When the venue for an open slot in the 2012 world championship motocross calendar was finally announced, the purists shrieked with glee and repaired to the nearest watering hole for a celebratory tipple. Particularly so the purists of Belgian extraction, for the world championship circus would again visit a classic venue of motocross, now almost forgotten. Once again the lush green forests of Bastogne would resound to the battle cry of racing motorcycles at full tilt. It was not to be exactly the classic track of yore, but still the organizers prepared a track that captured all the essence of all that was good of motocross tracks in years gone by.
All the efforts almost came to naught as the weather came, threatened, and finally opened up a full-blown war in the form of non-stop rain the kind of which would have had Noah worried. There were few concerned faces about on Friday and Saturday, for although motocrossers are known to soldier on under the most diabolical of conditions, a fully-flooded track would leave no option but to call the whole thing off.
Be that as it may, the riders went out on Saturday for a timed qualifying session. Tanel Leok, having recently rediscovered his qualifying muse, posted the fastest lap time in the first training session, and finally brutalized his factory Suzuki to third place in the qualifying session.
The weather gods were merciful, and bright sunshine greeted the riders and thousands upon thousands of race fans on Sunday. Not only that, but the Belgian organizers had either discovered the biggest sponge in existence, or the ubiquitous Belgian friteshave previously undiscovered drying properties, for the track was in almost perfect condition. It was perfectly loamy, albeit with a fair sprinkling of loose stones that would make proceedings interesting for following riders, to say the least.
Tanel launched off the line well in the first race, but some riders cutting wildly across his line, and he had to throw out all kind of anchors to keep himself from being pile-driven into the fence. By the time he had sorted this little issue out, he was lagging in the deep 20’s. Some very determined throttle tugging got him into 17th position by the end of the first lap, and from then on his progress resembled the profit graph of a technology company with a new discovery in hand. Although he was severely compromised by the first lap setback, he finally edged into the top 10, finally claiming ninth spot for his troubles.
Having learnt his lesson, the Estonian Express lined up more to the centre of the start line in race two. This time there was far less drama about his race, and after a steady start, he finished seventh. Having collected 26 points, he was credited with 7th position for the day, all the while also firming his grip on 10th position in the world standings. He has in fact homed in substantially on ninth-placed Rui Goncalves, and now trails the Portuguese rider by a single point.
The next GP is at Uddevalla, Sweden, a track that Tanel enjoys. He will have two weeks to prepare himself for the race, which is sure to attract Estonian fans in their hordes as they egg their nation’s best rider on.