James Ellison will join Peter Hickman in the Smiths BMW team for the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike championship.
Ellison had initially pencilled in 2018 as his last season in BSB, but after a disappointing year with the TAG Racing squad, he wants one more crack at the coveted BSB crown.
While he shattered records and won races at all the international road races he contested, 2018 was a mixed season for Hickman in BSB. However, a resurgence in the mid-season, including a pair of heroic rostrums at Thruxton just hours after he was released from hospital with a kidney infection, culminated in a Showdown spot for the Lincolnshireman.
Contesting aboard the all-new BMW S 1000 RR next year, both Hickman and Ellison are gunning for the BSB showdown.
“I had an incredibly difficult 2018 season for various reasons, we had great pace but were lacking one key component that stopped me from getting the results which both myself and the TAG team were capable of,” said Ellison. “They are such a friendly, family-run team that made me feel so welcome, so I want to say a huge thank you to them and I wish them the best of luck in the future. I figured it would be impossible to call 2018 my ‘last’ season in BSB after having so many successful seasons fighting for the championship and it is just not in my nature to walk away knowing I can still fight for the BSB title given the right tools. The Smiths Racing BMW team have had another strong season with Hicky proving they are true title contenders and I’m delighted to be teaming up with Hicky again. We are really good friends off track but of course tough rivals on it and I believe we will push each other all year and work closely together to speed up the development of the all-new BMW S1000RR. The support from the fans has been incredible, even when I was struggling, which means so much to me and I can’t wait to start testing in March.”
Hickman added: “It’s fantastic to get our plans sorted early so we can concentrate all our efforts on the 2019 season. Peter has again done a brilliant job for us both at BSB and on the roads this year, so we are delighted to work with him again next year for a third successive season. James is a top quality BSB rider with huge amounts of experience which will be a massive help in developing the new bike and ensuring both sides of the garage are competitive. There is a refreshing buzz about the impending season within the team and we are really looking forward to testing in readiness for the opening round at Silverstone next Easter.”