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A profile of Leon Camier, 2009 British Superbike champion

By Dan Moakes
April 21 2010

Leon Camier
nationality · English
born · 4 August 1986
grand prix début · 2002
world supersport début · 2006
world superbike début · 2009

The double of British championship titles in Supersport and Superbike racing has been done by a couple of other riders, but only Leon Camier has won his country’s 125cc GP title as well. That crown came at an early age, as Leon would become too tall a man to ride anything other than the biggest motorcycles, which he now seems to have been born to race. 2010 sees him move to a fourth different Superbike racing machine, competing with the Aprilia after mastering machines from Honda, Ducati and Yamaha. His season on the R1 saw him break all the British Superbike records, marking him out as one of the brightest young talents from Britain at present.

Grasstrack racing début; first race win

60cc Grasstrack British Champion

60cc Grasstrack British Champion

100cc Grasstrack British Champion

100cc Grasstrack British Champion

100cc Grasstrack British Champion

Junior 80cc Road Racing British Champion

3rd in British Aprilia Challenge

2000 GSE Racing, number 24 Honda
12th equal in the 125cc British championship, with a best result of fifth at Donington Park, and three times sixth

2001 GSE Racing, number 24 Honda
125cc British Champion at 15, with two wins (Brands Hatch and Mallory Park), five other podium results, and fastest lap at Oulton Park. Supported by Superbike team boss Darryl Healey, Leon finished in front of future MotoGP star Casey Stoner to take the title by three points

2002 Padgett’s, number 1 Honda
Another year in British 125 racing saw plenty of top six results, but no more wins. Four podium results included second at Oulton Park and Donington Park, and he took fastest lap at Silverstone - in the end he was third overall
Also raced three times in 125cc Grands Prix, with the number 24 bike for Italjet Racing Service

2003 Metasystem Racing Service, number 21 Honda
There was a full-time 125 GP ride for Leon in 2003, but his Honda was outclassed and the team under-funded. After nine races his best results were all outside the top twenty, so he decided to look elsewhere for a competitive ride. On a British Supersport 600cc Honda he scored two points in the final race of the year at Donington

2004 Padgett’s, number 17 Honda
Camier made a permanent switch to four-stroke racing with a full-time British Supersport ride. He was fast but unlucky, and his best results were second place at both Thruxton and Croft. Overall he was seventh in the series, but took four fastest laps, more than anyone else that year

2005 Padgett’s Motorcycles, number 2 Honda
The Honda CBR600RR was ridden to good effect by Leon in 2005, as he was nine times in the top four. These included four wins from his first six finishes, and there were seven podium results in total. With two fastest laps, he took his second senior British championship title
Also finished 15th in the Suzuka 8 Hours with a Honda CBR1000RR, partnered by Naoki Matsudo in the Moriwaki Motul Tiger Racing team
Camier’s season seemed to have earned him the HRC-backed HM Plant Honda ride in British Superbikes for 2006, as partner to Ryuichi Kiyonari, but sponsorship problems meant that this move did not come off

2006 Northpoint Ekerold Honda, number 1 Honda
So there followed another season on the CBR600RR, but this time in a different team and with Pirelli tyres on the bike. Taking a while to get to grips with this change, Leon didn’t get on the podium until the fifth race, and that second place at Mallory Park would be his best result. His other finishes were all in the top six and, with a couple of fastest laps, he ended the season in fourth overall
Also raced as a World Supersport wildcard with number 56 on the bike, taking tenth at Brands Hatch; and also raced again in the Suzuka 8 Hours with a Honda CBR1000RR, partnered by Shogo Moriwaki in the Moriwaki Motul Racing team - qualified 11th but did not finish

Leon Camier 2007 - photo © Graham Etheridge
© Graham Etheridge

2007 Bike Animal Honda, number 2 Honda
Now Leon graduated to the CBR1000RR FireBlade with a British Superbike ride on Dunlop tyres, kicking off very strongly with top five results from his first five starts. Indeed, he began with second and third at Brands (from the front row of the grid), then second at Thruxton. No more podium results followed, but he continued as a top eight regular. After the tenth round at Croft, Camier was seventh in the series and in contention for rookie of the year. However, Cadwell Park saw his season reach an early conclusion. After crashing in race one, having chased up to the two leaders with fastest lap, he had a big accident at the spectacular Mountain section in race two, breaking his left leg. This left him on 199 points, and finally eighth overall
Also finished 5th in the Suzuka 8 Hours with a Honda CBR1000RR, partnered by Tatsuya Yamaguchi in the Moriwaki Motul Racing team

Leon Camier 2008 - photo © Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

2008 Airwaves Ducati, number 2 Ducati
Leon was brought back into the GSE Racing team for 2008, the long established outfit with years of BSB and WSB experience running Ducati machinery. They would now be racing the 1098R under new capacity rules, and Camier joined 2003 BSB winner Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne. While his team-mate set the pace, Leon began as a top five regular, with podium visits at Oulton and Brands. Then he was first and second at Snetterton, but suffered accidents in the next couple of rounds. He was back up to speed by Cadwell, and a took a win each at Croft and Silverstone. He finished the season in fifth overall, but close behind the third and fourth men, on 306 points - also one fastest lap

Leon Camier 2009 - photo © Raceline Photography
© Raceline Photography

2009 Airwaves Yamaha, number 2 Yamaha
For 2009 the GSE team made an unexpected switch to Yamaha machinery, with the YZF-R1 in near-WSB spec. Leon’s main rivals from the year before had all left the series, and he went to town, winning 19 races from 26, starting from pole position at nine of the twelve rounds, and taking 18 fastest laps. Once early challenger Sylvain Guintoli was sidelined by injury, there was never any real doubt that the title would be Leon’s and it proved a record breaking year in BSB
Also raced as a World Superbike wildcard at Donington, with bike number 22, and a best result of sixth. He also made a good impression in the last two rounds as part of the Aprilia Racing team, with sixth and seventh on the RSV4 at Portimão, not far behind team-mate Max Biaggi

2010 Aprilia Alitalia Racing, number 2 Aprilia
For 2010, Leon continues as Biaggi’s team-mate with a full-time ride in the Superbike World Championship

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