JG Speedfit Kawasaki team principal Mark Smith-Halvorsen is confident James Ellison will be right in the mix for the MCE British Superbike title fight despite the misfortune which has blighted his rider's season.
Ellison, who held on to third place in the BSB standings after missing last weekend's action Cadwell Park with a broken wrist, is targeting a comeback at the triple-header at Oulton Park which acts as the final round before the Showdown comes into play.
Despite being unable to score a single point in the past four races due to injury the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider looks assured of a top six spot thanks to a 42-point advantage on his closest rival outside the Showdown Honda Racing's Dan Linfoot.
Smith-Halvorsen says had it not been for two nasty crashes at Snetterton and Thruxton, both of which Ellison was blameless for, his rider would be on level-pegging with leading pair Josh Brookes and Shane Byrne.
“Ellison needs good luck and unfortunately based on the Podium credits the top two guys are going to need bad luck,” Smith-Halvorsen exclusively told Crash.net.
“Not only can that happen but the bad luck does seem to happen and I have no doubt the race for the title will go down to the last race. To be within a shot at Brands Hatch is our aim.
“I'm a competitive chap so from a sporting point of view I'm pretty devastated but it is only bad luck that has let us down.”
The 2009 BSB championship runner-up enjoyed a strong start to 2015 by taking three wins in the opening four races – GBmoto's first victories in BSB – and after three rounds led the riders' standings ahead of Byrne and Brookes.
However, a crash during qualifying at Snetterton when Ellison was the first rider to turn one in a sudden rain downpour resulted in him falling, getting hit by his own machine and suffering broken ribs. After a brief recovery in round six at Brands Hatch Ellison endured his second share of bad luck when crashing on oil dropped by Richard Cooper's bike which expired in front of him during race one at Thruxton.
Ellison was determined to return at Cadwell Park just three weeks after braking his left wrist, but sat out round eight on the advice of the medical team and his team boss.
“We deliberately stopped him racing at Cadwell Park because I think we would have been slightly uncompetitive and there was a chance he could injure himself again,” Smith-Halvorsen explained. “I'm not blasé enough to think we have enough of a buffer. We will need some results at Oulton.
"Our tactic is to get him fit, get some really positive results and move into the Showdown all guns blazing.”