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May 31, 2009

Updated: Camier Sweeps British Superbike Doubleheader At Thruxton

Jason O'Halloran (22). Photo by Turn One Photography, courtesy of SMT Honda.
Round four 31 May Thruxton

ViSK British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli

Leon Camier comfortably won both races in the fourth round of the ViSK British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli at Thruxton to extend his lead in the title stakes to 38 points over his Airwaves Yamaha team-mate James Ellison who finished second in each of the races.

"There was nothing easy about these races," explained Camier. "In the first race the tyres were moving about because of the heat and I was lacking a bit of grip I was not able to be consistently on the pace that we had had earlier in the weekend.

"We made a couple of changes in between races and they paid off," added Camier, who praised the efforts of his team: "They have been working so hard to achieve this level of success when the new parts came, they had everything there for me to be ready to win races."

Camier, who had started from his third pole of the campaign, had an ominous warning for his rivals: "there is more to come this is a mega time for me."

Ellison was unable to make any real impression on Camier. "It was hot out there, and in the first race in particular the pace was not as great as I expected, but I'm glad it wasn't.

"Leon was riding so well that I couldn't stay with him," admitted Ellison who had to ride hard in the closing stages of the second race to hold off the hard charging Josh Brookes who had come through from sixth to be third on the HM Plant Honda.

"We made some changes between the races and you can see what happened," said Brookes who crossed the line a tenth of a second down on Ellison. "This is the old me back again I am working in a good team environment and this is paying back their efforts."

Brookes hard ride into third eased Stuart Easton back into fourth, denying the Hydrex Honda rider a pair of podium finishes, although his consistency has moved him third in the overall standings, though 22 points down on Ellison.

Simon Andrews took fourth place in the opener for the MSS Colchester Kawasaki team, running ahead of Michael Rutter, deputising for the injured Sylvain Guintoli, aboard the Worx Crescent Suzuki, with Glen Richards sixth for HM Plant Honda.

Rutter made it a pair of fifths in the second race as he headed Andrews and Richards to the line.

Gary Mason, riding the Quay Garage Honda, continued his clean sweep in the Cup with a fourth winning double as he finished ninth and twelfth overall. "I had hoped for better overall finishes having secured a front row start but they were maintaining a hot pace ahead of me and they had that bit extra in the corners, so it was frustrating."

Tom Tunstall was second to Mason in the opening race, ahead of Peter Hickman and Martin Jessopp while next time out, Jessopp was second, to maintain his second place in the rankings. Hickman was third from Tunstall.

ViSK British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli

Race One 20 laps

Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha) 25m 27.557sec
James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) +1.296s
Stuart Easton (Hydrex Honda) +7.236s
Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +10.670s
Michael Rutter (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +11.304s
Glen Richards (HM Plant Honda) +11.515s
Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +15.872s
John Laverty (Buildbase Kawasaki) +19.707s
Gary Mason (Quay Garage Honda) +23.199s
Julien Da Costa (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +27.292s

Race Two 20 laps

Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha) 25m 25.643secs
James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) +3.505s
Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +3.640s
Stuart Easton (Hydrex Honda) +5.693s
Michael Rutter (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +6.632s
Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +8.089s
Glen Richards (HM Plant Honda) 11.365s
Ian Lowry (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +11.648s
Karl Harris (Hydrex Honda) +14.344s
Julien Da Costa (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +17.324s

Championship standings

Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha) 167
James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) 129
Stuart Easton (Hydrex Honda) 107
Glen Richards (HM Plant Honda) 95
Sylvain Guintoli (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 77

Next round: June 19-20-21 at Snetterton

More, from a press release issued by SMT Honda:

Podium joy at Thruxton for SMT Honda

Adam Jenkinson gave SMT Honda their first ever British Championship podium on Sunday when he finished third in the fourth round of the Metzeler 1000cc Superstock Championship. The 24-year old had already given the team their first pole position during qualifying and firmly laid to rest the ghosts of 2008 when he suffered two broken arms at the Hampshire circuit. Meanhwile, fellow team member Jason O'Halloran added more points to his Championship total when he finished 13th in the first British Superbike race.

With perfect conditions throughout the three days of action, Jenkinson signalled his intentions in first qualifying when he posted the third fastest time. However, he saved the best until last when a time of 1m17.592s elevated him to the top of the leaderboard in the final 25-minute session and he duly lined up in pole position for the 15-lap race. A solid start saw Adam slot into third place and here he remained for the next ten laps, hot on the heels of leaders Alastair Seeley and Steve Brogan. Briefly relegated to fourth by Howie Mainwaring on the 11th lap, he fought his way back up to third two laps later and he held on to the chequered flag just 0.393s adrift of the race victor Seeley. The 16 points also moved him up to 5th in the Championship table.

O'Halloran was having his first taste of the fast, undulating 2.35-mile circuit and found life tough to begin with, lying in a lowly 25th place after the first day of practice. However, he soon got dialled in and a number of significant improvements to the set-up of the bike saw him shoot up to a strong 11th place in qualifying. In the opening race, Jason looked like he'd finish in 12th place but Graeme Gowland had other ideas and the 21-year old had to settle for 13th at the end of the 20 laps. Race 2 was going in a similar vein but problems in the closing stages saw him drop back to an eventual 17th place. With 34 points, Jason now lies in 11th place overall.

Speaking later, team manager Robin Croft commented:

"We're absolutely made up with Adam's performance and it's been a weekend of firsts for us - a first ever pole position and then a first ever podium. I'm really proud of how he's riding and after everything that happened here in April last year, it's great to lay those particular demons to rest. We've stuck by him and he's stuck by us so it's a terrific result and fully deserved by everyone."

"Jason's obviously never been here before and it's a very unique circuit. It's faster than anywhere else we go and is very bumpy so it's a tough place for a newcomer to come to. Having said that, he made great strides throughout the three days, reducing his times with each outing, and it was mainly geometry issues that held us back. We couldn't get the bike to quite handle as we would have liked but we've picked up some more points and are still in 11th overall. It's been a landmark weekend for the team and the guys continue to work incredibly hard so we're now all looking forward to Snetterton."

The team now have a three-week break before the next round at Snetterton, which takes place on Sunday July 21st.

More, from a press release issued by GSE Racing/Airwaves Yamaha:


Leon Camier and James Ellison followed their one-two in qualifying yesterday with another couple of one-two finishes at Thruxton today. Leon's double win in the fourth round of the British Superbike Championship takes him to 167 points at the top of the table. James strengthened his position in 2nd with 129 points.

In race one James took the lead into turn one from second on the grid. Pole man Leon slipped down to 4th. Posting the fastest lap of the race, Leon made his way up to 2nd and overtook James for the lead at Cobb on lap 3. The Airwaves Yamaha pair remained unchallenged for the remainder of the race to take the team's second one-two of the season.

James once again took the lead off the line in the second race, with Leon slotting in behind. Leon overtook James at the Club chicane at the end of the first lap before setting the fastest lap of the day. His time of 1:14.933 just one hundredth of a second off the circuit record. James withheld a late challenge from Josh Brookes on the Honda to secure another one-two for Airwaves Yamaha.

Clearly delighted with the day's results, Leon commented, "To get another double win, and to see Airwaves Yamaha achieve one-two's in both races feels fantastic. Race one was tough. As usual I didn't get a great start and the times weren't as we'd expected. We made a few changes to the bike in between and race two was a lot more enjoyable. I had my best ever start in race two! I really want to thank everyone at GSE Racing and Airwaves Yamaha for all their hard work. We riders get all the congratulations, but it's thanks to them."

Following race two James said, "After struggling at the start of this weekend, a double podium is a fantastic result. Leon rode superbly in both races, so congratulations to him. The Airwaves Yamaha is such a good bike to ride, I'm having so much fun and I can't wait to get to Snetterton,"

Race One Results:

1 Leon Camier Airwaves Yamaha
2 James Ellison Airwaves Yamaha
3 Stuart Easton Hydrex Honda

Race Two Results:

1 Leon Camier Airwaves Yamaha
2 James Ellison Airwaves Yamaha
3 Josh Brookes HM Plant Honda

Championship Positions:

1 Leon Camier Airwaves Yamaha - 167 points
2 James Ellison Airwaves Yamaha - 129 points

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

Michael Rutter claimed two fifth place finishes today in his debut Worx Crescent Suzuki debut at the fourth round of the British Superbike Championship at Thruxton in Hampshire.

With so little time to get to know the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 it was always going to be a tall order to steal a podium finish, but Rutter's two gritty rides took him close.

Before the start of the first race, and from the front row of the grid, the team was able to send best wishes via live television to their rider Sylvain Guintoli, who's still recovering in hospital after the incident at Donington Park last week where he was injured.

When the start came, Rutter made a fair fist of it, holding sixth place in the early stages. He then lost a couple of places as he allowed the bike to settle in, but from mid-race onwards Rutter equalled the pace of the lead riders, ending the race on a high note as he dramatically out-braked Honda's Glen Richards at the final chicane on the last lap to claim fifth.

The second race was no less intense and in fact followed a very similar pattern: A better start saw him fifth on the first lap but again losing places in the scrum of the early stages. Again Rutter rallied and fought back, with lap times that were typically first-or-second fastest.

Michael Rutter:

"What a wonderful bike! As a first experience of the GSX-R I'm really impressed. Looking at the day, I could definitely have done with more time to refine the set-up: This morning's set-up in warm-up didn't work quite as we hoped so we rode with what we had yesterday, which wasn't quite perfect. I could have ridden better too - smoother would have been faster - but I have to be happy for I know I can improve. It's been a great weekend in so many ways."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

"We've had a very good weekend. We came here only three days after the disaster of Donington and started with a new rider who'd never ridden the bike before. There was so little time to sort bike and rider that in all fairness Michael did a very good job.

"We can't grumble with getting two fifths, and the way Michael was matching the lap times of the leaders through the later stages of the races also showed he can be very quick. It's just a matter of getting more time on the bike; that's what cost him in the early stages of each race, but you can see that with time in the saddle he'd build his confidence and belief."

ViSK British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli
Round Four, Thruxton:

Race one result:

1. Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha)
2. James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) +1.296s
3. Stuart Easton (Hydrex Honda) +7.236s
4. Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +10.670s
5. Michael Rutter (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +11.304s
6. Glen Richards (HM Plant Honda) +11.515s
7. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +15.872s
8. John Laverty (Buildbase Kawasaki) +19.707s
9. Gary Mason (Quay Garage Honda) +23.199s
10. Julien Da Costa (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +27.292s

Race two result:

1. Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha)
2. James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) +3.505s
3. Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +3.640s
4. Stuart Easton (Hydrex Honda) +5.963s
5. Michael Rutter (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +6.632s
6. Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +8.089s
7. Glen Richards (HM Plant Honda) +11.365s
8. Ian Lowry (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +11.648s
9. Karl Harris (Hydrex Honda) +14.344s
10. Julien Da Costa (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +17.324s

Championship points (after four rounds): 1 Leon Camier 167, 2 James Ellison 129, 3 Stuart Easton 107, 4 Glen Richards 95, 5 Sylvain Guintoli, Worx Crescent Suzuki 77, 6 Karl Harris 72, 7 Simon Andrews 58, 8 Gary Mason 57, 9 Chris Walker 49, 10 Ian Lowry 48, 16 Michael Rutter, Works Crescent Suzuki 22.

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:


Team Suzuki Press Office - May 31.

Alastair Seeley and the 2009 GSX-R1000 Suzuki remain unbeaten in this season's British Superstock Championship after win number four at Thruxton in Hampshire.

Seeley may have relinquished his 100 per cent pole position record in qualifying, but the 29-year-old played the perfect game of cat and mouse throughout the 15 lap race, out-smarting and out-riding his rivals to take the chequered flag after setting the fastest lap of the race.

In the British Superbike class, Ian Lowry looked to be heading for a top-five finish in race one, but at half distance, his rear tyre started to shred itself on the right-hand side, leaving the 22-year-old with the unenviable task of nursing his GSX-R1000 Superbike home in 19th place. Ironically, Lowry recorded the second-fastest lap of the race before his tyre problems.

In race two, he got himself involved in another battle for the top-10 with experienced performers Karl Harris and Glen Richards. The Moira racer eventually passed Harris on the last lap to take eighth place and now sits 10th in the series on 48 points.

Atsu Watanabe improved on his Donington performance, scoring points in the opening race, but the Japanese rider crashed out of race two at the final chicane when he ground out an engine casing on one of Thruxton's high kerbs.

Alastair Seeley:

"I had the benefit of being able look at Brogan today in the race and I was able to see where he was good and not so good. I don't think the 2009 GSX-R1000 was out-performed anywhere on the circuit, and, in the last few laps I decided to hit the front as one of the boys showed me a wheel and I didn't want to get caught out. Once at the front I was able to pull the pin. It's another win for Relentless Suzuki and a perfect race record so far this season."

Ian Lowry:

"I'm disappointed as I was on-the-pipe in that first race before the rear tyre ran into problems. In the second race I tried to preserve the tyre and was possibly a little conservative. I should really have been in that top six, battling for a podium, but I now think it's as much down to experience as it is pace. The GSX-R1000 Superbike was a match for anything at the fast Thruxton Circuit and I now just have to put the head down and get myself ready for Snetterton in a couple of weeks time."

Philip Neill - Team Principal:

"It was a strange sort of weekend whereby Ian gave us a lot of belief and showed that we have the pace with the Relentless Suzuki for a podium. Ian has established himself now in the top-eight in BSB but the next stop is going to be difficult, although he is acquitting himself very well. He has been very consistent, not making mistakes, and in race one today it was unfortunate that he had a tyre problem. With the tyres being mass produced, there's always a chance you can get a bad one and it certainly cost Ian fourth or fifth place today. In race two he was possibly a little conservative but eighth is a positive result.

"Atsushi improved his lap times considerably today and was fighting for a top 10 in race one. Unfortunately he slipped off in race two at the final chicane, thankfully unhurt.

"Alastair Seeley had a superb day and it's been a long time since I've witnessed such a mature, calculated and well-read race from a rider: He showed battling qualities and after we discussed a race plan, he executed it perfectly using the qualities of the 2009 GSX-R1000 to take the win."

National Superstock 1000cc: 1 Alastair Seeley [Relentless Suzuki] 19:47.020; 2 Steve Brogan [Honda] +0.085; 3 Adam Jenkinson [Honda] +0.393; 4 James Hillier [Kawasaki] +1.747; 5 Howie Mainwaring [Kawasaki] +2.239; 6 Sam Warren [Yamaha] +6.091. 18 BJ Toal [Relentless Suzuki].

Isle of Man TT 2009:

You can follow Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing's Cameron Donald and Bruce Anstey at this year's TT Races on Radio TT [AM 1368]. Racing commences this Saturday June 6 with the Superbike TT at 12 noon. Tune in from tomorrow night [Monday] for LIVE coverage of the qualifying sessions from 6.20pm.

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