My name is Michael Leib from Menifee California. I am 18 years old traveling the world racing the FIM World Grand Prix (GP) Motocross series for the French Rockstar Bud Racing Kawasaki Team. I have to say that I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity with this team at this time and be able to train with Jacky Vimond, a former World Champion.
My once in a lifetime opportunity started off with a phone call from Bud Racing on April 26th with an offer to finish the remainder of the GP season. May 3rd I was on a plane on my way to my first real shot at the big leagues. May 4th was my first day on the bike and unfortunately, I had a crash that left me watching from the sidelines for two weeks. Fortunately, the team stuck with me and I learned more in those 4 weeks then I have in my entire life. Eleven days after my wreck I attempted to ride to see if the upcoming GP in Spain would be possible the following weekend. I was able to ride a short period but due to my wrist injury, I was too weak to do as much as grab the clutch lever. Riding two days later I decided to give it my best shot and hope for the best that weekend.
The Spain GP was one of the toughest weekends I’ve had so far. The feeling of fighting for my ride here in Europe and dealing with a frustrating injury from the start was very difficult. I was able to start both motos but complete only a few laps of each before I lost complete strength in my arm. Looking forward to the USGP two weeks later at my home track Glen Helen, I continued to recover but was only able to get in two rough days on the bike before heading out to the United States. Practice day at the USGP was my first real chance I had to ride the bike and see what it felt like. I ended up 11th fastest in timed practice and was feeling better each lap. Race day I was feeling good but I had bike issues in both motos that led to DNF finishes.
A week later in ST. Jean France it was the same story with the bike issues. The next weekend in Germany I got my first moto finish with a 10-DNF, Latvia the following weekend was DNF-11. After those races we really got the bike dialed in and made some necessary adjustments. The team worked extremely hard to solve every problem and smooth everything out. At the next GP in Sweden, feeling more comfortable on the bike, I finished 13-7 for 9th overall. Finally, adapting to the bike and also to my surroundings here in Europe, I began to build my confidence and results.
The next weekend in Iffendic, France, for the French National Championships (a series we do on the side of the World GP circuit), I was fastest in qualifying and was feeling more at home with the Rockstar Bud Racing Team and the race bike. First moto I finished a 4th after stopping for a new pair of goggles and moto two the bike had an engine failure resulting in a DNF. Moto three we tried a different motor from a practice bike but it was pretty tired and I chose to call it a day. Overall it was a good weekend and the first time I really felt comfortable on my new Kawasaki.
I race my first GP in the sand this coming weekend in Lommel, Belgium. I hear that there is just nothing like the Belgium sand, although I am looking forward to a new challenge. I really enjoy learning and riding in all different types of tracks and terrain every time I get on my bike. This upcoming week I am training in Belgium close to Lommel. I am hoping to learn as much as possible and leave with a new experience in the sand this week.
As for now I have my girlfriend Haley here with me. We got the opportunity to enjoy 5 days in Paris during my off time. Had an amazing time, returned feeling very relaxed and refreshed but anxious to get back to racing. So that is all for my first blog! Check back with me for weekly updates.