Features 20 Jul 2023

Conversation: Cameron Swain

R3 Cup leader on perfect Warwick SSP 300 weekend and overseas opportunity.

A successful outing at round five of the 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) saw 14-year-old Cameron Swain deliver a perfect weekend in Supersport 300 and take the lead in the R3 Cup standings at Morgan Park. The former Oceania Junior Cup (OJC) champion has the opportunity to become the first rider to win OJC, SSP 300 and R3 Cup titles, but will venture overseas beforehand, first as a wildcard in the European R3 Cup at Magny Cours, then lining up at the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU SuperFinale at Portimao. The promising Queensland-based talent features in our latest Conversation.

Image: Foremost Media.

Morgan Park last weekend, pretty successful for you. You made some big points gains in the Supersport 300 category and had some pretty solid finishes as well in the R3 Cup. Talk us through that. 

My whole weekend in Supersport 300 was absolutely perfect. I topped every single practice session, I got pole position which was an extra point and won every single race – one of those wins was by 5.2 seconds. For Supersport 300, I couldn’t ask for any more. In the R3 Cup, I topped every practice session, got pole position and got three-second place finishes and broke the lap record in the R3 Cup with a 1m22.8s. So in the R3 Cup championship, I’m leading it by 10 points, I was behind in second by two points. In Supersport 300 I was sitting in fourth position, and was like 44 points off P1 and now I am in second position and only two points off P1. My whole weekend was absolutely awesome.

Solid gains made for sure! What’s it like going up against someone like Brando [Brandon Demmery] who has a wealth of experience in the category? 

Going up against Brandon, he’s definitely the smartest rider out there, in my opinion. When it comes to outright speed, he is just like the other guys. At Eastern Creek he was really fast, he was definitely the hardest guy there, and it was me and him that pulled away in the final race in mixed conditions. He outsmarted me in that race. At QR he was very smart on when to lead, where to lead, he never won a race but he was always on the podium at QR. That’s where I fell behind in the championship, at that point. When it comes to outright battling, he’s a super clean rider, his moves are aggressive but he doesn’t do dirty moves – that’s what I really like about him. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, he’s a super awesome guy. I always like battling with him out on track, he’s like I said super clean.

With the ASBK break now, it’s not until the end of October that you guys are back in action. However, you’ve got some European racing on the cards, that must be pretty exciting for you! Can you elaborate on that a little bit, and your thoughts and feelings on getting the chance to head back overseas? 

I’m extremely excited for that. My main objective really is to just show that I’m not slow, and the Aussies are fast. Last year in the Asia Talent Cup was a good experience with the MotoGP, but in my opinion, I was too big to be competitive on the bikes. For sure I could have been a bit faster, but the amount of time I was losing on the straights was just too much to be able to compete really. I’m hoping that on the R3s, it isn’t like that. I mean I’ve been riding them for a long time now, and I haven’t been struggling with that sort of stuff. When I go over there, I’m purely going to give it 110 percent and absolutely send it, because I’ve got nothing to lose in that championship, I’m just doing a wildcard. In the SuperFinale, I’m just going to give it my absolute everything, to be honest, to try to win it.

The winner gets a free ride in the Yamaha bLU cRU European Cup R3 Cup there next year? 


Image: Foremost Media.

If you can secure that I guess your intentions would be to stay on a 300 next year? Say if that isn’t the outcome, would you be looking to step up to a 600 here domestically in 2024? 

If I do well in the SuperFinale, well I have to win it to get a free ride. If I win it, I’m pretty sure I’d do that championship next year because it’s free number one, and it would be so much cheaper than 600s in Australia. If I don’t get that, I’m really undecided on what I’m going to do. I want to do 600s, but I don’t have the money for it at the moment.

It’s tough with the finances for sure. Speaking of 600s, you’ve had the chance to sample one here, haven’t you?

I’ve had three sessions all up, I’ve had a go on Mitch Kuhne’s, Johnny Lytras’ and I’ve had a go on a Honda as well.

How did you find that step? Obviously, there’s the horsepower and weight difference when you make the step up, but what was the most striking thing for you hoping on the 600? 

The only thing that really came across to me was just the initial power getting off the corner. That was the biggest thing to get used to, just being able to control it on the throttle, it feels like it would be something in the long races you would have to control your tyres a lot more, whereas 300s, it’s just a 10-lap sprint, you don’t really wear out the tyres that much. In the 600s, I love the power. The braking, for me it wasn’t something that felt… Obviously, you are going into the corner a lot faster, but it didn’t strike me to be that crazy hard. It was more just the initial acceleration from the apex.

Looking towards the end of the year, you’ve already won the OJC title [in 2021] but you got the chance to become a double champion in the Supersport 300 and R3 Cup categories. If you do that, you’d be the first rider to win a title in each of the three of those classes. Has that thought really crossed your mind at all, and what it would mean to secure a double championship win at the end of the year? 

To be honest, it actually hasn’t. If I can pull that off, I tell you what it would be a big party that night [laughs]. It would be absolutely insane to win R3 Cup and Supersport 300 with the OJC as well, as I would be the first rider to ever do it. There are only two rounds left, but that’s still six races for both classes. I’m still taking it race by race, and I’ll start thinking about the championship if it goes through to The Bend, we will see what happens at Phillip Island first. I feel like it’s going to be cool if it comes down to a final lap, final race thing at The Bend.