20 December 2013
WSBK Rider of the Year vote - 10th: Leon Camier
You voted in your thousands, but there can only be one winner... This is Crash.net's top ten countdown to the 2013 World Superbike Rider of the Year as voted for by you!
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013:
10. Leon Camier
Team: FIXI Crescent Racing
Bike: Suzuki GSX-R1000
Championship points: 132
Championship position: 11th
Have we seen the best of Leon Camier in World Superbikes? Paul Denning doesn't seem to think so, Camier's former team manager suggesting 'unfortunate injuries' prevented him from ever showing his true potential on the Fixi Crescent Suzuki in 2013.
Whilst it's worth pointing out that these words appeared in a statement announcing Camier's departure from the team following the signing of Eugene Laverty, he probably has a point. Indeed, in a year where just a paltry nine riders managed to partake in each race, Camier would often find himself nursing more than a few bruises.
A pre-season crash that sent his Suzuki into the trees wasn't the best of omens and worse would indeed occur over the course of the season, beginning with a knee injury sustained during the second round at Motorland Aragon – snapshots of the lanky Englishman being flung into the air and coming down heavily on his knee were met with universal wincing...
A fairly uneventful mid-season season aside, Camier's fortunes would descend later in the year when he joined Jonathan Rea in barrelling out of the first Nurburgring race as a result of oil on the circuit. Though he wouldn't let a series of scrapes and bumps prevent him from making it out at the next event in Turkey, he may have wished he stayed indoors after another crash left him nursing a series of broken bones in his foot. In short, Camier's season was effectively over.
A frustrating occurrence for a rider that many believe, even after four seasons, hasn't quite had the platform to shine in World Superbikes, Camier at least had his moments in 2013 aboard a bike that – whilst certainly improved over the winter – isn't exactly in its first flush of youth.
Despite this, the Englishman remains adamant that the GSX-R1000 is a race winner at circuits that reward set-up over electronic-assistance, so it was perhaps little surprise to see Camier on the pace at Portimao and Silverstone, the fast sweeping bends seemingly playing to its strengths.
Adding another podium to his tally with a feisty ride at Silverstone, Camier's achievement might have been more notable had young rookie team-mate Jules Cluzel not bettered him with a second place finish in the very next race. The Frenchman would end the year as Suzuki's top rider, though it's debatable whether he would have held off a fully fit team-mate.
Despite this, you've recognised Camier above Cluzel in this year's poll, no doubt rewarding him for his dogged determination and ability to ride through the pain – this was no less apparent than at the final round when he returned, still injured, to pick up enough points to help Suzuki leapfrog Honda for a respectable fourth in the standings.
So, have we seen the best of Camier in World Superbikes? It's very possible we may not get a chance to find out if rumours of him heading to MotoGP prove true following Suzuki's decision to oust him in favour of Laverty.
To us, that is a great shame. Are there any spare Kawasaki rides around…?
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2012: 10th
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011: 12th
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2010: 10th
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2009: N/A
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2008: N/A
Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...
FIXI Crescent Suzuki
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