The race was held at the 5.05 km long Calabogie Motorsports Park on Sunday June 14th.
This was the first time Leon competed at the national level on Superbike equipment in over a decade, after many seasons riding 600 cc and twin-cylinder motorcycles. The team quickly discovered the new 2015 BMW really is a true “turnkey” Superbike as Leon was quickly up to speed. The motorcycle, with a stock motor, stock ECU, and fueled with pump gas, was good enough to qualify fourth, on the front row for Sunday’s final.
New addition to the team, Kyle Blakely of Windmill Motorsports, fit into his new position as pit crew and did an excellent job of making sure that the BMW ran flawlessly throughout the weekend. The team also benefited from suspension advice from noted tuner Jonathan Cornwell. Things fell into place and the bike worked really well.
Many supporters came out for Round 1. Karl, one of Michael’s great friends from Montreal, was on hand to assist Kyle with bike prep duties and pit board. Family friends, Dave and Louise, made the trip from Toronto to cheer on the team. New team sponsor, Pierre Bertrand of Multi-Tact, his daughter Stephanie and son Justin showed up on Saturday to catch the Superbike qualifying action.
During the race, Michael completed the first lap in 5th and ran with eventual 3rd place finisher, Sebastien Tremblay and Shannonville rival (and good friend) Sean Huffman. On lap 3, Michael set the 3rd fastest lap of the race with a time of 2:03.262 seconds. By the end of the race, Leon was able to get past Huffman to take the 4th spot, finishing 5.5 seconds behind Tremblay. The race was won by fellow BMW rider Jordan Szoke with Honda-mounted Jodi Christie in second.
“I still can’t believe how well our first event went! The bike was so easy to ride and everything came together for me," said Leon. "After a few laps, I had made a few errors and Sean and Sebastien were able to pull a bit of a gap. I was on the soft tire which we knew would work at the beginning of the race but weren’t sure would last all 14 laps. I decided to just try to maintain the gap to save the tires and some energy until the end. I was hoping that both of the guys in front of me would burn up their tires battling. Around lap 10 of the 14 laps, I thought that the plan was backfiring as I lost a little ground. Sean’s tires started to drop off, I was able to catch and pass him on lap 13. I owe a huge thanks to Scott at Royal Distributing, Chris at BMW, Sandy at Pro 6 and Pierre at Multi-Tact for making this race possible.”
The next event for the team is Round 2 of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at Autodrome St-Eustache on June 28.
The Royal Distributing Racing Team would like to thank Royal Distributing, BMW Motorrad Canada, Pro 6 Cycle Dunlop, Multi-Tact, Shoei Helmets, Speed & Strength, Hindle Exhaust, Gianmajor Inc, Armour Bodies, Vortex Racing Sprockets, Foresaken Motorsports, Windmill Motorsports, Dr. Laflamme-Leblanc Dentistes, and MacDuc.