Aussie Donald in shock split with TAS team
Less than two weeks after announcing Australian Cameron Donald as part of their International Road Racing set-up for 2011, Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing have performed a shock u-turn and parted company with Melbourne based 33-year-old.
Donald finished a lowly eighth for the Moneymore-based Relentless team in Saturday’s Macau Grand Prix in Asia — the very course that kick-started his enthusiasm for pure road racing back in 2001.
A lengthy telephone conversation followed between Donald in Macau and team boss Philip Neill, some 6,000 miles away in Moneymore, with both parties in full agreement to terminate the contract.
Philip Neill would not be drawn on the ‘whys and wherefores’, but said: “This is very much a joint decision between myself and Cameron. There is absolutely no ill feeling between us and as a team, we wish him well in the future. I don’t wish to discuss any other details as I have a lot of respect for Cameron on a personal level.”
However, speaking from Singapore, downhearted Donald explained the situation quite candidly.
He said: “I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of people to work with, but I think I need to shock my system and it’s best for everyone involved if I give up my spot in the team.
“I just want to thank Hector and Philip Neill; Suzuki and all of the team’s loyal sponsors for their support — and of course my crew who put in so much effort to help me win races.
“I think it’s time to take a different direction.”
Donald took coveted Superbike and Superstock victories at the Isle of Man TT back in 2008 with the Neills’ official Suzuki team, but a high speed practice crash in June 2009 ended his season with a serious shoulder injury.
Since his return to racing earlier this year, the affable Aussie has never looked quite like the ‘Cam’ of old and that has left a big question mark over his mental state for racing.
Could Donald’s ‘different direction’ statement possibly mean retirement, or maybe even a return to racing with Londonderry-based Wilson Craig on Honda machinery and Dunlop tyres?
Only time will tell.