Leon Camier is confident that his Airwaves Yamaha team have solved the technical blip that ended his four race winning spree and going into the fourth round of the ViSK British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli at Thruxton he is keen to return to winning ways, extending his 28 points lead in the title stakes.
James Ellison, his team-mate, however could have a big say in that. Having tasted the winner’s champagne last time out, enjoying maiden success in the series, the Cumbrian is eager for more, especially as he is now second in the overall standings.
That, together with the revitalised form of Chris Walker, riding Yamaha in Motorpoint Henderson colours, and Michael Rutter deputising for the injured Sylvain Guintoli on the locally prepared Worx Crescent Suzuki should ensure tough competition at the sharp-end of the pack in this buoyant series.
Camier regards the Hampshire circuit as his second home: “I spend half my time living nearby in Wimborne so Thruxton is like a home race for me. I’ve always really enjoyed riding the circuit and I think the bike should be well suited to it.
“The guys back at the workshop have been working around the clock since Donington Park to look at the problems we had in race two, so I’m confident we should have a good weekend. A lot of my friends will be at the track on race day, so I’ll be aiming to give them all something to celebrate about,” added Camier.
Ellison can hardly wait to get going:“It’s a tight turnaround for everyone, but it can’t come soon enough for me. I can’t wait to get back on the bike and carry on this good momentum. It hasn’t really sunk in just how well Donington Park went. My first BSB win was a long time coming, but the way the bike is performing, I don’t think it’ll be long before we’re on the top step of the podium once again.”
Rutter, meanwhile, will be dialling himself into racing Suzuki for the first time, but the most experienced rider in the series, with 305 appearances, knows that he has a proven race winning bike in the Worx Crescent Suzuki.
“This is a great opportunity for me at a real rider’s circuit,” said Rutter. “I’m very excited and with two podium finishes at Thruxton last year I’m confident that we can put together two good results.”
Equally keen to turn on the style will be Walker, who in his career has four times been the runner-up in the series, and that leaves him with unfinished business, both in the series and at Thruxton, as he explained: “To be honest the circuit has always been a bit of a nemesis of mine which is strange as I have always liked the track itself.
“I just have never been able to set the world on fire there, but I want to put that right and try and have another good start to the weekend in practice and qualifying then see what happens race day,” added Walker.
Add in the growing challenges of the Hydrex Honda riders Stuart Easton and Karl Harris; the HM Plant Hondas in the hands of Glen Richards and Josh Brookes, plus the Kawasakis of Simon Andrews and Julien da Costa, running in MSS Colchester trim, and those of John Laverty and Tristan Palmer in Buildbase colours and the two 20 laps races promise fast and frantic action.
Fast facts – Thruxton:
Lap records – 2.3560 mile circuit
Superbike Gregorio Lavilla, Ducati, 1m 14.890s, 113.25mph, 17/04/06
Supersport Leon Camier, Honda, 1m 17.580s, 109.32mph, 10/04/05
125GP Nikki Coates, Honda, 1m 21.037s, 104.4mph 15/04/07
S/Stock 1000 Hudson Kennaugh, Yamaha, 1m 17.698s, 109.14mph, 15/04/07
S/stock 600 Luke Jones, Yamaha, 1m20.603secs, 105.22mph 20/04/08
Sunday 20 April – Round One – British Superbikes
Race one – 20 laps
1 S Byrne, Ducati, 25m 33.903secs, 110.58mph
2 C Crutchlow, Honda
3 M Rutter, Ducati
4 L Haslam, Honda
5 L Camier, Ducati
6 T Sykes, Suzuki
Race two – 15 laps
1 C Crutchlow, Honda, 19m 05.302secs, 111.08mph
2 S Byrne, Ducati
3 M Rutter, Ducati
4 L Camier, Ducati
5 M Laverty, Suzuki
6 S Easton, Kawasaki