The twelfth and final round of the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship saw #FuelledByXpressCoffee riders James Ellison and Josh Elliott end their respective seasons on high with podium finishes on Sunday at Brands Hatch. McAMS Yamaha man Ellison bagged a double podium in the two Superbike races on the final day, backed up by Tyco BMW’s Elliott who stormed from 9th on the grid to 3rd place in the final Pirelli National STK1000 race of the season.
With Tyco BMW’s Andy Reid still recuperating from his broken femur, it was down to the McAMS pairing of Michael Laverty and James Ellison to fly the Xpress Coffee flag in the triple-header of superbike races that were to bring the curtain down on the season. For Laverty it was a resurgent showing as Pete Jennings took on the role of Electronics Engineer, transforming the performance of the Yamaha R1 and propelling the Northern Irishman back to the sharp end of the field. A brake issue while lying fourth in race one was unfortunate however a 7th in race two and a fourth in race three, finishing a second shy of team mate Ellison meant a positive finish to a difficult 2017 for the former British Supersport Champion.
For James Ellison it was a continuation of the form he showed at Assen taking two third place finishes from the three races at Brands Hatch, making it 3 podiums in five races while still recovering from the broken wrist sustained at Silverstone in early September. 9 DNFs across the season hurt Ellison’s championship challenge however his form through the Showdown rounds, despite injury, will carry him through the Winter, eager to mount a another title assault in 2018.
The #FuelledByXpressCoffee STK1000 Holy Trinity of Josh Elliott, Jordan Weaving and Tom Tunstall showed the full spectrum of racing emotions in the final race of the season on Sunday afternoon. The joy of securing another podium from a difficult grid position and taking 9th in the Championship left Josh Elliott on a high as the curtain came down on his shortened season due to sitting out the first four rounds.
Briggs Equipment Kawasaki man Jordan Weaving just missed out on another top ten finish as his difficult first season in STK1000 came to a close. A highest finish of 5th place was unfortunately never equalled as the season unfolded; 9 DNFs and injury at Thruxton interrupted the twice British Champion’s traditional consistency. Training and reflection across the winter will see the young South African return stronger and more experienced in ’19, ready to mount a podium challenge in the most competitive of championships.
Yorkshire’s own Tom Tunstall had a race to forget in the Garden of England after first getting caught up in someone else’s crash on the opening lap. A high-siding rider forced him to take avoiding action on the grass only rejoin the fray in 32nd place only to then crash uninjured at Surtees in the very late stages of the race after battling back to 18th position.
Next season will see team changes for a couple of our riders as Michael Laverty has confirmed a return to Tyco BMW for 2018. A heavily-rumoured change to another Yamaha team for James Ellison is yet to be confirmed, however the Cumbrian intimated in post-race interviews that the weekend would be his last with the team and with both McAMS seats rumoured to be taken by other riders for 2018 it looks a certainty that the former MotoGP rider will be in new colours for 2018.
That’s it for 2017, we’re done! Time now to work on plans for 2018…