James Ellison left the opening round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship with mixed emotions after a rollercoaster debut with the Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team.
The Cumbrian scored a podium in Sunday’s opening race on the machine he inherited from 2017 runner-up Josh Brookes, which he says vindicates both rider and team after some suggestions the bike had only finished second in the title chase the year before thanks to Brookes.
However, things wouldn’t go so well in the second outing as Ellison was pushed wide onto damp track in the opening laps. Fighting back through, he’d then go on to crash out of a top six position.
“The team were second last year in the championship, I was on the podium at Brands, and we’ve collaborated to both start where we left off again finishing at the front,” Ellison said.
“I think a lot of people thought it was a bit of a fluke last year with Josh being at the front on their bike, but the reason was that they’re a good strong team. I’m a strong rider in BSB, and together we can have a good season.
“They haven’t got a massive budget and we don’t get any support from Yamaha, but the team put a lot into it themselves and they’re doing a fantastic job. Sometimes, in a smaller team it’s easier to make decisions – I didn’t like the handlebars so they got me different ones, I didn’t like the tank so they put a new one in.
“Even though the bike finished second in the championship last year, it couldn’t be further from Josh’s because the team have allowed me to adapt it to my style. It’s something that you don’t always get when a manufacturer or sponsor have more control over a team but it’s working for us. All they want to do is win and so do I, and that mentality goes a long way.”