With this event being a double header for Pro SBK, qualifying was held on Saturday morning, making for a busy weekend. It was more successful for the team than in the opening round at Shannonville. During the ten minute Superpole session, Michael turned a best lap of 46.332 seconds around the tight and bumpy track. This time was more than half a second faster than Michael’s best qualifying time from last year’s CSBK Qualifying and a new personal best. He was to start both Saturday and Sunday’s final from 6th spot, located on the second row.
There wasn’t much time to rest as all the teams had to prepare for the Superbike race at 3:40 PM, a few hours later. It was a hot one, above 30 degrees C, with a track temperature reading above 50 degrees C.
Michael had a good launch and ended up in 5th place into the first corner, a position that he held until the red flag came out about a 1/3 of the way through the race. On the restart of the shortened 14 lap race, Leon swapped fifth spot with Dominquez in the first couple of corners and then settled into fifth place in pursuit of Kevin Lacombe. Michael was able to maintain the gap to Lacombe but wasn’t able to reel him in. With a few laps to go, Tremblay made the pass on Leon to take fifth but gifted the spot back after running off at the end of the straight. Trevor Daley took advantage of lapped traffic to catch and challenge on the last lap but wasn’t able to make a pass before the checkered flag. Michael finished 5th.
The team’s crew chief, Kyle Blakely of Windmill Motorsports, made some changes to the suspension setup overnight in an attempt to improve rear grip at the end of the weekend’s second race on Sunday. He installed a stiffer spring.
The final on Sunday afternoon was held in even more oppressive heat. At the start, Michael ended up in 6th place, chasing Tremblay in 5th and Lacombe in 4th. The pace was faster than on Saturday with the trio in 4th, 5th and 6th setting laptimes in the mid-46 second bracket. Both Tremblay and Leon were able to get past Lacombe and pull a small gap. The battle was pretty intense with Leon attempting to pass Tremblay unsuccessfully in the hairpin multiple times. As the two riders encountered lapped riders with a few laps to go, Tremblay was able to pull a gap of about a second. And that’s the way it ended with Tremblay in 4th and Leon in 5th. On the last lap, Leon and Tremblay were the fastest riders on the track, in the 46.6 second range, just 1/3 of a second off of their fastest racetimes and Q times. The setup changes had worked. The rear Dunlop soft tire on Michael’s Superbike still looked like new after 22 laps in 30+ Celsius temperature. Pretty impressive tires.
“I’m pretty excited with Sunday’s race pace. Another fifth place is a good result and we are getting closer, time wise, to the front with every race. I think that we finished 6 seconds behind 3rd place. I’m looking forward to Shubie. We already have some setup strategies based on last year’s race to start with,” commented Michael.
The exciting race between Tremblay and Leon will make for great TV. Both riders were followed and profiled throughout the weekend by a film crew for the French language show “Plein Gaz” which will air on the nationwide network Unis. The show captures the human side of motorsports, presenting the point of view of racers and their crew from various forms of motorsport. Look for the show in September.
The next Mopar CSBK event will be another double header, held at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia on July 15-17. Leon Racing hopes to see you there.
The Royal Distributing Racing Team would like to thank Royal Distributing, BMW Motorrad Canada, Pro 6 Cycle Dunlop, Shoei Helmets, Speed & Strength, Hindle Exhaust, Gianmajor Inc., Armour Bodies, MWR Airfilters, Vortex Racing Sprockets, Windmill Motorsports, Bickle Racing and Dave Smith.