Aprilia World Superbike rider Leon Camier put in arguably the ride of his career at Australia’s Phillip Island circuit today. The 24-year old who is suffering from glandular fever topped his 13th place in Race One with an astonishing ride from 16th to 6th in Race Two. Leon now leaves the opening round of the season lying just outside the top ten in the Championship standings.
Leon had an appalling lead up to race day, falling ill at the start of the week and completing just 29 laps in the official test before illness forced him to withdraw. Less than 24 hours before the first official session of the season, the 2009 British Superbike Champion was diagnosed with glandular fever. Despite this diagnosis, Leon continued to take part in all sessions but struggled, particularly as a result of dizziness and breathlessness, meaning he was unable to ride for more than 3 or 4 laps at a time.
In qualifying for today’s two races Leon fought hard against double-World Superbike Champion James Toseland for the final place in the top 16 and progress through to Superpole. Unfortunately Leon lost out in the final part of the session, finishing just two tenths of a second behind to place him 17th on the grid.
From the 5th and penultimate row on the grid, Leon had a steady start to Race One, initially making up a place before falling back down to 18th. Over the next few laps Leon made up a position every lap before getting into a steady rhythm lying in 13th. Leon managed to get his Aprilia up to 11th on lap 14, but was unable to hold on, finally finishing back in 13th.
Defying mental and physical exhaustion from his Race One performance, Leon had another steady start to Race Two before once again gradually making his way through the field. Breaking into the top 10 on lap on lap 15 of 22, Leon refused to let up and was lying in 8th on the final lap before overtaking the fellow Aprilia of Haga and the Suzuki of Fabrizio to cross the finishing line in 6th place.
After Race Two Leon commented, “I’m honestly shocked by today’s results, especially the second race. I just concentrated on keeping things steady and trying to get into a rhythm, not making any mistakes, and I managed to work my way through.
“I have never felt so ill and wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to finish, so to come away just outside the top ten of the Championship isn’t so bad. It’s frustrating to think what might have been if I wasn’t ill, but there’s no point dwelling on it. There’s a long season ahead of us and to see what we achieved today, even with my illness, is definitely encouraging.
“I can’t really explain just how tired I’m feeling now. Luckily we’ve got four weeks before the round at Donington Park to try and get myself back to normal. I really want to thank everyone who has taken the time to send in messages of support this weekend. Hopefully I can repay you all at the next round.”
Round Two of the World Superbike Championship heads to Donington Park, Great Britain. Track action kicks off on the 25th March with race day on the 27th March.