James Ellison - Championship position: 9th - Points: 119 - Podium credits: 11
Ellison’s 2017 MCE British Superbike season was described thusly by a man in the pub the other night: “If he fell into a bucket of tits, he would come up sucking his thumb.”
The MCAMS Yamaha man was a strong title favourite after an exceptional pre-season at Cartagena saw him on lap record pace, running what then was almost a road bike with very little in the way of setup data or the promised special parts from Yamaha Europe.
It began well, taking a still-undeveloped R1 to Donington and bagging 25 points from two races. Brands Indy saw him on top again with a pole position and re-writing the lap record sheets. A crash at Druids and then a problem with the bike saw that converted into a no-score when 50 was on the cards.
Things began to turn with a first podium at Knockhill’s second race but then disaster struck again at Snetterton. Another top-three in Superpole was rewarded with an no score in both races - one an ‘electrical issue’ followed by a crash out of a podium spot.
The rollercoaster has been running all year but the first win finally came in race two at Cadwell Park. God, as they say, loves a trier and Ellison is one of those. He lives on boiled chicken and raw broccoli, that’s how much he wants it. And at Silverstone this weekend, he really has nothing to lose…
“I am feeling really confident coming into Silverstone, we picked ourselves up after Thruxton because we knew it would still be mathematically possible to make the Showdown and we arrived at Cadwell Park with the bit between my teeth and I knew I had to dig in,” said the former member of the Kendal massive.
“We came out with a solid race in the first one and that put us third on the grid for race two and then we scored McAMS Yamaha’s first race win in the championship. That was a pretty big deal for all of us.
“After Cadwell Park the championship is pretty much back on track; nobody is secure in the top six, not Shakey, not Haslam, and so we come into Silverstone with three races and 75 points up for grabs and there isn’t much between us. I am coming into the decider with a heck of a lot more confidence than I had before Cadwell Park, because I love the track and had some fantastic races there so can’t wait.
“I am relaxed; the last couple of races I have been pushing for the win and I was a bit more cautious because I didn’t want to lose anything, but at Silverstone I have nothing to lose now. If we don’t give it everything and don’t bring everything to the table we won’t be in the Showdown so I am going to do whatever it takes because I want a spot and if we can get into the top six then we can still win this championship.”
Ellison has a small mountain, or fell as people from his neck of the woods would call it, to climb this weekend as the points margin to sixth place is 42. But that is a very famous number. He should bring a towel…