Camier cruises to Oulton victory
4 May 2009
Leon Camier has won his second ViSK.com British Superbike Championship race of the season after coasting to victory in the Oulton Park opener.
The Airwaves Yamaha rider started from pole position, but while a tardy start left him fourth on the run down to the opening corner, it would take just six laps for him to regain the advantage and win by just over a second.
Karl Harris rallied hard to record his first podium of the season in second, while Sylvain Guintoli resisted Stuart Easton for third on his Oulton Park debut.
With patches of damp prompting the race to be declared wet initially, Easton led away from Harris, but he would enjoy the position for only a single lap before it was red flagged.
An accident for John Laverty at Hilltop was the reason, but while the Buildbase Kawasaki rider was knocked out briefly, he had regained consciousness as he was taken to the medical centre.
With a full restart called, there was brief drama on the grid when Camier's bike was wheeled off onto the grass as the field pulled away onto the warm-up lap. Nonetheless, he was able to get the bike fired up again to resume his place on the grid.
Even so, it was Easton and Harris again who sprinted into the lead from the lights, followed by Glen Richards, Camier and Simon Andrews.
Camier didn't take long to dispatch the HM Plant Honda rider, catching Richards unawares at Shell to slip up the inside, while Andrews capitalised to follow him through into fourth. Buoyed by his strong start, Andrews promptly launched an attack on Camier, passing him at Cascades, only for Camier to regain the position almost straight away.
With Andrews maintaining the pressure, Camier pushed on to join the battle for the lead, which had now swung in favour of Harris after he passed his team-mate at Lodge at the end of lap two. By the end of lap three, Camier would repeat the same move on Easton to go off in search of Harris.
Stalking him for the next two revolutions, Camier eventually made his move on lap six, running out wide on the right-hand kink leading to Cascades before dipping beneath the Hydrex Honda on the inside of the left-hander to take the lead.
It would prove the decisive manoeuvre, Camier pulling out an advantage while Harris slipped into a battle for second position with Guintoli and Easton, the Frenchman having moved up to third on lap four after also benefitting from a fall for Andrews, the MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider tumbling out of fourth at Brittens.
Indeed, Guintoli was enjoying a mid-race charge, challenging Harris until the start of lap nine when the rear of his Worx Crescent Suzuki got away from him and almost threw him into a high-side. Although he recovered, Easton was through and Harris was away.
With Camier extending his lead and Harris now up the road too, attention turned to the tussle between Guintoli and Easton, Guintoli having fought his way back through again on lap 13. However, rather than race after Harris, Easton maintained the pressure, never dropping more than half a second behind the Suzuki as he searched for a way through.
Nonetheless, despite a few feigned moves at Lodge and Knickerbrook, Easton was forced to follow Guintoli across the line, just a tenth adrift.
Further up the road, however, it was Camier celebrating victory, a win that also puts him in the lead of the BSB standings for the first time in his career. Harris rallied hard in the latter stages to bring the gap down to Camier to less than a second, but the result still marks a welcome return to the podium for 'The Bomber'.
Further back, James Ellison got the better of Richards on the final lap of the race after a lengthy battle for fifth position, while Ian Lowry resisted a charging Jason O'Halloran to take a fine seventh on the Relentless Suzuki.
Gary Mason secured a third consecutive top ten finish on the way to a clear Mirror.co.uk Cup victory, while he also enjoyed the scalp of beating factor rider Joshua Brookes, the Australian finishing a respectable tenth on his debut.
Chris Walker ran eighth in the early stages but would eventually fade to 11th, ahead of Julien Da Costa and Jon Kirkham, while Atsushi Watanabe and Tristan Palmer completed the points.
Martin Jessopp finished second of the Cup competitors in 16th overall, with Peter Hickman third in 18th. The pair would separate Michael Rutter, the Rob Mac Racing man finishing outside the points and over a minute off the lead after starting from the pit lane.