4th – James Ellison
Average poll score out of ten: 7.1
Lloyds British GBmoto Racing
Any motorcycle rider will tell you that it only takes a single, split-second moment for a season to unravel and for James Ellison, his accident during the second British Superbike race at Brands Hatch robbed us of a tilt that could have seen him well amongst the 2014 title fight.
Having never entirely gelled with the Milwaukee Yamaha in 2013, Ellison was nonetheless promptly snapped up by GBmoto Racing to spearhead its renewed challenge on the BSB having itself switched from Honda to Kawasaki machinery.
Though GBmoto mid-field efforts during its previous two seasons of BSB competition didn't highlight Ellison as a natural title contender initially, two landmark podiums from the opening round quickly dismissed that assertion and showed the experienced former MotoGP racer as very adept on the evergreen ZX-10R.
The podiums kept coming – six in a row by the time the series reached Knockhill – and it seemed it was only a matter of time that Ellison would return to its top step. Unfortunately for him, a mere kiss of the wet grass at Brands Hatch – whilst leading – was enough to ruin Ellison's season, his high-speed crash and heavy impact leaving him with a fractured hip.
Despite a truly remarkable effort to get back to full fitness, Ellison was still forced to miss three events and it wasn't until the final two rounds – at Silverstone and again at Brands Hatch – that he appeared to be back to his best and back on the podium.
His absence naturally halted any hopes of reaching the Title Showdown, but given the way it unfolded – with Brookes' form dipping and Kiyonari forced to miss the final round -, it isn't beyond doubt that Ellison was on for the top three, top two or even a cheeky challenge for that elusive title.
Of course we will never know, but Ellison at least has a chance to make amends in 2015 as he prepares for another year with the JG Speedfit/GBmoto team.
BSB Rider of the Year poll
5. Tommy Bridewell
6. Dan Linfoot
7. Peter Hickman
8. Josh Waters
9. Josh Brookes
10. Howie Mainwaring
James Ellisonn in the BSB Rider of the Year poll
Top 10 BSB Rider of the Year 2013:
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:
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