Team News: Round 2 Report from Michael Leon

CSBK at CTMP Race Report, Too bad practice doesn't count

Sometimes the most difficult part of a race weekend in sitting down to write the race report.  This was almost the case this time, but the actual worst part of last weekend was sitting and watching race one, under a tree, in corner eight at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park after crashing out of the tail end of the lead pack during race one of the triple header.  Not the weekend that we wanted.

The second round of the CSBK Canadian Superbike Championship season started out for our team in the best way possible.  P1 in the first practice!   We had spent the days leading up to the event riding with Pro 6 Cycle during their track days.  Kyle was able to tune the S1000RR’s electronics and try out a rear linkage, made by Foresaken Motorsports, lent to us by BMW rider Marc Labossiere.  By the time Friday morning rolled around, we had the bike dialled.  At the end of the session, we threw on a new rear and BAM, a lap time of 1:21.560.  Good enough for P1!  For perspective, my personal best ever at “Mosport” to that point was a 1:21.455 set during one of the races  there in 2018.   The pole time in 2019 was a 1:21.598 set by Ben Young.   Long story short, we were already at race pace on Friday morning.

I just want to take a moment to congratulate and thank my teammates, Kyle and Jaret, for their amazing work. This season we have changed things up a bit and Kyle has taken over responsibility for the S1000RR data system and tuning the kit ECU’s electronics. He has exceeded my expectations and taken to it like a duck to water.  Jaret never shies away from hard work and busts his ass at every event.  Between the two of them, they gave me the best motorcycle that I have ever ridden at CTMP. Thanks guys, job well done.

Friday Yuasa Battery Pole Award qualifying (for the top 10 riders to that point) was difficult for most teams.  The Q2 session was shortened by rain 7 or 8 minutes into the session.  Most of us turned just a few laps to that point.  We had all gone out on standard tires to get in a “banker” lap before coming in for a run on the special “Q” tire which is only good for 2 laps.  The session was ended due to the rain and the series official opted to use the times from the earlier Q1 session.  After 8 out of 10 riders signed a petition, the series changed their minds and reverted to using the times from the first part of Q2.  We placed 5th and would start all three races from 5th spot, on the second row. 

Saturday was a terrible day.  We got through morning warm up and prepared for the Saturday afternoon Superbike race.  Unfortunately, during the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike race, just before lunch, there was a crash and one of the competitors was very seriously injured.  The accident was grave enough to require shutting down the track for the remainder of the day.  Our team would like to extend best wishes to Mike Grass and his family during this tough time.  We are all rooting for you to recover and send positive thoughts your way.

Cancellation of the remaining activities for Saturday left a VERY full schedule for Sunday.   There would be three Pro Superbike races as well as the other remaining classes. 

On Saturday, I shot a video, interviewing most of the top racers to find out which corners are their favorites at CTMP.  You can check it out on Facebook at  What's Your Favorite Corner? FB Link   I just posted it on youtube, in case you aren't on Facebook: 

Sunday morning, we lined up for our first race.  I got a poor start and was swallowed up by the pack into corner one.  At the end of the first lap, I was running in 9th place.  By lap three, I had made my way to 7th with a small gap to the tail of the lead pack.  I put my head down and was able to close the gap and latch on to the tail of the lead group.  I couldn’t get close enough to use the draft to make a pass happen on the back straight.  The run into high-speed corner 8 off the back straight was normal enough.  I got it slowed down, got the two downshifts done, from 6th to 4th gear, and hit the turn-in point.  Once I made it to the apex, I opened the throttle (as every lap).  I must have unloaded the front tire by being too aggressive with the throttle.  I lost the front at 160 km/hr and crashed, sliding off the track into the grass between corner eight and nine.  I was lucky and the bike and I both came to a stop before hitting the guardrail. 

My Rocket leathers and Bell helmet did their job and I was not hurt.  The bike didn’t fair too well.  When it caught the grass, it flipped a few times and tore the rear subframe off, along with other damage.

I sat under the tree in corner eight, watching the race and feeling sorry for myself.  Luckily, the feeling passed (mostly).  When the bike came back on the crash truck, we assessed the damage.  Many teams and riders offered to help patch up the bike or lend us parts, but the bike was a little too damaged for me to feel comfortable with so little time to make the grid right after lunch. 

During the second lap of the race, I had set a new personal best at Mosport with a time of 1:21.250.  Laptimes don’t count for much, but for what its worth, at least I was fast.

We packed up the pits and watched the final races of the day.  I had the pleasure of hanging out with Dominic, from Royal Distributing while watching the last race of the day. It was great to see him and meet his wife and friends.  It’s a bummer that they didn’t get to see the Royal Distributing S1000RR Superbike in action.   

We are down, but not out.  Our team will have the bike ready for the last race of the season, scheduled for Sept 18th at Calabogie.  We hope to see you there!

Yours truly,

Michael Leon

From a press release

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