Misfortune Robs Leok of Dutch Championship Victory

ith the confetti from his recent wedding still sticking here and there, Tanel Leok dutifully reported for service at the penultimate round of the Dutch motocross championships at Mill. Through a combination of injury and other commitments, the Estonian Express had only participated in one round of the series thus far, and therefore a defense of his Dutch title as such was not on the cards. His objective, therefore, was to string in as many race - and overall victories as possible in the rounds that he does participate in.

For the event, former Dutch Championship strong man George Strik prepared a track that would test the abilities of the protagonists to the full. One particularly challenging portion of the track consisted of a difficult-to-master rhythm section that, especially in the early stages of qualifying, reduced some of the world's best sand riders to seemingly bumbling beginners. No so for Mr Leok. Belying the often quoted, but wholly untrue perception that he is a brutish rider with no finesse, he glided through the section and blitzed around the rest of the track to set a qualifying time close on 2 seconds faster than second-placed Marc De Reuver. 

Tanel surged to the front of heat 1 on his factory Kawasaki, but it was title contender Patrick Roos who nipped the holeshot as a full field of open class machines roared into action. Within two corners, Tanel had claimed the lead, and in a very short space of time, created a sizeable gap on the rest of the field, with cousin and championship leader Aigar by now riding shotgun in second place. With the race reaching its mature stage, local favourite Marc De Reuver had pushed through to second spot, and there were worried faces in the Kawasaki pits as Tanel's bike was billowing steam, and seemingly losing power. De Reuver cut the lead short, and the trademark Leok crouch of determination became more and more apparent as Tanel prepared to defend his position with an ailing machine. Unfortunately for hi, the outcome was taken out of his hands as the bike stopped, the drive chain stuck solid. Aga in Tanel had posted far and away the fastest lap time in the race, but a good result was cruelly denied him.

The start of the second heat was a virtual carbon copy of the first. Again it was clan Leok slotting in just behind Roos. Again Tanel set matters to order during the course of the first lap, and form then on, the die was cast. With the large number 1 on his back clinging on for dear life and without him exerting too much effort, he simply pulled away from the field and won the race by more than 40 seconds, lapping up to eighth position. The first-race DNF cost him the overall victory, but the normally reserved Estonian, who was full of beans on the day, was still happy with his day's outing.

Tanel's last appearance on the factory Kawasaki after a four year stint will be at next weekend's final round of the Dutch Championships at Heerde.

Full results are available online.