Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BSB Brands Indy: Wins for Guintoli and Camier

The British Superbike Championship season kicked off at the short Brands Hatch Indy circuit, with the wins shared between Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli and Englishman Leon Camier.

Guintoli is the sole rider for Worx Crescent Suzuki this year, and as an ex-MotoGP rider all eyes were on him to deliver a good performance. He got the race meeting off to a perfect start by taking pole position on his first visit to the track. HM Plant Honda's new Aussie rider Josh Brookes was unluckiest of all, denied entry to the UK by a pencil pusher who was heroically defending our borders from world-class motorcycle racers who have travelled the world for years without claiming asylum anywhere. Brookes was replaced at Brands by veteran Steve Plater, who would have to race in both the Superbike and Supersport classes.

Race One
Scotsman Stuart Easton took the lead on his Hydrex Honda as the field streamed into Paddock Hill bend for the first time. Behind him, his team mate Karl Harris was battling with Steve Plater, with HM Plant's legal Aussie Glen Richards 4th ahead of Guintoli and Airwaves Yamaha's Leon Camier.

The safety car soon appeared after a high speed crash at Clearways left Matt Bond lying in the track. He was badly battered but basically OK.

When the race restarted, Easton kept his lead, but Glen Richards passed his team mate Plater. A lap later, Richards pounced to take the lead, and Sylvain Guintoli was closing rapidly on Plater. Karl Harris was the first of the leaders to make a big mistake, sliding off the track and out of the race. Steve Plater was relishing the unexpected opportunity to race a superbike, and he overtook Easton on lap 11 to make it an HM Plant Honda one-two at the front. However, Guintoli and Camier were now breathing down Stuart Easton's neck as he tried to hold third place.

Steve Plater took the lead from Richards, totally ignoring the concept of a team pecking order in true wildcard style. With the laps clicking down at a crazy rate due to the very short 47 second lap time, the front group was turning into a five bike squabble. Guintoli was soon up to second, with Camier taking third. Then on lap 16 chaos suddenly reigned at Druids hairpin. Steve Plater fell off all on his own, and almost simultaneously just a few bike lengths behind him, Leon Camier ran off the track while battling with Richards.

There was now a lead group of three, with Guintoli leading from Richards and Easton, then a long gap back to Airwaves Yamaha's James Ellison in 4th. Ellison, another ex-MotoGP rider, lost out to his team-mate Camier with just over a lap to go.

Sylvain Guintoli's Suzuki squirmed around as he led the field round Clearways for the last time to take the chequered flag. It was a brilliant performance from the popular Frenchman as he won his first ever BSB race. Glen Richards took a decent second place, while Stuart Easton took an impressive podium finish, having raced on his spare bike and suffered tyre problems. Leon Camier was 4th, ahead of Ellison and Gary Mason, who was the first Cup class rider home on the Quay Garage Honda.

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