Josh Elliott is striving to launch title challenge
Ballinamallard racer Josh Elliott is ready to pick up the baton and take the challenge to Tyco BMW's new recruit Alastair Seeley in next season's Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc Championship after securing a deal to ride for the forward-thinking Morello Racing team in 2015.
The 20-year-old Fermanagh lad will enter the 2015 series having gleaned three seasons' experience in the bar-bashing 1000cc class in the British championship.
And despite not having quite fulfilled his potential since making headlines in both the European Superstock 600cc and German IDM Supersport classes as a schoolboy, he believes 2015 could be his year.
"Next year's championship will be very competitive, as we have come to expect," said the fully qualified National Pool Lifeguard, who will line up on Kawasaki machinery in the Morello squad.
"Alastair Seeley is a former champion and comes back into the series with the newly-formed Tyco BMW team, but I'm looking forward to competing against him, although I'm not interested in just making up the numbers next season," added the former Portora Royal School student.
Elliott is the only Irish rider ever to be selected for the Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup series. That was back in 2008 as an inexperienced 14-year-old, but such was his tangible prowess on two wheels, he was taken under the wing of former Grand Prix winner and recent Vauxhall North West 200 top step performer Jeremy McWilliams.
McWilliams guided the youngster to two podiums as a 15-year-old in the hugely competitive German IDM Supersport series, and while a Moto2 or World Supersport berth was high on his early career path wish list, that has now changed somewhat.
The former ball sports competitor is now a solidly built, yet lean 75kg, and stands almost 6ft tall. He's the perfect specimen for a 1000cc Superstock rider. There were rumours that a Superbike berth may materialise with another leading BMW team, but as he explained, he is happy with his early Christmas present.
"I have to say I'm delighted to have signed for Morello Racing this side of Christmas. Team owner Steve Buckenham has put together a fantastic package, and his passion and vision sold it at a time when I was being sought after," said Elliott, who will test early in the New Year.
Morello Racing Director Buckenham, who will also run two riders in next year's British Superbike Championship, said: "We are very excited to have secured Josh's signature as we see him as a very mature young rider with tremendous potential, having put in some outstanding performances last season. Morello will strive to provide him with the tools he needs to do the job next season."
Elliott finished sixth overall in the series last year, but did demonstrate large doses of ability with a podium at Brands Hatch and a fourth place at Silverstone, suggesting he could challenge Seeley and co for the title.
The key ingredient he needs to add to his armoury is consistency, but he must also show a little bit more guile if he's to oust the hard charging and title-hungry Seeley next term.