PODIUM FOR JAMES, POINTS FOR GUY
The sun came down, quite literally, on the 2008 Bennetts British Superbike Championship season with a superb podium placing for James Ellison at a sun-drenched Brands Hatch in Kent today.
Aboard the Hydrex Bike Animal Honda, the 28 year old Cumbrian claimed his fourth podium of the season with a superb battling third place in the opening leg after a race long battle for the lead with 2008 Champion Shane Byrne and Cal Crutchlow. Then in race two, Ellison again battled in the leading bunch throughout the race before having to settle for fifth place at the chequered flag to consolidate seventh place in the championship standings on his return to the series.
For team mate Guy Martin, the meeting heralded a return to the battling form that the 26 year old is capable of with a pair of good races aboard the second of the Shaun Muir Racing Honda Fireblades whereby he followed up a 16th place in the opening thirty lapper with a points scoring 15th in race two to round off an eventful season.
The team's Metzeler Superstock 1000 representative, Kieran Clarke, was also in the points when he scored a 14th place finish in his race to add to his points tally that saw him ending up 21st in the championship after joining the team mid season.
James Ellison: "Race one was really good and we certainly pushed them all the way so I'm really happy with that and it just shows what this team and bike is capable of doing. It's been a really good package and they've really helped me so I'm pleased to come away with a podium for them. Race two wasn't so good and I lost my rhythm and got held up a bit behind Tom Sykes but I managed to reel them in towards the end."
Guy Martin: "In the 1400s they used to catch monkeys using coconuts, but I'm happy with getting a point from the weekend after the problems we've had this year. I'd really like to thank Andy Graves, everyone at Red Torpedo, Arai, Dainese and everyone in the team, especially Javier, James, Kate, Warren and Shelby. A special big thanks to Shaun, the backbone of the whole Hydrex Bike Animal camp."
Kieran Clarke: "I got a really good start and was lying in tenth when it was red flagged on the first lap and then in the re-start I was a little bit too keen and I ended up down in twentieth at the end of the first lap. I picked them off to end up in fourteenth but my lap times were good and showed I would have been running around sixth with my times. I'm pleased with my performance and now we have a lot of work to do over winter and we'll be back to some success next year. I'd like to thank all the fantastic team for taking me back on board, and a special thanks to Shaun Muir and Steve Roby."
Shaun Muir (Team Owner): "It's been a great finish to the year with a podium and the guys have been rewarded by a lot of effort and the first race was great for the team, the sponsors and the spectators. James got stuck behind Tom Sykes in the second race but we've no complaints, third and fifth is great to round the year off and I'd like to thank all of my three riders and all the team for all their hard work this year."
ELLISON TO LEAVE HYDREX BIKE ANIMAL HONDA TEAM
Following on his superb debut season, the final race at Brands Hatch marked the last race for James Ellison as he will now depart the team and move onto pastures new for 2009.
Shaun Muir: "We'd like to thank James for his efforts this year, it's been a pleasure working with him. He's brought a great deal of professionalism into the team. We struggled with the new bike set-up and suspension but James buckled down and got on with the job. He's come from a MotoGP and AMA background and he's brought that professionalism with him and it's been a real pleasure. Both myself, the team and sponsors wish him all the best in the future. He will remain a great part of our development and we'll look forward to battling against him next year!"
James Ellison: "It's been a fantastic year and it's been a lot more than I expected from the team, they've been like a family and it's a bit emotional leaving this weekend. They have taken me from the brink of extinction and put me back on the map again and I really wanted to get a couple of wins for them. I'd like to thank Shaun and the whole team for a mega job in looking after me and wish them well in the future."