After a long journey home from Portugal, Route77energy Honda continued the season with the fourth round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship at Milton MX Park outside Northampton.
With both riders fighting fit, qualifying in the morning looked positive and a sign of things to come. Tanel Leok put in the third-fastest time, which he improved by a place in the super-pole session. Jason Dougan qualified sixth, but lost four spots in the super-pole to start the races in tenth.
Leok put on a stunning display of racing in the first by exiting the first corner in the lead and running away with it. Untouchable throughout the entire race, he took the win by a margin of over five seconds. Hoping to repeat his performance, he launched out of the gate in the second race. Although in second behind Welshman Shane Carless in the first lap, he soon found himself embroiled in a heated battle for the lead with fellow Grand Prix veteran Jonathan Barragán, one he took top honours in and finishing the race with Barragán hot on his heels. Disaster struck in the final race. In second behind fellow Honda rider Nicolas Aubin and trying to ride smart, he looked to take home the win. With just minutes remaining on the clock, he developed a mechanical fault which forced him out of the race, costing him enough points to only end fourth on the day. The consolation prize is the fact that he retains the championship lead by a slim margin.
For Dougan, the day was yet another harsh lesson. Through the first corner in third and settling into fourth, he treated the team and spectators to a display of what everyone knows he is capable of. But, much to his frustration, he developed a mechanical fault two thirds into the race, costing him his place and losing valuable points. Determined to make up for it in the second race, he found himself in third through the first few corners of the first lap. Then disaster struck again. A loss of traction on the wet and slippery clay surface pitched him over the bars at speed, knocking his head hard. Nursing a concussion, he had to return to the paddock and sit out the remainder of the day.
Commented team principal Mark Chamberlain: “Mixed day, that seems to be the usual call, and when you think you’ve got motocross nailed, it really chucks you a curve ball. Jason got a great start in the first race, was in fourth and looked comfortable, and he really needed that, and then he mysteriously lost drive. We think it may be a gearbox issue. In the second race he had a pretty big crash and that was the end of his day. Tanel went one-one and second would’ve been fine in the last race but it wasn’t to be – he had a problem with his clutch. We know he’s heavy on them and it was a new clutch before the race, but it’s a hydraulic one and you never know when it’s going to go, but who knows. We’ll look into it, we’re disappointed overall, yet in a weird way happy we’re still championship leader.
Jason Dougan (#85): The first race was ok, had a decent start, came through to fourth and then with four laps to go, something happened to the gearbox and I couldn’t finish. I’m happy with my riding though. In the second race I gated about fifth and managed to get to third and then wheel-spun off one of the table tops because of the rain. I had a big crash, landed on my head pretty hard and ended up with a concussion, so I was done for the day.
Tanel Leok (#40): The first two races were good, I had the win. In the last race we had a mechanical issue while I was second behind Aubin. I’m happy with the red plate, but we’ve lost a lot of valuable points, which is disappointing