Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tanel Leok took fifth position overall at the Grand Prix of Great Britain on Sunday, the young Estonian riding the factory KX450F-SR went 6-4 to score 33 points which fulfils his goal of another top five in the sports most demanding category, the premier MX1 class. High temperatures and a big crowd made the Matterley Basin circuit near Winchester a colourful spectacle for the eight round of the fifteen race world motocross championship, the circuit was lined with flag waving, air-horn wielding fans.

The Matterley Basin, an impressive new venue prepared with the Motocross Of Nations in mind planned for mid September, was sun-baked hard and despite watering between motos soon turned dusty. The valley setting gave all around viewing for the many man made jumps, banked berms and whoop section, the pace was very fast and there was no time to back off the throttle. Leok suffered from poor starts but still managed to end his opening lap well within the top ten. In race one despite early promise Tanel lost ground to championship rival, Belgian Kevin Strijbos, the air are fighting over second position in the championship standing but Tanel was struggling to get grip and drive and lost positions in the process. The outcome of race two looked even more promising from the end of lap four as the Kawasaki ace moved to third position after a braking bump caught out Everts and he fell. Now in third position, Tanel as so focused on catching Strijbos he failed to hear Everts catching him and was caught unawares as he landed from a jump, forced wide he ended up fighting to maintain his speed with severe arm pump.

Kawasaki test rider Bas Verhoeven made two very poor starts I his two 35 minute plus two lap outings, a small crash in race one saw him circulating at the back of the field until being lapped double race winner Everts. Now able to see new lines he followed in Everts wheel tracks and knocked five second per lap off his time to confirm his capabilities to ride the big 450cc four stroke Kawasaki at speed. Struggling mid pack for the better part of race two, Bas, a former multi Dutch Champion managed to find a good turn of speed by his own accord and came through to salvage one points for his hard fought efforts.

Quotes :

Tanel Leok “I was really struggling to put together a fast lap in qualification, every time I went for a quick one either someone was in my way or a made a small mistake, I posted 6th fastest in lap 8 of 11, I wasn’t too sure what to expect here, it’s a new circuit and no one has raced here before, in fact they were still building the jumps when I arrived. It was quite loose on top in places but hard and slippery beneath the surface making it hard to get good drive. It was very dusty I places and they should have watered better I think, some places I couldn’t see anything. In race one I was just inside of the top ten, I didn’t make a good drop at the gate, I held onto 7th position but lost ground to Strijbos, I was getting a lot of wheel spin and hitting the dust berms to keep up my corner speed, inside lines would have been too slippery. I finished 6th but I know I could do better.”

Leok “I was fighting with the guys up front in race two, I was battling with arm pump but Everts fell and I moved to third position, I was focused on catching and passing Strijbos in second place, he’s now ahead of me in the championship and I wanted to get by him. I was so intend on attacking that I forgot to defend and Everts caught me up and passed me as we landed over the finish table top jump, he took me wide and I was in the loose dirt almost hitting the fence. I was back to 4th position, the arm pump didn’t go away and I just tried to ride with it, I could see Ramon had been passed by both Everts and Strijbos but I could just catch him in time. I know that I had a lot more speed but it wasn’t safe to go for it as my arms were so tight, I think it was nerves as I was trying so hard to catch Strijbos but of course that’s why Everts caught and passed me.”

Bas Verhoeven “I took 26th position in qualification, no that good but enough to qualify, my fastest lap was slower in the first half but I really managed to pick up the pace after the intermediate timing point. I made a very bad start and caught up I the pack I went backwards unable to see the lines and generally messing things up. I made a small crash which knocked my rhythm but towards the end of the race I was lapped by Stefan Everts, that was the best thing that could happen at that time, he showed me new lines and I stuck with his rear wheel and my lap times improved by five seconds per lap. In race two I was riding too defensive and started going backwards and slipped out of the top twenty, I was circulating at the back of the field but without getting lapped I managed to improve my lap times by a couple of second and went on to finish 20th at least scoring one point.”



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