I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like this in Motorsports. Eli Tomac was well out in front at his hometown race in Denver, just two races away from his second 450 Supercross Championship in a row and third in the last four years. Fate, unfortunately, had different plans for ET3, as he would rupture his Achilles tendon while leading his hometown race in Denver, in what is now one of the biggest crowd-silencing moments in the history of Monster Energy Supercross.
You Could Hear a Pin Drop
Just very hard to put this situation into words. Where Tomac ultimately suffered the injury was a very odd place for that to happen, on what appeared to be just a routine pass through a rhythm lane. To Ricky Carmichael's credit, he pointed this out right away and I agree with his assessment, it feels like he ruptured it on the takeoff of that triple as opposed to the landing. You can see his ankle just bounce off the peg very awkwardly in the video down below. Just an absolute freak accident, and from there on out save for some Ken Roczen passes during his charge up to second place, it was eerily silent at Mile High Stadium.
Achilles Rupture Injury Timeline
As you could see on the ride back to the Alpinestars Medical Truck and on his way inside, Tomac wasn't even coming close to putting any pressure on his left foot. This goes without saying but Achilles injuries are no joke and are long-term in every sport imaginable. According to the folks over at Mass General Brigham Hospital in Boston, their Rehab Protocol for Achilles Rupture/Tears could last possibly upwards of six months, with extensive rehab and timeline goals up and to that point. In short, he's done for the calendar year for certain, and possibly into the early part of 2024 as well depending on how things go for the rest of the year.
Is This the End for Eli Tomac?
Given his age situation, contract situation, and on top of the fact he has nothing left to prove as a rider at this point, I think it's fair to question if we'll ever see Eli Tomac ever again. The fact that I'm even saying that is devastating as a long-time Tomac fan, but this is becoming more of a young man's game by the year, and there's no guarantee he's as good as he was from A1 2022 to now if he comes back. And he was at his peak in that timeframe.
And again, Tomac has legitimately nothing left to prove as a rider. Every last box he needed to check off over the last 18 months, he did. He swept the Supercross and Motocross titles in the same year, finally won Motocross Des Nations, and broke a decade-long dry spell for the United States. And maybe biggest of all, eclipsed James Stewart for second on the all-time premier class Supercross wins list. If this is it for him, he's my No. 4 AMA-based rider ever as is, I just selfishly hope it isn't. For an all-time talent to go out like this would be devastating. But if he comes back in 2024 at this level and somehow wins a title indoors or out, or is even remotely competitive for a title or race wins, we're talking about one of the greatest stories in this genre of racing.
Main Image via FELD