James Ellison maintained his lead in the British Superbike Cup championship, despite a fraught weekend that ended with an early race two collision and a subsequent 'forced withdraw'.

With upgrades made to the brakes and the installation of a slipper clutch on the Yamaha R1 the Jentin Racing team had been looking forward to their first visit to the Emerald Isle. However, they had not counted on the slow and bumpy nature of the Mondello Park circuit, which caused problems with tyres and chassis set-up.

The first qualifying session saw Ellison thirteenth quickest and the team made a conscious decision to concentrate on race set-up rather than just looking for one quick qualifying lap. As a result they did not improve on the first session time and started from seventeenth on the grid.

For the first race Ellison made one of his characteristic flying starts and was soon in the top 10. Unfortunately the hard work was to be undone during the last few laps as the circuit began to take its toll on the tyres and he was caught by several riders, eventually finishing thirteenth overall and fourth in the Superbike Cup.
The misfortune continued in the second race when Ellison was taken out in a multiple collision on the first corner along with two other riders. Dean brought the damaged bike into pits for repairs, but it was the journey back that would prove his undoing...

"After the first corner coming together in race two James bravely picked up the bike in order to continue with the race," explained team principal Jon Poole. "Once restarted he quickly realised the gear linkage had been badly bent during the accident and returned to the pit garage to get a new one fitted. After this was done and a quick assessment of the damage was made to ensure that it was safe to do so James returned to the circuit.

"Unbeknown to the team, James had returned to the pits via the shortest route possible but in doing so was deemed to have left the circuit and, after being advised of this, the team was forced to reluctantly signal him to pit and withdraw from the race," he added.

"Everything seems to have conspired against us this weekend," said Ellison. "Neither the team nor I had been to Mondello before, the circuit is slow and bumpy which made chassis set-up extremely difficult.

"Add to this, problems with the tyres and being taken out in the second race there was not much left that could go wrong. Hopefully we've taken our entire dose of bad luck in one bitter pill and the rest of the season will be trouble free."