A world championship motocross race event contains many moments. Moments of excitement, moments of despair, moments of unadulterated joy. For the fan visiting the races, all of these mould themselves into a blur of experiences. Sometimes, one single moment during the weekend overshadows all else, so much so that the post race chatter focuses on nothing else. Tanel Leok had a starring role in such a moment at the British Motocross Grand Prix at Matterley Basin. By now every motocross fan knows what we are referring to, but for the sake of historical correctness, we’ll let the tale unfold in the correct chronological order.
Tanel was riding on a wave of confidence after another sterling outing at the Czech Grand Prix, and he came out of his corner swinging. After posting the fifth fastest time in the free practice session, he had the afterburners of his TM on full thrust during the qualifying session, and blitzed to the fastest time. He used his pole position to good effect in the qualifying race, and finished fourth on in his Saturday shift close enough to world championship leader Antonio Cairoli to smell his aftershave.
Tanel was again second during Sunday morning warm up, and it all augured well for a good race day for the Red Bull – backed rider. He had definitely found his start muse somewhere in a darkened alley, for in race 1 he was again part of the leading group as the bikes rounded the first corner of the challenging track. He coaxed every ounce of performance out of his sky-blue bike, and again he gave Cairoli a hard run for his money all the way to the flag, finishing in fourth position.
The sun seemed to be shining brightly for the Estonian Express, but in race two the incident we referred to in our introductory paragraph unfolded. Tanel was in the thick of things again and moving forward, when a problem prevented him from clearing a quadruple jump. Scotsman Billy Mackenzie was already committed to the jump, and he landed squarely on the back of the TM. Both riders went down hard with a thud that looked as if it might have moved the earth two degrees off its axis. Tanel dragged himself painfully to the side of the track, whilst Mackenzie worryingly lay very still for a while. Fortunately, both riders later proved to have suffered no serious injuries from a crash that, from the outside looked very serious indeed. Footage of the crash quickly made it onto the viral network, and you can view it here. Anyone who witnesses it will not be surprised at all to know that Tanel did not line up for the restart of the race.
Despite not being able to participate in the restart of race two, Tanel maintained his world championship standing of eleventh. He was understandably feeling rather battered and bruised when the time for the obligatory post-race report came. “I am quite stiff and sore,” he said. “I had a check up and there is a hairline fracture of the tail bone. It is not too serious and I should be ready to race at Gaildorf again.”
Tanel will use the short break in the racing program to good effect to recover for the penultimate round of the world championship series at Gaildorf, Germany in two weeks’ time.