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Leon Camier’s smoking problem explained

Published: 02 September 2009

Updated: 24 November 2014

Airwaves Yamaha have discovered the cause of the smoke that was seen coming from Leon Camier’s R1 during the second BSB race at Cadwell Park on Monday – and ultimately led to his disqualification for ignoring the black and orange flags.

After stripping the stricken R1 back in the workshop on Tuesday his technicians discovered that the oil cooler had rubbed on the exhaust, and caused a small oil leak.

The escaping oil, estimated between 50-100 millilitres, was burnt by the hot exhaust - hence the smoke marshals spotted from trackside. It also explains why there was no easily visible trace of oil on the bike after the race.

Team boss Colin Wright said: "I'd like to apologise to Leon for the error we made at Cadwell Park on Monday.

"We have found that the oil cooler had made contact with the exhaust, causing a small oil leak, and this was responsible for the smoke that was visible for all to see.

“Had this error not occurred, Leon would now be in a position where he would only need 4.5 points in the remaining rounds to secure the championship for Airwaves Yamaha.

"I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Leon for immediately showing dignity and professionalism when he learned of his disqualification from the results.”

There had been several suggestions to the cause during the evening, directly after the race, one that the fairing was rubbing on the engine, another that Camier’s boot was rubbing on the tyre (he ran at Cadwell without the ankle guards) and even that there could have possibly been a piston ring problem.

All these have now been shown not to be the case.

But in the case of the piston ring suggestion, Wright said: “The bike was started after the race and it smoked.

"That’s true. But that’s something that can happen when these bikes are fired up because the oil collects around the valve stems (and is burnt one the engines is fired up).

"In cases like this it’s best not to surmise anything until you’ve had a chance to thoroughly examine the machine – and we only had a chance to do that on Tuesday.”

Wright also took the opportunity to praise the race direction in the way the entire situation was dealt with and at no point – even  immediately after Camier’s exclusion – did he question the decision.

He said: "The marshals and Race Director (Stuart Higgs) absolutely made the right call regarding the black and orange flag.

"It was the only way that Leon would be made aware of a problem. As Leon did not leave the circuit immediately he was disqualified from the results.

"Unfortunately for us, the Race Director had to take this action exactly as the rules state.

"Had the oil leak been worse, Leon could have crashed and would almost certainly have caused others to fall on the oil."

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