14 September 2008
Croft: Camier storms to Croft victory.
Leon Camier has secured his second win of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship season after storming to victory in the opening race of the weekend at Croft.
The Airwaves Ducati rider, who took his first win of the year at Snetterton back in June, stormed through the field having started in sixth place to get ahead of Leon Haslam for the victory, while the podium was completed by Rizla Suzuki's Tom Sykes after a somewhat forceful move on the final lap on points leader Shane Byrne.
At the start pole-man Cal Crutchlow was able to hold his lead off the line as the field streamed into Clervaux for the first time, with Tom Sykes slotting into second and Michael Rutter holding third. However, Rutter lost out to both Leon Haslam and Byrne before the end of the opening lap while Sykes moved into the lead as he dived past Crutchlow at the final hairpin.
The HM Plant rider tried to go with Sykes on the second lap but he lost out to team-mate Haslam at the Complex to drop to third while further back, Camier was dicing for fifth with Rutters NW200 Ducati.
Having cleared Crutchlow, Haslam was closing in on Sykes who appeared to be struggling somewhat with the Suzuki through the high-speed Jim Clark Esses while the top four riders – Sykes, Haslam, Crutchlow and Byrne – had broken away from the rest of the field, although Camier was quickly closing the gap having broken away from Rutter.
With barely a second covering the top four, it didn't take long for the anticipated change for the lead to take place and on lap seven, Haslam saw his chance on the run to Tower and slipped up the inside into the lead of the race. Camier meanwhile was now with the top four and on lap eight, saw the chance to go up the inside of Byrne into the Hairpin and into fourth place.
Crutchlow's hopes of fighting back to the front took a hit when he ran wide at Tower on lap nine, which allowed both Camier and Byrne to move ahead of him and the Airwaves pair were soon fighting to find a way past Sykes, who had slipped back from Haslam as the Honda man chased his fourth straight win.
Seemingly able to carry more speed through the corners, Camier duly took second from Sykes on lap ten and with the half of the race still to run, set about chasing down his namesake at the front. It took little more than two laps for Camier to get onto terms with Haslam and on lap 13, he pulled a move almost exactly the same as the one Haslam had made to take the lead earlier in the race as he swept past at Tower. Behind them, Sykes was still third while Crutchlow had managed to get back ahead of Byrne into fourth – the points leader seemingly looking at points rather than going for the win with the title race in mind.
After briefly swapping places at the Complex on lap 15, Byrne made a move stick at Tower on lap 16 to go fourth and then closed onto the rear of his closest rival Sykes who was continuing to fight his Suzuki on every lap.
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