Round 5 Report: Michael Leon

CSBK Round 5 Race Report: Unfulfilled Potential

Good day,

2019 has been a difficult season for me and members of our small team.  A season of unfulfilled potential.  Our trip to Mosport, now known as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, was no different. 

We showed up on Thursday and practiced with the stock motor that BMW Motorrad had graciously lent us.  The day went relatively well, and our pace was decent. 

BMW came through for us with the final parts that we needed for our Superbike motor.  The parts arrived at the eleventh hour on Wednesday, the day before practice began.  Pro 6 Cycle pulled off a miracle, assembling the motor and even delivered it to us at the track on Thursday afternoon.  Kyle, Jaret and I worked that evening to install the motor.   

Friday morning, I missed practice with shifter shaft problems.  A result of our last-minute install.  Fortunately, it was an easy fix, but I was not able to practice.  We ran the bike on the dyno at lunch.  195.2 horsepower!  We had a strong bike.  Once again, I can’t thank Sandy, Joe and Craig at Pro 6 Cycle for making it happen.

During the first qualifying session on Friday afternoon, we uncovered another problem.  The quick shifter was not working and there was no time to fix it.  I struggled to re-learn to use the clutch on the downshifts for a few laps.  Once I got sorted and put my head down to set a fast one, it began to rain, and I had to pull in.  The rain stopped and I went back out.  On my first flying lap, it started to rain again.  The remainder of the session was the same.  I ended up 13th and missed moving to the top ten Superpole session.  I would start on the 4th row.

We had a ray of hope on Saturday morning.  The quick shifter was fixed, and the bike felt great.  I ended the practice session in 4th place.   I was kind of surprised when I came into the pits and Kyle showed me the times.  We must keep it in perspective, it was only a morning warm up, but at least were competitive.  We had good pace.  Yay!

I was really looking forward to the race.  I had awoken the night before in the middle of my sleep thinking about the start and having that feeling of being ready to go. 

When the lights went out, I had a terrific launch and ended the first lap in about 10th spot.   A few laps in, I was running in 10th place following Tremblay and Welsh with a bit of a gap to them.  By half distance, I was able to reel them in and close the gap.  Around about the ¾ distance, the top ten had bunched up.  Distinctly, I can remember the end of lap 14 of 20.  As I exited the last corner, I could see that I was at the end of the lead pack.  10 riders were stacked in single file.  We were like line a line of traffic on the 401 at rush hour.  What a race!  It must have been an exciting one to watch.  Despite pushing, I couldn’t get into a position to attempt a pass on Tremblay or Welsh.  Each lap, they were able to pull a few bike lengths out of Moss’s corner onto the big straight.  Once we shifted into 4th gear the gap would even out, and I would spend the next lap making it up, to get within striking distance.  Only to repeat the process over again.  At the end, due to a few back markers getting in the way during the last few laps, the pack spread out a bit and I finished 9th, 6 seconds behind the winner.  I honestly have never ridden so hard to finish 9th. 

The brightest part of the weekend was that I had set the 3rd fastest lap.  The Sunday grids are set by the fastest lap.  However, the top ten starter spots are guaranteed to the top ten from Superpole.  So, I would start the Sunday event in 11th spot. 

Looking at the data that evening, we noticed that we weren’t using all the available RPM compared to previous years.  Our gearing was a little tall.  We realized this was due to the larger rear tire this season changing the overall gearing a bit.  We shortened the gearing by 1 tooth at the rear sprocket with hopes the change would give a little more acceleration out of Moss’s corner for Sunday.

On Sunday morning, our weekend and season came to a premature end.  A few laps into morning warm up we had a motor issue.  The nut holding the clutch basket came loose causing some damage.  We were done.

I am the one to blame.  I torqued that nut when we were solving the transmission problem on Friday.  Thankfully, when it let go, the failure didn’t cause me or anyone else to crash.

It was not a great season.  I lost a finger.  I crashed out a few potentially good results.  We had our worst end of season point finish since entering the Superbike class in 2015, finishing 8th overall. 

On the positive side, I set the fastest lap at the Shannonville round 1 race, set the 3rd fastest lap at the Mosport round 6 race, and qualified in 3rd at round 2 Grand Bend.

Even thought the results don’t show the potential we had, I’m still grateful.  Grateful that I had the chance to spend a good part of my summer working with friends like Kyle, Jaret and Sandy.  I am proud to have represented brands like Royal Distributing, BMW Motorrad and Pro 6 Cycle.  In my first post this season I focused on the fact that racing is hard. Believe me, this is still true.  And it is still the reason that I love this crazy sport.  If it was easy, safe and guaranteed a good result, everyone would do it.    

I’d like to extend a huge thanks to our team of sponsors for helping me chase my dreams.  We could not have turned a wheel without the support of our title sponsor Royal Distributing.  I encourage anyone reading this to check out one of their stores, online retail site, or catalogue.

It’s time to reflect on what went right, what went wrong and to think about ways to improve our program.  I’m glad this season is over and am looking forward to a strong 2020.

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.

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