Two weeks ago Thundersport GB held their latest round, at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. A track that Leon, and the BMC team, hadn't raced at before. And it was a reunion for Leon his championship winning RVF 400 too, as he was out in the Junior powerbikes to save his R6 for the last round of the EMRA championships. The weather was pretty good and everyone was up for a top weekend, when they actually got there that is, eh Mike!?
Anyway Saturday morning came and Leon was straight in to the thick of things, learning the track as he went about his qualifying session. And it seems he's a quick learner too - he managed to qualify on the second row in seventh place...amazing!
So how was the racing? Well, race one saw Leon get of to a flyer and tuck in to fourth place. He then set about challenging the riders in front, which included local boy Rob Elsmere, for a place on the podium. It was a terrific race to watch. Leon kept chipping away lap by lap and, with the use of some brave over-taking manoeuvres, managed to get himself ahead of Rob at one point for second place. A gripping battled ensued and a close finish was enevitable, with Rob just edging out Leon to take the second place. Still, a podium finish on an unknown track, and on a bike he hadn't ridden for ages, was pretty impressive stuff!
Race two saw Leon holding his grid position of seventh by the end lap one. Again Leon got stuck in though and was very quickly up in to fourth, but had lost the tow on the leading three riders. It looked as though he was making some progress on the guys in front though, when the race was then red flagged and declared a result. So fourth it was for Leon. This was particularly impressive as, unbeknown to us, Leon had had a fuel leak and was getting covered in petrol for most of the race. Well done Leon, a great job done!
So, Saturday evening was spent fixing the fuel leak, and preparing for another two races on the Sunday. And race one on the Sunday saw Leon pick-up where he left off on the Saturday and managed another fantastic fourth position. But it was the final race of the day that proved to be the most eventful of the weekend! Leon was by now running with some rather worn slick tyres, so it was always going to be tough out there. Making a reasonable start Leon more or less held his grid position. He then put the hammer down and pushed like hell! And when you push like hell, things can get tricky. And things got tricky indeed...at one point Leon finding himself being squeezed on to the grass at 'Graham Hill Bend', while making an overtaking manoeuvre. The tyres were sliding all over the place by now too, so much so that they put Leon in to a massive tank-slapper coming round 'Clearways' going in to 'Clark Curve'. It threw Leon out of the seat and nearly spat him off. But he somehow got it back under control, only to find that the handlebars were now completely out of line. The front wheel was now aiming to the left! It's worth saying that the mark of a top-class rider is determined on how they cope with such conditions. And that's what Leon showed here, true class! Not only did he manage to carry on, but he even managed to pass a couple of riders in the process! And finished an amazing sixth place...just incredible!
And Leon's fastest lap of the weekend was a 51.8, a remarkable lap time when you consider he hadn't raced at Brands Hatch before. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!
I managed to take some footage too, and here's a little film I made to show you some of the weekends action:
(Thank you Thundersport GB for a great occasion.)
(The home of british motorsport.)
(The BMC gang gets ready.)
(Leon getting well and truly stuck in!)
(The crowd loved it!)
(Leon thanks his supporters.)
(Mike, Rod and crew sort out the fuel leak.)
1 year ago