Four seems to be the magic number this season for rider Michael Leon as he qualified fourth (again), finished fourth in Saturday’s Superbike race while setting the fourth fastest lap and finally crashing out of fourth during the opening laps of Sunday’s race.
The Leon family had decided to turn the trip to Edmonton into a family vacation, renting a camping trailer for the cross-Canada trek. The BMW S1000R, fellow racer Stacey Nesbitt’s Honda 600, and a minimal amount of gear were crammed into the back of the pickup for the ride. During the return trip, the family was able visit Jasper National Park, the Icefield Parkway, Lake Louise, and Banff National Park.
Edmonton BMW dealer Argyll Motorsports generously agreed to provide a trailer for the team to work out of while at the track as well as a new S1000XR to display in the pits.
Team crew chief Kyle Blakely flew into Edmonton to join Leon and family. Working together with suspension tuner Jon Cornwell, they were able to consistently improve the machine for every single session.
Michael used a Dunlop KR451 2662 Soft rear tire to turn a lap time of 1:19.320 seconds during the closing minutes of qualifying, putting the BMW S1000RR fourth on the grid and achieving another front row start for the Saturday and Sunday finals. “To be honest, I was lucky to re-enter the track, with a new rear, right behind Szoke and get a bit of a tow from him. I’m happy to be on the front row again. We have gone to three completely different tracks and I’ve been able to turn in decent qualifying results for each race” commented Michael.
During the opening laps of Saturday’s Superbike final, Leon latched on to the front group of Christie, Szoke and Riedmann, and was able to pull a gap on the group behind him. He ran a lonely race in fourth, losing ground at the end of the 16 lap final but still holding onto fourth at the line. “My plan was to put in 4 or 5 hard laps at the beginning and then try to conserve my tire and energy for the end. At the midpoint, Kyle was showing me +5 seconds on the pitboard. In the last few laps that gap was coming down pretty quick so I knew that they were coming and fortunately I saw the checkered flag before anyone had time to start to challenge me. I ran the Dunlop soft again and the tire held up really well, maybe even better than I did in this 30 + degree weather,” Michael said after the race.
Sunday’s race was the low point for the team, which saw Michael crash out of fourth place during opening laps. Luckily, the crash occurred at the safest part of the track and Michael was not hurt. The Royal Distributing / Multi-Tact / Pro 6 Cycle / BMW S1000RR sustained almost no damage except for a bent shift lever which did not allow him to continue.
“All in all, I’m pretty happy with the season so far. We have shown that we can consistently run in the top 4. I was surprised to be able to ride as quickly as I did here in Edmonton, considering the track has some extremely dangerous spots that I wasn’t very comfortable with. I can see that track owners and management are excited to host Superbikes and hopefully they will continue to improve track safety as they go forward. My speed is a testament to how fast the S1000RR really is. Also, working with crew like Kyle Blakely and Jon Cornwell make my job as a rider that much easier. The best news is that we still have room to improve the bike and some things with my riding. I can’t wait for Shubie and Mosport,” commented Michael.
The team will be heading East to Nova Scotia for Round Five of the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship to be held on August 2nd at Atlantic Motorsport Park.
Check out the video of Saturday’s race at: http://leonracing.us11.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=dcfa8552640ff75c38bac22bc&id=700aaa4882&e=34df840936