangtown outside Sacramento, Calif. He would go on to finish sixth in the points that season.
Tomac said he is looking forward to another solid season as a member of the GEICO Honda team.
"The GEICO Honda team is an awesome group," Tomac said. "We all get along well. It's like one big family. Everyone's comfortable with everyone else, so it helps the chemistry of the team."