New 2012 Rockstar Energy World MX1 rider Tanel Leok will have his first major International outing for the team onboard the GRP-prepared RM-Z450 Suzuki this weekend at the Le Touquet Beach Race in France.
The 26-year-old Estonian will also have 2011 Le Touquet victor Steve Ramon in his Pits to help him through the gruelling 1000+ rider, three-hour event that runs over a 20 kilometre lap through the sand dunes at the popular northern holiday resort.
Leok will carry Ramon's 2011 Le Touquet-winning #411 plate on his modified RM-Z450 machine that is fitted with a larger-capacity fuel tank, higher-gearing to pull at least 150km+ on the straight, a longer swing-arm plus a speedometer; presumably so he knows when to shut-off and slow down at the end of the two-mile straight during the event that has been forecast to be hit by heavy snow and icy conditions over the weekend.
Said Leok: "I'm looking forward to the race even though I know it will be a tough one. Two weeks ago we entered a similar race in Hossegor in France to get acquainted with these kind of races and conditions. It was the first time I've done one of these Endurance-type races and I learnt a lot in the process. I definitely feel more comfortable going into Le Touquet now than before."It's very different from MX1 GPs and the racing that I'm used to, but I love riding tracks in sand like this, so it's cool to have the opportunity to race with the support of the Suzuki Factory team. It's probably going to be more ice than sand, but the situation is the same for everyone."
Former World Champion Ramon - Suzuki's first Le Touquet Enduro winner - is still recovering from injuries sustained last season at the Lommel GP. He said: "I would have loved to race here myself but I still have some ground to cover after my crash in Lommel. My fitness is progressing well but it's not at the level you need to have when entering a race like this. I really like the race because there's nothing else that comes close; the endurance, the 100.000 people around the 20km track, the atmosphere... I love returning to Le Touquet."