Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2013:
Following a two-year stint on the international stage dabbling in both the World Supersport Championship and MotoGP, James Ellison made a popular return to the British Superbike Championship in 2013 to join Shaun Muir Racing's new look Milwaukee Yamaha team.
Entrusted as team leader following the unexpected demise of former champion Tommy Hill, Ellison's return to BSB would see him reunited with the YZF-R1 that took him all the way to the runners-up spot in 2009 and was perceived as the perfect opportunity to go one better in 2013.
In reality, a relative lack of consistency meant Ellison was never quite able to swell the title battle into a convincing four-way dice, though to suggest he was simply 'best of the rest' is a disservice to a campaign where – on his day – he could be unbeatable.
In a way, the first round at Brands Hatch set the tone for Ellison's season, his first race ruined by a broken visor (forcing him to be wheeled off the formation grid, only to be given a ride-thru penalty for not rejoining at the back of the starting grid), before completing an emotional win in the second race.
From here, mechanical woes and self-inflicted misdemeanours peppered a scorecard that nonetheless saw podiums at Thruxton, Oulton Park, Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park and Donington Park, plus a second win of the year during a second visit to Oulton Park.
It was plenty enough for him to reach the 'Title Showdown' and arguably made him an outside threat to the established top three. A battling performance at Assen gave credence to that assumption, even if his technical-induced DNF in race one somewhat negated his third win of the season in race two.
A lacklustre weekend at Silverstone effectively scuppered his title dreams, but there was still time for another podium at Brands Hatch, bringing him to three wins, nine rostrums and fourth in the final standings.
With an arguably more favourable (albeit privateer) Kawasaki beneath him in 2014, Ellison could be considered something of an enticing bet next year…
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2012:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2011:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2010:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2009:
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2008:
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013:
6. PJ Jacobsen