Anyone that’s had an involvement with motocross racing for a period of time will be able to conjure up memories of a race where it was a bit muddy. Many will even remember events where the conditions were still spoken about weeks after the fact. And then you get the true epics. Gaildorf 1999. Faenza 2009. And Kester 2012.
Kester is a classic track with a huge fan following. Racers and supporters look forward to this race for a long time, and the passion is more often than not helped along by memorable battles on the track. The 2012 edition was memorable again, but for completely different reasons. Large parts of Europe have been beset by inclement weather of late, and the precipitation simply did not let off in the days preceding the second round of the Belgian championships, with predictable results for the track.
Tanel Leok is not averse to a bit of mud – in fact one of his GP victories came at the aforementioned Faenza event, where the track was just about impassable. Yet somehow the Belgian variety of goo at Kester was different, and he was fighting the traction battle along with everyone else. The Estonian qualified in seventh position on his Rockstar Energy supported factory Suzuki, and prepared himself and his bike with all the accoutrements needed for a mud race.
Tanel started the first race off in second position, but an error on the third lap saw him drop down to fifth. It has to be said that errors were not hard to find, given the track conditions – they simply came marching at you. Tanel thought it best to set all systems on safe, bearing in mind his championship standing. A safe result is in all instances preferable to a crash and the loss of all points, and thus he kept it steady to claim his fifth spot.
Ironically, a worse start in the second race resulted in a better race result for the Estonian Express. He started just inside the top 10, but within a lap, he had wielded his yellow sword with enough skill and enthusiasm to bring him to third place. Up front, Ken De Dycker was having it all his own way, and fellow Belgian Jeremy Van Horebeek was also in great shape on his avowed favourite track. Tanel kept the plot upright, and crossed the line as an unrecognizable bundle of brownness in third position., some 30 seconds ahead of Evgeny Bobryshev in fourth.
The inclement weather and the track conditions that offered not an inkling of hope of any improvement forced the organizers to call it quits after the second race, thereby consigning the planned third race to the dustbin. Tanel was credited with fourth overall, missing the podium by a single point, but, more importantly, he has firmed his grip on second spot in the championship standings.
With the filthy riding gear having been hosed down and then dumped into a thoroughly miffed washing machine, Tanel started his preparations for his next big outing, the Swedish Grand Prix at Uddevalla.
THE WASHING MACHINE COULD BE HEARD GROANING ALL THE WAY TO KOREA
Reporting by Tinus Nel