Racer Michael Leon had solid results at the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship double header weekend held at the tight and twisty Atlantic Motorsport Park July 15th and 16th. The Royal Distributing sponsored rider finished 5th in the Saturday race on his BMW S1000RR Superbike and improved for a 4th place finish during Sunday’s race.
Michael traveled with his wife and two daughters to the region for a family vacation prior to the event, visiting throughout New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton. They even had the chance to visit Glace Bay, NS, Michael’s father’s home town. The small vacation was beneficial and allowed Michael some time to recover from the bumps and bruises that he sustained when he crashed out of the podium chase at the previous St Eustache event, a few weeks prior. Crew chief, Kyle Blakely also took advantage of the eastern swing of the CSBK series to take a vacation with his wife and 5 month old daughter. The team arrived ready to go!
Much of Thursday practice was rained out, not allowing for much setup time. On Friday, qualifying didn’t go completely as planned and the result was 7th fastest with a time of 1:09.420, slightly slower than Michael’s qualifying time from 2016. A little disappointing, considering that Michael had been 4th fastest in the morning session. 7th meant a 3rd row start for the Saturday Race.
It was an exciting race on Saturday. Michael ran as high as 4th in the opening laps after making an impressive pass around the outside of 2 riders at the same time in corner one. As the laps wound down, Michael was running in 6th in a group with 4th and 5th that was reeling in the battle for 2nd. On the last lap, a crash at the front promoted him to 5th. “I really abused the rear tire trying to hang in there and it didn’t really work out for us with the lappers at the end. “commented Michael.
Overnight, Kyle and Michael made some chassis and fork changes to increase grip at both the front and rear for the next day.
For Sunday’s race, tire choice became a difficult decision. The overcast skies and cooler temperature meant that a soft compound rear Dunlop N-Tec might work at the beginning but begin to fall off and lose grip at the end of the 22 lap race. A medium compound would go the distance but might be a slight disadvantage during the opening laps. The team chose the medium, a bit of a gamble since Michael had not tested that compound over the weekend.
It was another exciting race. By the half way flag, Michael had worked his way up to 4th and was chasing 2nd and 3rd, the trio separated by less than half a second. Unfortunately, the race was red flagged with 5 laps to go. A small consolation to not finishing on the podium was that Michael turned the 3rd fastest lap of the race.
“I felt great. During the last few laps, I could see that Ben and Kenny were struggling a little bit more than I was for grip. My rear tire was still mint! I was planning to start making a move with 3 laps to go. If not for the red flag I would have at least had the chance to try for the podium. This is the strongest that I have ever felt here at Shubie, which is brutal, physically. It feels good to be in the podium hunt at the end of a weekend at such a tough and demanding track!” commented Michael.
Watch the broadcast of the racing action on TSN3 at 1:30 pm on Monday July 24th.
The next event for the team will be at Shannonville for the RACE Superseries regional event. Michael leads the Pro Supebike class in that series by 3 points.
The Royal Distributing Racing Team would like to thank Royal Distributing, Pro 6 Cycle, Dunlop USA, BMW Motorrad Canada, Windmill Motorsports, Bell Helmets, Speed & Strength, Hindle Exhaust, Performance Friction, Perry Performance, Apex Brakelines, Gianmajor Inc., Armour Bodies, Woodcraft, MWR Airfilters, Earth X Batteries, Bickle Racing, Dave Smith, Vortex Racing Sprockets and Mikeymoto Racing.
From a press release