There were mixed fortunes for the Padgett's 125 riders at Donington Park at the weekend, as defending champion Leon Camier came home in second place whilst team-mate Daniel Coutts struggled to a valiant tenth, riding through the pain of injuries sustained in Saturday qualifying.

Despite failing to secure a front row position, a demon start from 16-year old Camier saw him firmly in third place by lap four, having passed Hodgson, Wilcox and Laverty. At the head of the field, Red Bull rookie Midge Smart and newly crowned champion Chris Martin were trading lap times with Camier in hot pursuit. Despite having already won the title, Martin was in no mood to settle for second place and Camier had a grandstand view as the two riders in front of him fought it out. The furious pace took it's toll three laps from the end of the race, however, when Smart took to the gravel, leaving Martin to take the flag ahead of Camier, with Paul Veazey taking third, five seconds behind the leading pair.

"After a difficult second qualifying left me on the second row, I needed to get a good start if I was to have any chance of staying with the front-runners," reported Camier, "I managed to get clear of the others in the first three laps, but Midge and Chris were really flying today and they'd already pulled out a significant lead. All I could do was keep my head down and hope they would slow each other up.

"When I saw Midge go off, I thought Chris might ease up, but he was just too far ahead to catch with only three laps left. Whilst I would have loved the win, finishing the year with a second place in the race and third in the championship goes some way to thanking the team for all the help they've given me this season. And it's certainly given my new sponsors from the Bank Of Ireland something to celebrate here today!"

Team-mate Coutts' hopes of improving on his third place finish at Mallory were dashed after a tumble in qualifying on the Saturday left the Horsham schoolboy with a swollen elbow. Following an eleventh hour decision to compete in the race, the 15-year old managed to ride through the discomfort and finish a creditable tenth after a race-long battle with Sam Owens and Kris Weston.

"It's disappointing after Mallory not to be racing for another podium slot," Coutts said, "but at least I was able to finish the season properly, rather than watching from the garage. I wanted to do it to say thanks to all the people that have helped me so much this year. I'm glad that's the last race though, because the doctors have just told me I've got a broken shoulder as well as a damaged elbow!"

Whilst Coutts is expected to return to the National 125 series next year, Camier has been offered a ride in the 125cc World GP Championship for 2003. Having already competed in three GPs for the Racing Service team this year, the team has been sufficiently impressed by his enthusiasm and professional attitude to offer Camier a place in the team, using the same equipment run by veteran Stefano Perugini in 2002.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for me," Camier said, "But, of course, nothing's for free. Now I've got to switch my attention from winning races to putting together the funding to be able to take up this offer from the Racing Service team. We need at least three times what it costs to do a year in the UK, so you can be sure I'll be working hard to make sure my sponsors get value for money."



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