NEWS: Progress at Calabogie

Thursday, July 14, 2022

When we lined up this past weekend at Calabogie on Saturday and Sunday for the 3rd and 4th CSBK national races of 2022, we had found a much better set up on our Royal Distributing BMW Motorrad Canada S1000RR Superbike than last season. At the final round last year, we were struggling with tire life. I could put in a few fast laps at the start of a race, on a new tire, but grip would fall off and so would the lap times.

Superbike racing often appears to be an individual sport. The rider gets all the glory. But rest assured, when racing at a high level, it is 100% a team sport. I am so lucky to have some of the best teammates in the paddock and getting to work with them to solve the ‘racing puzzle” each weekend is one of the reasons I keep coming back every year.

Prior to the national, we had the chance to try some new things at the Pro 6 GP regional a few weeks before. The regional went very well. I won the Pro Superbike race after an epic battle with Ivan Babic that went down to the last lap. To read more about it and see some pictures, please check out the news articles about that race that was published on multiple motorcycle news websites. Such as Inside Motorcycle Pro 6 GP Thiller  or Roadracing World Leon Wins

We left the regional with some confidence and the points lead in the Pro 6 GP Pro Superbike regional series.

What kind of changes were made to help allow preservation of the tire? Kyle moved out the front wheel of the bike to increase the trail, which provides more feel from the front tire. He adjusted the swingarm angle to an optimal number to find the rear grip that we need, but not too much grip that would degrade the tire too early. He tried some different rear spring rates. He used scales to validate the weight distribution, front vs. rear, both with and without the rider and adjusted that. He worked on the traction control and torque maps to give me settings to use at the end of the race to be gentler on the tire. He did all this while consulting with Jon Cornwell (his full-time gig is crew chief for the most successful team in the MotoAmerica paddock) and Jeff Laidman (inventor of the Motospec software used by top teams all around the world). I call these 3 guys my “Tech Dragons”. It’s a term I heard used on one of the racing podcasts that I listen to, so I can’t take credit for it, but it’s the perfect way to describe them. Some of the smartest dudes I know.

Another teammate that knocked it out of the park this weekend is Jaret. He is one of my best friends, and one of the hardest working people that I know. He is the primary mechanic working on the bike while at the track and hustles all the time. The moment that I arrive back in the pits, he is already preparing it for the next outing. On Sunday we had a whacky schedule with a 10-minute practice at 9:20 and nothing to do until our race at 4:10. After warm-up at 9:20, by 9:45, Jaret had the S1000RR ready to race, complete with new tires and a quick polish.

I truly appreciate all the hard work that Kyle and Jaret put in and all the advice that Jon and Jeff are so generous with. Our small team, with our tiny budget, punches well above our weight class.

Qualifying went to plan. 5th fastest with a time of 2:04.1 put us on the second row and was faster by a few tenths than my best Q times from last season.

Kyle and Jaret on the mandatory Dyno check after qualifying. We had 188 horsepower, the limit is 200. Photo by LeonRacing

The race Saturday afternoon started late due to schedule delays and ended up going green after 6:00 pm. I had a good launch, but got swallowed up in the first few corners. I was running in 8th in the first lap and had to work my way forward. By the halfway mark I had moved ahead of Guerin into 5th. Tremblay was a couple seconds ahead. I was chipping away at the gap, when Daley crashed out of third, promoting all of us by one spot. The best part is that the new setup was allowing me to do a better good of maintaining my pace as the grip dropped. On the last lap, Guerin passed me back. I finished 5th. I was not happy to be passed on the last lap, but pleased that we had made progress from last year.

Perhaps the most promising part of the weekend was on Sunday morning. We left the same rear tire that I used in the race the day before for practice and loaded a new map with a softer throttle. We did this to test for the closing laps of the race. I was able to turn a 2:04.7 on the fifth lap of practice. I have never been able to do that kind of time on a rear tire with 20 laps on it. The whole team was stoked.

The race on Sunday afternoon went great, at least the first half. I got a killer start and ran in fourth for the opening laps, before Tremblay came by. I was able to keep pace with him until about lap 6. We even pulled a small gap to Guerin who was running about a second behind me. The grip did fall off quite a bit, and Tremblay and I were spinning it up, but we were still able to run laps in the consistent 2:04s. It was a good show to watch Tremblay sliding his superbike around from the best seat in the house.

Then, I simply ran out of energy. The bike was great but I faded and ended up finishing in 6th place.

Despite sucking on the last few laps, my overall 12 lap race time was faster on Sunday than Saturday. In fact, if I compare my overall 12 lap race time in Sunday’s race to CSBK Superbike race 2 from July last year (my best 12 lap race time at Bogie), I was a full 20 seconds faster overall. That’s huge! More than 1.5 seconds per lap average difference. There is so much to be positive about.

On Monday, I stayed for the Pro 6 Cycle Trackday, where I helped as an ambassador for BMW. We have a brand-new 2022 BMW S1000RR and brand-new BMW S1000XR for any rider who is registered for the trackday to test it for free. If you ride with Pro 6 at Bogie, I encourage you to get in touch for a free demo ride. To my knowledge, there is no other manufacturer running demos rides over the full season for trackday riders. Thank you, BMW, for promoting the track experience.

None of this would be possible without my¬ awesome team and all our sponsors. Next stop is Shubie in Nova Scotia. Hope to see you at the track!

Yours truly,
Michael Leon

About Royal Distributing:
Since 1990, Royal Distributing has built a reputation as Canada’s Powersports leader. Royal carries all the gear and aftermarket parts and accessories for Motorcycle, Snowmobile, MX, ATV, Bicycle, Ebike and Marine. Royal offers great product selection at everyday low prices and ships orders coast to coast within Canada for free on orders over $39*. For all your powersport needs, you can check them out at, call them at 1-800-265-2970 or visit one of their four “superstores” located in Guelph, Innisfil, Whitby and Sudbury, ON.

The Royal Distributing Racing Team would like to thank Royal Distributing, Pro 6 Cycle, Dunlop USA, BMW Motorrad Canada, Windmill Motorsports, Joe Rocket Canada, Hindle Exhaust,DP Brakes, GianMajor Inc., MWR Air Filters, Vortex Sprockets and Dave Smith.
For more information, please visit or contact Michael Leon via cell 514-608-6747 or

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