He might have yet to firm up his plans for 2010, but 2009 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship runner-up James Ellison has been preparing in the best possible fashion during the off-season – by giving it the Ben Spies treatment.
Ellison wound up second to Airwaves Yamaha team-mate Leon Camier in the final standings last year, but in truth the 29-year-old was rarely able to hold a candle to the runaway champion, and notched up a comparatively paltry four victories along the way to the new Aprilia World Superbike Championship signing's staggering tally of 19.
Should GSE Racing withdraw from BSB competition as the team has stated is likely to happen following the loss of its title sponsor, Ellison will be forced to seek alternative employment, but in a WSBK twist of his own, the Lancaster-born ace has occupied his winter-time by training with fellow Yamaha star and 2009 WSBK Champion Ben Spies across the Pond in Texas. He admits that the intense and fiercely-competitive nature of his training partner is spurring him on no end – even if the temperatures are not massively higher than back in his homeland...
“I've been training in the cold every day and it doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon,” Ellison told the official BSB website. “So much for getting better training weather in Texas! The one good thing is that it doesn't really rain over here, so at least I'm outside most of the time and not stuck in the gym staring at a wall for hours on end.
“Earlier this week I had a really good five-hour group cycle with Ben Spies, our mate Randy and a few locals where we covered just under 90 miles in two degrees! It was fun, but painful with the wind-chill. I do most of my training on my own, so it's great to get out with a few people, especially ones that can push you the whole time.
“Ben actually finished third in only his second-ever 'Cat 1' race last weekend, so it's definitely strong company to be cycling with. I have also braved the cold for my 'two-a-day' session of a 50-minute run then two hours on the bike straight after. Everything on the fitness side of things is going well; I just need to confirm a ride, but I'm positive things will work out.”
Ellison tested for Yamaha's World Supersport (WSS) outfit at Portimão back in October, evoking the possibility that the former MotoGP rider is evaluating a future away from BSB.