Round 4 Report: Michael Leon

Well, That Didn't Go As Planned

Good day Everybody,

The 1200 km drive home from Shubenacadie to Montreal tends to seem even longer when the weekend doesn’t turn out as well as expected. 

Round 4 of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship was an exciting and crazy double header weekend and I wish we could have a do-over.  I crashed out of third place in Saturday’s race and rode cautiously to 6th place in the wet but drying conditions during Sunday’s race.

The annual trip out east is one of my favorite events of the season.  Sort of a pilgrimage for me.  My Dad grew up in Glace Bay and it always feels like I’m going home.  The locals are so friendly, and the atmosphere is terrific.  The track itself is tight, bumpy and is the gnarliest place that our series goes to.  It is so twisty, with so much elevation changes, that on a Superbike we can only go to full throttle for less than a few seconds over the complete lap.  A difficult track but I love the place.

Practice and qualifying went OK.  We were a tad off the pace from last year, by a few tenths, and I ended up in 6th, starting on the 3rd row.  Up to Saturday morning practice, Kyle, Jon and I were still working on setup changes.  The biggest issue was the feeling from the front tire in a few spots where it is really loaded.  We were using the new 0129 Dunlop “supersoft” front tire.  On Friday evening we noticed, on the data, that I was using more stoke at the front in those spots compared to last year.  The forks were on bottom.  The extra grip from the 0129 was allowing me to load the front tire harder than I realized.  We added some preload and a little oil to the forks.  It felt better on Saturday morning and we were ready for racing.

If I’m proud of anything this weekend, it’s the way I rode in the opening laps on Saturday afternoon.  I got a good start from the 3rd row.  I slotted into 5th place by turn 2.  On lap 3, Trepanier left the door open into corner three and I was able make the pass for 4th.   At the end of that lap things got real crazy.  I had a front row seat for Szoke coming together with Young in the last corner.  Szoke went down, and Young ran off track, I found myself in 2nd place behind Daley.  A few laps later, Trepanier picked up the pace and began to challenge.  I was able to counter right away on his first attempt but dropped to 3rd place behind him somewhere around lap 8 after he got by in corner nine.   He gapped me a bit, but I was able to settle in and tried to focus on saving my rear tire.  There was a 3 second gap to the rider behind me being shown on my pitboard.  On lap 11, I tucked the front in corner one.  I was caught off guard by the crash. It sucks to crash out of a potential podium spot.  DAMN!!!

You can watch the race here: https://youtu.be/osLSltO04hk

I lay there in the grass in corner one for a few seconds, more embarrassed than hurt.  I was lucky to walk away without injury.  Obviously, I’ve got some work to do to get over this problem of crashing out of a good performance.  If there’s anything that I’m not proud of during this weekend, I'm not proud of not completing the race.

One of the most interesting parts of the weekend was the damage from the crash.  The body work was banged up.  Both clip-ons, the levers and throttle tube were damaged.  All as expected.  Corner one is a bad place to go down. The crash occurred at over 110 km/hr.  The forks, triple clamps, swingarm and wheels were all still perfect. Good news. The weird part is that the Ohlins rear shock shaft was bent, while the linkage and swingarm were not damaged at all.  In the crash the bike flipped and landed perfectly on the rear wheel.  All the energy was transmitted to the shock.  The data trace shows the rear shock travel, instantly compress fully for about 0.750 second and then extend again.  I’ve wrecked a lot of bikes, but never seen anything like that before.  Lucky for us, we work with Jon Cornwell.  He was able to scavenge some spare parts out of his trailer and fix our shock on Saturday evening.  I can’t thank everyone enough for all the kind words and offers to help us get things patched up. 

By Sunday morning practice, Kyle and I had the bike all fixed and it felt the same in morning warm up. 

Sunday afternoon was a little crazy, this time mother nature throwing a curve ball.  I was starting from 5th place on the second row.  The Sunday starting order is based on the fastest laps from Saturday.  On the grid, as we were waiting to start, the skies opened up with a thunderstorm.  We all fitted rain tires and were given a 10 minute warm up.  The bike felt good and I ended the session in 4th.  We fitted a new Dunlop rear rain tire and started the warm up laps.  The track was already starting to dry.

Another good start put me in 4th spot.  I was able to hold that place for a few laps.  As the track continue to dry my confidence started to fade.  I like racing in the rain, however,  I just couldn’t get into the groove in the changing conditions and began to ride very conservatively.  By the 5th lap I had dropped to 7th place.  I went into survival mode and rode to finish.  I ended up 6th after Daley crashed just after halfway.  I needed to finish the race without another crash more than I needed a great result. 

I’m glad that the weekend is over and can’t wait to get to Mosport.  We have our fingers crossed that we will get the parts that we need in time for Pro 6 Cycle to revive our Superbike motor by then.

They say, “It’s easier to teach a fast guy to stop crashing than it is to teach a slow guy to go fast”.  Not sure if that’s true, but that’s what I thought about for 1200 kms on the way home. 

About Royal Distributing:

Since 1990, Royal Distributing has built a reputation as a leader in aftermarket motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV and bicycle products. Royal carries all the gear, parts and accessories for sports enthusiasts of any age. From protective gear (jerseys, gloves, pants, helmets and boots) to casual wear and accessories, Royal Distributing will appeal to even the most discriminating shopper. There are 4 “superstores” located in Guelph (head office), Innisfil, Sudbury and Whitby. All are fully stocked to make sure you get the best possible ride, at the best possible prices with service from an amazing staff. For more information visit one of the Royal Distributing stores. Or online at http://www.royaldistributing.com/

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, Perry Performance, GianMajor Inc., Armour Bodies, MWR Air Filters, Bickle Racing, Dave Smith and Vortex Racing Sprockets.

From a press release

Disclaimer: Press releases that are posted in this section of csbk.ca are received from outside sources, and we will not be held responsible for the accuracy of the information contained therein.

If you have a press release you would like to see on csbk.ca, please send it by email to info@csbk.ca. Please note that press releases are posted as a courtesy and at our discretion. Proper series name and official class names must be used. Include a photo that you have the rights to use - unfortunately, we are not able to post images with watermarks. Not all submitted press releases will be posted.