Estonian motocross team hopes to continue its success at the Motocross des Nations

Team Estonia's Harri Kullas racing at the 2017 Motocross des Nations in Matterley Basin, the United Kingdom. Photo by Rauno Kais.

The Estonian motocross team is attending the 71st Motocross des Nations, held in Michigan, the United States, hoping to continue the success it has seen in the past seven years.

The Motocross des Nations is an annual team motocross race where motocrossriders representing their country have met since 1947. The race is held in a different country each year, with this year’s event taking place in Buchanan, Michigan, on the Red Bud motocross track. Last year, the event was held in Matterley Basin, the United Kingdom, and the year before in Maggiora, Italy. The last time the event took place in the United States was in 2010, in Lakewood, Colorado.

Team Estonia's Tanel Leok (number 16, blue shirt) racing in Matterley Basin, the UK, in 2006. Photo by Rauno Kais.

Team Estonia has taken part in the global motocross event since 1993 and throughout the years, it has seen considerable success in the race. The team has finished in the top 10 for the last seven years straight, with the best year being 2015, when the team finished fourth. And even before the seven-year stint, the team finished in the top 10 altogether seven times. Last year, the Estonian team – Tanel Leok, Harri Kullas ja Priit Rätsep – came eighth.

The event as it’s held today consists of three separate events or power classes – the MXGP, the MX2 and the Open. According to Rauno Kais, the secretary general of the Estonian Motorcycling Federation, Team Estonia takes part in all three power classes. “The way the racing works is, all racers in all power classes participate in the race together and the weakest result will be invalidated,” Kais explained.

Tanel Leok – the Estonian Express

Tanel Leok. Photo by Rauno Kais.Team Estonia has so far picked the candidates for the team to participate in the Motorcross des Nations. Among the candidates are racers who have taken part in the World championship, the European championship and the Estonian championship races in this season. The Team Estonia to go to race in Michigan are Tanel Leok, Harri Kullas and Hardi Roosiorg.

“For Tanel Leok, it’s the 18th time to participate in the Motocross des Nations,” Kais noted. “Thanks to that, he’s currently holding the record of attendance. No other person has started in the Motocross des Nations 18 times and consecutively and it won’t happen in the next ten years or more.”

“Leok’s nickname is the Estonian Express,” Kais added. “And every year he’s participated he has come out on top.”

The Motocross des Nations will be held on 6-7 October, and Kais invites everyone who can to attend and root for Team Estonia. “The Red Bud track is only an hour-and-a-half drive from Chicago, which in American terms is pretty close,” he said. “It is the largest motocross event in the world and it would great to have Estonians rooting for the team and waving the blue-black-and-white flags at the track.”

Team Estonia with fans at the 2017 Motocross des Nations in Matterley Basin, the United Kingdom.

The adult tickets for the whole weekend start at USD130 and can be purchased online.

I

Cover: Team Estonia’s Harri Kullas racing at the 2017 Motocross des Nations in Matterley Basin, the United Kingdom. Photo by Rauno Kais.

Enjoyed this article?
Please consider becoming a supporter.


About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor at Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain, the UK and all around the US, he now resides in Chicago, IL. He loves to write and besides working at Estonian World and doing some occasional blogging, he writes books and contributes to other outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at sten@estonianworld.com.