Amidst one of the lowest points hauls of the season for the team, Hydrex Bike Animal Honda rider James Ellison salvaged some pride by posting a sixth place finish in race two at the penultimate round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship held at Silverstone today.
After problems during qualifying, which saw him have to resort to his spare bike, Ellison was hoping for a good result and in the opening race got a great start to run with the leading bunch in the opening laps. However a mistake going into the Woodcote Chicane saw the 28 year old from Kendal slide out and in doing so scored his first non-finish of the season in a race.
In the second race, Ellison got his trademark lightening start and once again ran at the front of the field until he slipped back into the clutches of the pursuing pack but displaying some great fighting spirit, Ellison clawed his way to sixth at the chequered flag to temper his disappointment from race one.
For team mate Guy Martin the weekend proved to be a disaster and after crashing out during qualifying, the 27 year old from Kirmington failed to finish both races due to technical problems on his bike meaning he didn't add to his points tally for the season.
The third member of the Shaun Muir Racing team also left Silverstone disappointed when Kieran Clarke failed to score points in the Metzeler Racetec 1000 Superstock Championship when he was involved in a first lap incident and despite staying on board of the 1000cc Fireblade, he rejoined almost last but battled back to 23rd.
The final round of the championship takes place in two weeks time at Brands Hatch in Kent where the team will be hoping to finish the season on a high.
James Ellison: "I felt really comfortable on the bike in the first race and got a good start, then I got pushed wide and lost a couple of places, then got elevated up again when a couple of riders crashed out and I was within chance of a race win so I was pushing to catch Cal (Crutchlow). Then coming into the chicane, I went down a gear too early and it just spat me off and that was that. In race two the temperature plummeted just before the start which meant that the front tyre that we'd chosen just didn't get any heat in it all race long and I nearly crashed so many times so it was just a case of keeping the bike upright."
Guy Martin: "What can I say? We had a problem in race one and we changed some things for the second race but then had the problem again, although the bike did feel better in the second race. It's just one of those things I suppose."
Kieran Clarke: "Unfortunately I got caught up in an incident on the first lap but I came through from 37th on lap two to end up in 23rd. But at the end of the day I didn't score any points which is just a shame as we had a good solid pace throughout. We'll take all the positives to Brands Hatch as we've come on leaps and bounds. Everyone's worked fantastic and it's been a tough weekend."
Shaun Muir (Team Owner): "James was unlucky and paid a big price for a little mistake in race one and then in race two he struggled with the tyre which meant sixth was the best he could hope for. I feel really sorry for Kieran as he was involved in an accident not of his making but he has another round to shine in. As for Guy, I think it's best we forget about this weekend and look forward to all three riders rounding the season off in style for us at Brands Hatch."
Superbike Race One Result1, Leon Camier (Ducati) 29m02.806s, 2, Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +1.090s, 3, Shane Byrne (Ducati) +8.904s, 4, Michael Rutter (Ducati) +18.889s, 5, Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +27.739s, 6, Tristan Palmer (Honda) +32.068s, 7, Jason O'Halloran (Honda) +32.204s, 8, Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) +34.524s, 9, Atsushi Watanabe (Suzuki) +37.884s, 10, Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +39.620s.
Superbike Race Two Result1, Leon Haslam (Honda) 28m59.106s, 2, Shane Byrne (Ducati) +3.786s, 3, Tom Sykes (Suzuki) +5.455s, 4, Leon Camier (Ducati) +5.809s, 5, Karl Harris (Yamaha) +7.171s, 6, James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +16.061s, 7, Michael Rutter (Ducati) +17.097s, 8, Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +24.901s, 9, Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +30.736s, 10, Jason O'Halloran (Honda) +32.110s.
Superstock 1000 Result1, Jon Kirkham (Yamaha) 23m08.452s, 2, Steve Brogan (Honda) +6.979s, 3, Ben Wilson (Yamaha) +8.610s, 4, Peter Hickman (Yamaha) +10.265s, 5, Richard Cooper (Yamaha) +10.959s, 6, Victor Cox (Yamaha) +12.021s, 7, Sam Warren (Yamaha) +18.255s, 8, Lee Jackson (Yamaha) +18.933s, 9, Conor Cummins (Yamaha) +19.766s, 10, Howie Mainwaring (Suzuki) +20.601s. 23, Kieran Clarke (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +50.579s.
2008 Bennetts British Superbike Championship Standings after Round 111. Shane Byrne (Ducati) 424pts2. Leon Haslam (Honda) 324pts3. Tom Sykes (Suzuki) 306pts4. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 285pts5. Leon Camier (Ducati) 279pts6. Michael Rutter (Ducati) 237pts7. James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 203pts9. Simon Andrews (Yamaha) 159pts8. Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 141pts10. Karl Harris (Yamaha) 102pts18. Guy Martin (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 27pts
Round 2 - 18th/20th April - Thruxton, HantsRound 3 - 3rd/5th May - Oulton Park, CheshireRound 1 - 10th/11th May - Brands Hatch GP, KentRound 4 - 24th/26th May - Donington Park, LeicsRound 5 - 13th/15th June - Snetterton, NorfolkRound 6 - 27th/29th June - Mallory ParkRound 7 - 18th/20th July - Oulton Park, CheshireRound 8 - 8th/10th August - Knockhill, FifeRound 9 - 23rd/25th August - Cadwell Park, LincsRound 10 - 12th/14th September - Croft, North YorkshireRound 11 - 26th/28th September, Silverstone, NorthantsRound 12 - 10th/12th October - Brands Hatch Indy, Kent