Easter Weekend is arguably one of the biggest weekends on the Dutch motocross calendar; it is time for the Grand Prix of the Netherlands. With much of European the icy grip of winter, it certainly made for a very different race weekend than the usual. After many years, the track returned to its old start, as well as running in reverse direction. The frozen ground also led to comments that the track was not its usual deep sandy texture, but more hard pack and slippery.
With team rider Jason Dougan ruled out for the weekend and the European championship not running at this round, it fell to Tanel Leok to put in a good effort for the team. After a twelfth place in pre-qualifying practice, Leok then improved this to a tenth place in the bracing qualifying race late on Sunday afternoon.
On Easter Monday, temperatures warmed somewhat, although the biting wind added an uncomfortable wind chill factor. The first race went to the line at quarter past one and here Leok put in a very solid performance from start to finish by repeatedly challenging for third before settling into a solid fourth place. In the second race, another strong start placed him in eighth. A problem with his rear brake left the Estonian unable to ride the way he needed and wanted to, preventing him from making much progress and putting him at a disadvantage against rivals Searle, Gonçalves and Roelants. That aside Leok still raced across the finish line in eleventh, taking a respectable eighth overall on the day.
Commented team principal Mark Chamberlain: “Overall it was a good weekend. The team’s got to take a lot of pride from the first race. It is not easy competing at this level but we’re doing an alright job, I believe. You can’t run with those guys if you can’t start with them, and Tanel got the start, went forward and that was a good fourth. In the second race, he started well again and had a good first couple of laps, but halfway in he lost his rear brake as he was closing in on Paulin. It looks like the rear master cylinder seal went but that aside it’s a solid weekend and we’re moving in the right direction.”
Tanel Leok (#40): The weekend went alright. The first race was very good, was fourth after a very good start. The second race also had a good start, but then suddenly I lost all brake pressure in the rear brake and had to finish in eleventh. The result is still good, eleventh, but on the track where I thought I could do much better, it was mostly disappointing. But I’m happy because I’ve wanted to give the team good results, but it’s a pity that this happened at a track where I feel good. I’m happy with the speed and my starts.
The team now returns to the third round of the Maxxis British Motocross Championship at Lyng in Norfolk this weekend.