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Pilote de légende

Christian Léon is especially known for his victories in endurance with his accomplice Jean Claude Chemarin. But it was also a large pilot speed which could as well have succeeded in the Grands Prix.

Born in a modest family from 4 children, Christian is very quickly “thorough” towards mechanics. He enters as apprentice a nearby garage where he learns his trade from mechanic. He is immediately attracted by the motorcycle and buys one 125 Tycoon-Debon, then one 125 Jawa, which he quickly exchanges against one 350 of the same brand. It is with this machine that it will begin in competition while taking part in the hill climb from Méru, but a stupid accident ruins Jawa and its hopes.
 In 1967 it buys to one 305 Honda and finishes 9th Cuts Eugène Mauves and 2nd into 350 sport. But following a fall “private” it repurchases one 450 Honda, with which it gains its first hill climb. A few weeks later, it destroys Honda with Montlhéry.

1969, for the Bol d'Or which reappears in Montlhéry, the importer Dared, Marcel Seurat proposes a handlebar to him. Associated with Ribbes he knows not bad troubles and gives up. But Seurat offers to him for 1970 a place of official semi pilot. This year there he will get the start of 17 races, gains 5 5 race and hill climbs on circuit.

The year 1971 starts for Christian with the 10 hours of Montlhéry, where with Jean François Dottori it runs on one 750 Honda prepared by GilbertHill climb of MéruGuignabodet, but the motorcycle breaks at the end of 2 a.m. It gains the following races, the 1000 km of Mans and the 6 hours of Rouen always on Honda Guignabodet, but associated with Fougeray.

Christian then decides to leave the Paris region to work in the store of Guignabodet, which proposes a true motorcycle of race to him, the Kawasaki H 1R, with which it gains on the circuit Paul Ricard by breaking the record of the turn held by Christian Ravel.

For 1972, its owners offers a Kawasaki H1RA to him. For the Grand Prix of France, after having missed its departure, it finishes 11th (at the time only the 10 first points marked). Then the engine trouble follows one another pushing Guignabodet to transform the H1RA into H1R, enabling him to gain 5 victories, but for only one point it loses the championship of France to the profit of Christian Bourgeois. This year there it will also make races of endurance associated with André Kaci.

In 1973 with the participation of ELF, it leaves in Daytona, chases that it gives up with semi race. In Rouen it finishes 3rd behind Triumph official. However this year still it finishes at some points of Christian Bourgeois for the championship of France. Its more beautiful race of the year speed is that of the Grand Prix of France 500 where it finishes 4th behind Saarinen, Read and Kanaya.
In endurance it runs on a Kawasaki Guignabodet and gains the 1000 km of Mans associated with Jean François Baldé.

In 1974 it is integrated in the TEAM Kawasaki which Xavier Maugendre assembles. But the results will not be worthy of its hopes. In 750 it falls in Daytona and with Immolated and in 500 it marks points only in Italy, Belgium and Finland. Its races in endurance are not better and at the end of 1974 when Maugendre decides to stop the competition, it is found without competitive machine.

1975, will see it running on König and in spite of a victory with the Trophy of the Million, König is not reliable and tightens constantly. Christian finishes the season on one 350 Yamaha with which it finishes 6th with Spa of category 500. This season make him understand that without important means it cannot hope to shine of speed. He then offers his services to Honda to run in Endurance. Indeed according to the rumours this brand would prepare the ultimate weapon for the championship of Europe of Endurance.

It is however on a drama which the career of Christian at Honda begins. Indeed Christian must dispute Bol d'Or on a very new machine, but its teammate and engineer Sumiya kill themselves during the tests. But the destiny in endurance of Christian is moving until this fine tragedy on a test track of Suzuki in November 1980. Brand with which it had decided to work for the New Year's Day 1981…

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