What’s that American cliché for not counting your chickens too quickly? It’s not over ‘till it’s over? Well it could be over a lot sooner than Leon Camier’s rivals think unless they come up with a new game plan to take the races to the Airwaves Yamaha star.
Neither Camier nor the Airwaves Yamaha team are the sort of people to get complacent but from the outside, and team boss Colin Wright will always spout the ‘ain’t over till it’s over’ philosophy no matter how many points his guys have in the bag. But it’s getting increasingly difficult to see anyone stepping up to the plate to seriously challenge them.
In all my years of covering BSB I cannot remember there having been such a dominant riders in the series. And I’m thinking even before the 1995 revamp that put the championship on a professional footing that the current guardians have exploited to make it the best superbike series in the world.
There have been times when one team seemed to rule the roost: The Cadbury Boost era when Niall Mackenzie won the title in 1996, ’97 and 98 is a classic example but every year the canny Scot had an equally magnificent team-mate to push him all the way to the title: James Whitham in ’96, Chris Walker in ’97 plus Steve Hislop (as well as Walker who had switched to Kawasaki) in ’98.
And for an individual effort, there was Shakey’s sensational run of eight straight wins in the first half of his 2003 title-winning year but at least there were always riders snapping at his heels and we saw Michael Rutter, John Reynolds, Yukio Kagayama, Steve Plater and Sean Emmett also taking wins off him during the course of the year.
For too long I guess we’ve been spoilt with the classic Airwaves Ducati versus HM Plant Honda confrontations but this year’s title fight is a little one-sided. Ironic really since everyone expected the Airwaves team to come out a little behind the game after no testing, and Honda, with what seemed a well sorted motorcycle after the end of last season’s form, to take the early advantage.
But it’s been totally the opposite. Honda have been playing ctach-up and Camier is a class apart on the R1. Even his team-mate James Ellison hasn’t yet found that secret ingredient to match his pace.
To be fair Josh Brookes is rapidly improving and the HM Plant Honda team appear to have finally given him a machine he can really exploit. You’ll have to read Wednesday’s Mcn to get the full inside story on that.
Suffice to say that all the Aussie seems to be lacking now is a little bit of track knowledge to really start hassling Camier. It’s just a damn shame that Glen Richards got hurt in qualifying at Knockhill because he too was at last looking really competitive.
The other rider who keeps threatening to really trouble Camier is Stuart Easton but somehow he’s just coming up short with what it takes to chalk up his first BSB victory. If we weren’t all so desperate to find someone to spice up the championship I guess we’d be sat be heaping praise on the young Scot.
He’s far exceeded his team boss Shaun Muir’s expectations this year and amazed everyone with his smooth, flawless and incredibly consistent rides. He’s even run up front but just can’t find that tiny little extra to repel Camier’s relentless pursuits.
Maybe it’s nothing more than simply having the self-belief that he can get the job done. After all he can run the laps times, makes great starts, has bags of experience in supersport of winning races. So what’s the issue?
But even if Brookes or Easton do up their game just that little fraction it would take to pressure Camier, there’s still an undercurrent of feeling the Airwaves Yamaha rider has not really extended himself yet and could continue to dominate the show.