Those who have spent time with Tanel Leok over the years and witnessed the him in the pits during qualifying, may recognize the scene. The Estonian Express will come in to check on his progress, glance at the monitor, and if the name next to the number 1 slot does not read Tanel Leok, the square jaw will chisel itself sharper, the eyes narrowing a tad. Wordlessly, he will grasp his goggles from his mechanic and with his peculiar rocking motion kick the bike to life to try again for the fastest lap time. This weekend, at the second round of the Italian motocross championships at Montevarchi, this scene repeated itself once again.
The past few weeks have been good for Tanel. He has grown increasingly familiar with his new De Carli Yamaha and with his new team surroundings. With wife Karoliina and son Sebastian joining him for this race, his proverbial cup ran over, and his motivation levels were well in the overdrive zone. When he therefore got displaced from the top of the qualifying board late in the qualifying session, there was therefore no doubt what his line of action would be. He went out for yet another lap, and casually as if it were a stroll down the aisle in his local supermarket, he posted yet another fastest lap to claim the pole position in his qualifying group.
Alas for arguably the fastest lap for-lap-rider in world championship motocross today, the holy grail of consistent good starts still proves to be elusive. As teammate Antonio Cairoli scurried off the start line like a troubled banker in search of a government handout, Tanel was labouring down in 10th position. He quickly started setting matters to order on the hillside track with its magnificent view over the Tuscan countryside, however. Over the course of the 17 laps, the two De Carli Yamaha teammates clearly underscored that on this day, there were a class apart. By the sixth lap, Tanel was in second position, and bearing down on Cairoli. The Italian cast a few worried glances over his shoulder, but in the end managed to secure the win by a tad over three seconds. Tanel was just about breathing down the former world champion's neck, posting the fastest time of the race in the penulti mate lap, whilst the third placed rider came home more than half a minute adrift.
RIDING BLUE OBVIOUSLY SUITS TANEL
In the second race, the planets came into alignment for the Estonian Express and he charged into the first corner in third position. His speed throughout the day meant that this could lead to only one result if he were to manage to keep the plot upright. By the second lap, he had taken over the lead from Cairoli the die was cast as he breezed to a 15 second victory.
There was much merriment in the team camp after a successful day and even the master of stoicism Tanel could not suppress a smile. His overall victory on the day catapulted him to the lead in the Italian Championship series, and he holds a 2 point advantage over teammate Cairoli going into the third round next weekend at Ponte A Egola.