Camier leads Airwaves 1-2 after Guintoli drama
25 May 2009
Leon Camier has extended his lead in the ViSK.com British Superbike standings after leading Airwaves Yamaha's first 1-2 result of the season at Donington Park.
A fourth consecutive win for the 22-year-old, Camier worked himself back into contention following a laboured getaway from pole position, snatching the lead from team-mate James Ellison on lap five to win by a comfortable margin.
His cause was undoubtedly aided by an unusual incident before the start of the race when Camier's sparring partner so far this weekend, Sylvain Guintoli, was eliminated during the sighting lap on the run up to the grid.
The Frenchman suffered a coming together with HM Plant Honda's Josh Brookes, who suffered a 'failure in the operation of the brake system' at the Melbourne hairpin, sending both riders down.
Guintoli was subsequently stretchered away from the circuit with what has now been confirmed as a broken leg [see separate].
Starting with a gap in second where Guintoli should have been, it was third place Ellison that got away best from the lights, the Yamaha winning a drag race to the opening corner ahead of the fast starting Chris Walker and Stuart Easton. Pole sitter Camier rounded Redgate in fifth.
Buoyed by his quick getaway, Walker promptly began applying pressure to Ellison for the lead, feigning moves at the Melbourne Hairpin and then again at the start of lap two. However, Ellison would resist, moving away from the feisty Motorpoint/Henderson machine as he dealt with pressure from Easton and Camier, the latter up to fourth after taking Glen Richards by the end of the opening lap.
Camier's relentless charge continued on lap two, relieving Easton of third before moving up to second on lap three by planting a move on Walker at the Fogerty Esses.
Setting off in pursuit of Ellison, who had now pulled out a comfortable buffer to those behind, Camier needed just two more laps to work his way up to his team-mate, completing the inevitable by passing at the chicane and assuming a lead that would not be challenged for the remainder of the race.
Instead, the battles further behind occupied much of the attention, with Walker attempting to hold off the attentions of Simon Andrews – up to fourth after dipping beneath Easton in an opportunistic move at McLeans -, the Hydrex Honda, Richards, Karl Harris and Julien Da Costa.
Indeed, despite a slow start, Andrews was looking confident on the MSS Colchester Kawasaki, regularly diving down the inside of Walker, only for the experienced rider to immediately respond in what proved to be a close – but entertaining – tussle.
However, while Andrews persevered and got his man on lap six, a charging Easton would work his way past both Walker and Andrews on lap seven to snatch the provisional podium position. Andrews' race would last little longer though as he'd find himself down and out at Goddards on lap eight.
Freeing up Easton, the Hydrex rider would quickly sprint away from the chasing pack to notch up a second podium finish of the season in third place, some ten seconds adrift of Camier, who himself had pulled a three second advantage over Ellison by the chequered flag.
With Guintoli out of contention, victory number four means Camier now leads the standings by 36 points, while Ellison's first podium of the season also moves him up to fourth position overall, a point behind Richards.
Having kept a watching brief for some time, Richards eventually got the better of Walker to finish fourth, although the Rob Mac Yamaha rider was still able to hold onto his and the team's best result of the season in fifth.
Although he lost time going off in an attempt to pass Da Costa, Harris recovered to finish sixth, with the Frenchman just sneaking a season's best result in seventh after dropping some twenty seconds over the final few laps.
Equally as intense was the battle for eighth, although it was notable for the comeback ride of Ian Lowry, who ran as low as 25th in the early stages after a problem, only to scythe his way back through to the field to finish eighth, passing several rivals in the latter laps.
John Laverty was another to make a late charge to finish ninth for Buildbase Kawasaki, ahead of Graeme Gowland, who was racing with a repaired Yamaha following his accident in qualifying.
Elsewhere, Jason O'Halloran was 11th at the line, ahead of Gary Mason, the Quay Garage Honda rider running as high as eighth, only to slip back to 12th. Nonetheless, it was enough to cling onto Cup victory, ahead of Jon Kirkham. Fellow Cup riders Tom Tunstall and Martin Jessopp completed the points positions.