Ellison leaves Oulton Park with Championship lead

JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider, James Ellison, heads into the summer break leading the MCE British Superbike Championship after another relatively successful weekend at Oulton Park.

Race one didn’t go quite to plan for Ellison, who started sixth on the grid, after being pushed out wide going through the first corner. Ellison found himself down in eighth place and by the time he had fought his way back up to sixth, the gap between himself and the leaders was too big.

The Cumbrian made a better start in race two and was able to keep in touch with the leading quartet. Ellison found himself in fourth position after Josh Brookes ran wide and was in an ideal position to capitalise on a collision between Shane Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari at Hislop’s Chicane.

With last season’s title contenders out of the race, Ellison gave it his all to try and take the lead away from the eventual winner, Stuart Easton, including a tough move around the outside a Lodge Corner, but in the end he had to settle for second place at the chequered flag.

Afterwards, Ellison said: “A bit like Donington, this was a weekend of two halves! I really struggled in the opening race and got caught up a bit at the start and although I was running the same pace as the top five, we just couldn’t close the gap. We made some geometry changes in-between races and it was like riding a different bike as I was able to make my line and hit all my apexes.

“The pace of the top five was exactly the same and you could probably see that we were really struggling to pass each other as we were so similar – you could see it when Kiyo tried to pass Shakey that we had to go to the edge to get through. Obviously those two crashing out is not what we want to see but I’m dead happy to be leading the Championship going into the break and I’m really pleased for the team and Mark in particular as GBmoto has never led a BSB Championship before!”

The events at Oulton Park mean that Ellison now has an eight-point lead over Byrne in the championship standings, with Brookes a further seven points behind in third position.

On the other side of the garage, James Westmoreland bounced back from a disappointing qualifying session to earn his first points-scoring finishes of the season.

Westmoreland gained nine places by the end of the first lap in race one, jumping from 21st on the grid to 12th. The 26-year-old eventually fell down one place to 13th, collecting three points in the process.

The former Buildbase Ducati rider found himself challenging for a top 10 finish in race two, eventually just missing out to Lee Jackson.

Westmoreland said: “It’s been a very difficult weekend again and I made the job particularly tough for myself in the qualifying. The first race was OK, and it was good to finally get some points but the second race was much better and although it’s only eleventh place, my feeling and pace was much better and it was the first time I felt like I’ve had a proper race all year.

“I’m satisfied with the progress we’ve made and the fact we’re in a better position and are now on the right track. I want to say a huge thanks to the team for being so supportive and I’m looking forward to getting back out at Snetterton and keeping the momentum going!”