Was James Ellison's first season with GSE Racing a success? It's a tough question to answer…
Every now and then, a rider and bike gel almost immediately. Leon Camier's affinity with the Airwaves Yamaha R1 is a case point. It didn't matter that it was fresh out of the box because Camier was comfortable straight away – comfortable and quick…
James Ellison's relationship with the R1, on the other hand, was more tumultuous. Receiving the lion's share of the reliability woes on the bike's first weekend of competition, Camier's subsequent victory at the Brands Hatch opener would ultimately give him the psychological upper hand he'd cling on to until the end of the season.
In isolation, Ellison enjoyed a great first year with the Airwaves Yamaha team. Essentially only his second season at the sharp end of the BSB grid, Ellison was a consistent front runner. However, if your first target is your team-mate, then Ellison was well and truly beaten…
Scoring his first win at Donington Park, two more victories followed in somewhat fortuitous circumstances, firstly at Mallory Park when six riders ahead of him were wiped out on one corner, and then at Cadwell Park when Camier was excluded.
Nonetheless, Ellison redeemed himself with a fighting fourth triumph over Camier at Silverstone, a result that also smoothed his way towards finishing the season as runner-up.
The scale of his defeat by Camier aside, Ellison still had the honour of finishing every single race inside the points in 2009, while he only ever finished outside the top five on three occasions.
So was James Ellison's first season with GSE Racing a success? That depends on whether you're willing to measure his performances against the rest of the field, or just his team-mate…
1st (Donington Park, Mallory Park, Cadwell Park, Silverstone)
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009
– Simon Andrews
– Gary Mason
– Tommy Bridewell
– Tommy Hill
– Sylvain Guintoli
– Ian Lowry
– John Laverty