Round 5 Report: Michael Leon

5-5-5, Leon Finishes 5th Overall After Two 5th Place Finishes at CTMP

Royal Distributing Superbike racer, Michael Leon finished 5th overall in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship after two 5th place results in the final races of the season held at the legendary Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly known as Mosport) last weekend, August 10th-12th.   Michael had a career ride in the final race on Sunday, which series announcers were declaring “THE BEST” Canadian Superbike race ever.  The weekend’s Supebike races will be broadcast on TSN beginning Monday Aug 20th for Race 1 with Race 2 scheduled in the coming weeks.  The races will subsequently available for viewing on the CSBK YouTube Channel.

Qualifying at the high-speed Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is unique within the National series, the only event where the top eleven riders are given special “Q” rear qualifying tires courtesy of Dunlop and Pro 6 Cycle.  This special rear tire provides an increased level of rear grip, but last only for approximately 2 laps before the performance dramatically drops off.  Riders have a 15-minute SuperPole session in which to take advantage of the additional grip to set a fast lap time.  Unfortunately, Michael was not able to capitalize on this and went slower on the Q tire.  Heading into the SuperPole session, he was 4th fastest with a time of 1:22.228.   When all was said and done, he sat in 10th at the end of SuperPole with a time of 1:22.711, half a second slower!    “Well, I really screwed that up!” Commented Michael after the 15 minute session.  “The Q tire is so hard to adapt to.  It gives so much more grip.  I got an amazing drive out of corner One on both laps.  You arrive into 2 going about 5 km/hour faster.  Since we are on the same front tire, it’s a judgment call to brake a little extra, and set the corner entry speed to what it would be on a typical lap.  On both of my Q tire laps, I broke a little too much and messed up my lap.”  

For Saturday’s Superbike race, Leon started from the third row.   He did not get the best start and was 9th across the stripe at the end of the first lap.  He set about systematically moving forward through the field.  By mid race he was running in 5th place, chasing rival, Trevor Daley.  With a few laps to go, Trevor had a huge moment in corner one, and Leon was able to take advantage of it.  Daley responded immediately, re-taking the position on the exit of corner 3.   During the final laps, arriving upon back markers at inopportune spots on the track, spoiled any last chance efforts that Michael had to challenge for 4th.  He finished fifth, three seconds behind 4th place and 25 seconds behind the winner, Ben Young.  It was Young’s first win.  “I had a fun race with Trevor!  We have been evenly matched all year.  I was spinning it up pretty good out of corner 3 towards the end which made it challenging.  We’ll look to improve that for tomorrow” Michael commented

During Sunday morning warmup, crew chief, Kyle Blakely made a very small but important change to the rear shock.  It provided more traction on the exit of corner 3.  Things were looking good for the race.

Once again, Michael’s attempt at a good start failed when the flag dropped on Sunday.  Starting from the 2nd row, he ended the first lap in 7th place.   Over the opening laps, Michael worked his way forward to 5th place, again chasing Daley.  “Once I slotted in behind Trevor, I could see that we were slowly reeling in the leaders.  I was making an effort to show him a wheel on the straight when I could, even though on some laps I knew that I couldn’t pull off the pass.  Out of three, I had a little more grip and was trying to get the bike stood up early and save the tire.”  Commented Michael. 

At the halfway point, Michael moved into 4th and set about chasing down the lead group, now 4 seconds away.  A few laps later, Samuel Trepanier overtook Leon while Daley crashed out behind with bike problems.   Sam and Michael began to reel in the lead group during the closing laps.  On lap 14, Leon set the second fastest lap of the race, his personal best to date (1:21.455).  On the final lap of the season, the top five riders crossed the line within 0.6 seconds.  The finishing order was: Kenny Riedmann, Ben Young, Samuel Trepanier, Jordan Szoke and Michael Leon.  “What a great race!” Commented Michael in the pits after the race.  “So close to the podium again.  The rear tire held up better than yesterday.  That small change helped so much.  Can’t believe I set my fastest lap on the 14th.  The bike was working amazing. Huge thanks to Kyle and Joe for working so hard to make that happen this weekend and all season. And just like that, the season is over.  Booo, I wish we had some more races.  That S1000RR was a weapon. Thanks to Pro 6 Cycle for the front running motor! Also, thanks to Royal Distributing and BMW Canada for helping make the year possible. Congrats to Kenny and Ben for their first wins and to Jordan for another Championship win.” 

The Royal Distributing Superbike Team completes the 2018 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship in 5th place overall. 

The Royal Distributing Racing Team would like to thank Royal Distributing, Pro 6 Cycle, Dunlop USA, BMW Motorrad Canada, Windmill Motorsports, Bell Helmets, Joe Rocket Canada, Five Gloves, TCX Boots, Hindle Exhaust, Liqui Moly Canada, Motovan, Performance Friction, Perry Performance, Forsaken Motorsports, Apex Brakelines, GianMajor Inc., Armour Bodies, Woodcraft, MWR Air Filters, Bickle Racing, Dave Smith and Vortex Racing Sprockets.

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