The end of July was very busy for Michael Leon and the Royal Distributing Racing Team. After the return from the Eastern swing of the Mopar CSBK Shubenacadie Race, the team attended the 4th round of the RACE Superseries (July 28-30) held at the Shannonville Motorsport Park. The team left the RACE weekend with a pair of second place finishes, and followed that up with some testing at Calabogie in preparation for the CSBK season finale.
The 4th round of the RACE Superseries was held on the very tight Nelson circuit, the original layout of SMP. While this track makes passing difficult and challenging for superbikes, it sure provides exciting racing.
The heat races on Saturday were a bit of a struggle for Leon. During the Open Sprint heat race, Michael was keeping pace with fellow S1000RR, and friend, Jeff Williams, when his left handlebar came loose, forcing him to finish the last lap with just one. He was able to finish 4th. Leon would start on the outside of the first row for the Open Sprint Final.
In the most important heat race of the day, Pro Superbike, Michael crashed out of corner 4, after taking the lead from Jeff. “I passed Jeff heading into corner 2. I was able to close the door on his counter attack heading into 3, and knew that he would try to stuff up the inside into corner 4. So, I took a really tight line on the way in but tucked the front on one of the seams in that corner. Jeff had invited my family over to his house that evening for a BBQ , as crazy as it sounds, I was sliding across the tarmac while thinking “ I hope this doesn’t mess up dinner!” It all worked out, we got the bike repaired quickly and were able to hang out at Jeff’s and have a great steak dinner.” commented Michael.
Jeff scored 5 points for the heat race win, and Michael none, with a DNF. This meant that Jeff moved ahead of Michael in the points chase for the RACE Pro Superbike Number 1 plate.
Sunday’s weather provided perfect sunny race conditions. The Open Sprint race was another battle between Jeff and Michael. It ended with Jeff coming out on top for the class win. Michael finished 0.162 seconds behind. Jeff earned the victory and a new class lap record of 54.039 in the process. “There were a few spots that I thought I might be able to show a wheel and put in a crazy pass, but I thought it best to save my cards for Pro Superbike later in the day. Congrats to Jeff, he rode a great race.” Said Michael after the race.
In a heartbreaking moment later that day, Jeff’s bike suffered a mechanical issue when he began to leak fuel on the pre-grid for the Pro Superbike final. His tank fuel line quick connect had failed. The race began without Jeff. Jim Proulx, returning to the series after missing a few rounds, jumped out to an early lead, with Michael moving up to 3rd from his second row start. It took a few laps for Michael to move past Derrick Whyte, taking over second place. Once past Derrick, Michael put his head down and was able to reel in Proulx who had pulled a gap of a few seconds. During those laps, Michael recorded the fastest lap of the race, a time of 53.696 seconds, only a few tenths slower than the Pro Superbike Nelson layout lap record. Once he caught Jim, Michael was not able to make the pass and finished second. “I‘m really happy for Jim. He sure gets the most out of that R1. He rode a great race. Congrats, I’m happy that you are back! I wish Jeff had been in there to mix it up with us, though.” Commented Michael.
Michael gained 37 points for the 2nd place finish and now leads the points chase to keep the RACE Number 1 plate. Elie Daccache is currently in second place, 16 points behind. With his unfortunate DNS, Williams has dropped to 3rd, and is trailing by 35 points. The final round of the RACE Superseries will be held September 22-24 and will be a double header weekend.
Following the racing action, Michael headed to Calabogie Motorsports Park where he was met by well known chassis specialist Dale Rathwell and co-owner of Forsaken Motorsports Etienne Laflèche. They used the Calabogie Pro 6 Cycle track day to test a Forsaken linear shock linkage, Forsaken offset swingarm pivot frame inserts, various shock settings, and spring rates. The goal was to work towards a chassis setup that will work well at the final CSBK event, to be held at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on the Aug 18-20 weekend. The team is very encouraged by the results of the test and looks forward to the final CSBK race.
For further information on Forsaken’s suspension linkages, swingarm pivots inserts or triple clamps, please contact them at http://leonracing.us11.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=dcfa8552640ff75c38bac22bc&id=5b165125dd&e=be52a97962
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