There are no words to describe the feelings that were running through the minds of Dean Ellison's D&B Ducati Team this weekend. Grasping at the heels of his first footing on the British Superbike podium, Ellison's dreams were shattered.

Having sorted the mechanical problems the bike was suffering in the first three rounds, Ellison was like a boy with a new toy when he hit the Cheshire based track, proving to himself and those around him that he can run with the very best.

With the weather being dull and wet on the Saturday it gave all the riders the opportunity to set their bikes up for wet conditions, with all riders praying for dry qualifying and a dry race they were to be in luck.

Forcing his way into the Qualifying twelve, Ellison was raring to get out for the allocated 15 minutes to see how hard he could push his Ducati. Less than a second separated the front row but it was Ellison that gained his first ever British Superbike front row position. Finishing the qualifying in fourth place 0.1 sec behind Renegade Ducati's Michael Rutter, Ellison and the D&B Team were ecstatic at their achievements.

By Sunday morning the air down at the D&B garage was a mix of pure excitement and nerves. Ellison was enthusiastic to get on the bike and go. A few heavy showers in the mornings warm up sessions set everyone panicking as to which tyre set up would be best suited to the conditions. By 1:15pm the skies had cleared and the sun was shining bright.

As the lights changed from red to green everyone held their breath... and Ellison held his position going into Old Hall, the first corner. Dicing with 2001 British Champion, John Reynolds on his factory GSXR1000 Rizla Suzuki Ellison was looking confident and comfortable in himself and his whole riding style. Looking smoother than most around the 2.6 mile circuit he was looking the part at the front of the field. A tough battled ensued and Ellison finally got the better of the Suzuki rider.

Setting consistent lap times throughout the race and one of the fastest laps early on in the event things were going well. In the remaining five laps he was lapping half a second faster than second place man Rutter, making up ground on the factory Ducati rider and reeling him in. Hot on Ellison's heels and hunting him down was 2002 British Champion, Steve Hislop on his works prepared R1 Yamaha, Hislop was looking for every given opportunity to pass young Ellison.

Fighting like a trooper Ellison made himself as wide as a brick wall and there was no way that the flying Haggis, Hislop, was going to get the better of him for the third position. The team gathered together on the pit wall on the finishing lap to cheer their Superstar over the line. However... he wasn't to appear, lodge corner, the final corner on the circuit on the ultimate lap had lured him into the claws of it's gravel trap. Robbing Ellison of his dream of a podium finish.

Everyone that was involved with the team, and in most people's hearts and minds, that was his third place and he did himself proud. Being the focus of the TV cameras for the majority of the race, Ellison has just made people aware that he is around and that he's not to be messed with.

Race two and out on the spare bike, again he managed to hold his fourth place heading into turn one but slowly he was being harassed by the bigger more powerful factory bikes of Yuki Kagayama, Steve Hislop and Mark Heckles. Not one to give up Ellison was determined that he was still capable of a creditable result. 0.001 of a second split Ellison and Honda SP2 rider Heckles as they crossed the line, even a Rizla paper wouldn't have separated the two. He gained a credible seventh place adding more vital Championship points to his tally.

To add to Ellison's heroics he was voted 'Man of the Meeting' by Sky Sports Commentator and ex-British Superbike Champion, Niall Mackenzie. Astounding all those in the commentary box and at home as he mastered his four year old Ducati around the track in the respectable manner that he did.

Ellison was surprisingly happy when chatting with him saying: "I felt so at home here, I was completely devastated to have lost it like I did and feel so sorry for the team. I know now that I can do it and hopefully I'll be up in that position more often as I could quite easily get used to it. I wasn't going for second place as I was content with where I was but I did notice that I was gaining time on Michael. To be fighting with the likes of Hislop and the top boys was a great experience for me and I've gained so much from this meeting."

Picture coutresy of IMAJES.



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