LeClair got the initial holeshot from third on the grid but that lead was quickly wrestled away by championship leader Trevor Dion, who stormed away out front with LeClair holding on to second.
Dion’s pace was too much for anyone to match, as he eventually built up over a five-second lead past the halfway point. Then, just as many thought the LDS Consultants Kawasaki rider had sealed another crucial victory, Dion crashed in turn two and relinquished the lead to LeClair and second place to David MacKay.
LeClair would hold that lead the rest of the way, cruising to a debut win in what has been a surprising weekend for the bLU cRU Yamaha star.
“I was hoping I’d have some pace in the second half to claw some time back, but then I saw Trevor down in turn two and I just made sure to bring it home,” LeClair said.
MacKay ultimately held on to second for the Fast Company Kawasaki team, but will only chip away at his title deficit by two points, as Dion amazingly recovered to salvage another podium in third – making six podiums in six career national Sport Bike races.
“I honestly have no idea what happened, it just dropped away from me,” Dion explained. “I was trying to pick the bike up and I saw Jake and David go by me, so when I got back up I just tried to bring home as many points as possible.”
Dion will cling to a 14-point lead heading into race two at AMP on Sunday, but with MacKay chipping away at the deficit with only three races remaining on the year.
Matthew Simpson rode a solid race to salvage fourth, benefitting from a pair of incidents ahead of him and outlasting a thrilling battle with veteran Louie Raffa, who mustered fifth behind the Evans Racing Yamaha.
A poor weekend got worse for Elliot Vieira, who started sixth and finished sixth after a mechanical issue briefly forced him out of the race. Vieira was running a lonely race in fourth, but ran into more issues with his Snow City Yamaha, leaving him now 25 points adrift of the championship lead.
Atlantic Motorsport Park
Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike Race 1 Results - 18 laps
1. Jake LeClair, Yamaha
2. David MacKay, Kawasaki
3. Trevor Dion, Kawasaki
4. Matthew Simpson, Yamaha
5. Louie Raffa, Honda