24 February 2008
After a long spell away from home training in Italy and France, Tanel Leok pointed the nose of his camper in the direction of Valence in the South of France for the second clash of the titans in the 2008 season. The motor club of Valence annually organizes a season opener, and the great and the good of the motocross world descend on the stony track in the industrial are of the town to compete for the sizeable prize pot and early-season bragging rights.
Judging on years gone by, Tanel would not view this as his favourite event, but the competition is good and early season race time invaluable, and the Estonian Express is not known for shying away from a challenge. The bright green Kawasaki duly made its appearance at the track for the training sessions, therefore, and he stopped the qualifying clocks with the fourth fastest lap time, a smidgen more than 3/10ths of a second slower than front man Sebastian Pourcel, who used his wealth of local knowledge to optimum effect.
A missed start was not exactly what the doctor had ordered, but Tanel was forced to take evasive action in the early stages of the race, dropping him outside of the top 10. Unfortunately for him, this was not the last of the misfortune that was in store for him. Charging through the field, he became yet another victim of the dangerous track as he was spat off the bike on a table top jump. Tanel is tough as nails, no argument necessary, and when he was slow to get up, it was clear that this was a extraordinarily hard smack. The medical services attended to him, and he was taken to the local hospital for a check up.
Initial fears of internal injuries fortunately proved groundless, but Tanel has sustained a shoulder injury, which will be checked out on Monday under the expert eye of surgeon to the stars, Dr. Toon Claes in Belgium. At this moment it is still unclear whether he will be able ot race in the international event at Hawkstone Park, England, next week.