Josh Elliott will shine in BSB if he receives the call
Recently crowned 1000cc British Superstock champion Josh Elliott will be honoured by his local borough at a civic reception in Enniskillen this evening.
The 21-year-old Ballinamallard lad was prolific in the demolition of his rivals this season and is now hoping that five wins from 11 podium finishes is also enough to secure a premier class British Superbike ride next year.
"I've had a great year in the Superstock class and had some terrific battles with Alastair [Seeley] and Hudson [Kennaugh] but the goal is to move up to the Superbike class now, where I believe I can replicate what the likes of Buchan and Mossey have done this year as rookies," said young Elliott.
He's been dubbed the silent assassin and quiet man of the sport in recent months, but with Elliott - our only British champion in 2015 - no one can ever mistake his meekness for weakness, and I for one believe, he deserves a Superbike opportunity more than most.
With Carrickfergus's Glenn Irwin having secured a factory-supported British Superbike ride for 2016, in Paul Bird's BeWiser Ducati team where he will swell the number of Irish-born contenders alongside Dublin's Jack Kennedy and Toomebridge's Michael Laverty to three, Elliott would be a worthy addition to the Emerald Isle crew, should an opportunity present itself.
The rumour mill is currently in full swing, as is always the case in the off-season, and despite playing his cards very close to his chest, I'm reliably informed that Elliott is currently in negotiations with a leading Kawasaki team in BSB.
Unfortunately the only way to prize a door open at this level in the modern era as a rookie - even if you do have a British title under your belt - is to bring some much needed budget.
This season the Fermanagh racer was fortunate to secure limited support from a UK-based company, but was surprisingly overlooked for local sports funding, despite overshadowing many of his peers that did benefit financially.
As you would expect from the affable Lakelands lad, he simply shrugs it off, hoping his talent on two wheels will help him break all barriers in the coming months.
"The team that I'm speaking to want to have everything finalised for the bike show in Birmingham at the end of this month, but there's another rider also trying to stake his claim on the ride, so it's a nerve wrecking wait," said Elliott, who has a hectic schedule in the month ahead with award ceremonies and black tie events in his diary.
"Everyone knows I'm not an 'in your face' sort of racer. I prefer to do my talking on track, so to get recognised by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council for my achievements is quite flattering," he explained in his ever-present modest demeanour.
"It's going to be a busy month with a trip planned to the Mary Peters Trust event in Belfast; I've also been asked to hand out prizes at the Irish Mini Moto Championship dinner and Jeremy McWilliams has sorted me an invite for the SPARKS black-tie event in the Culloden at the start of December."
The 21-year-old should be just as much in demand in January, as he has undoubtedly staked his claim on a plethora of award nominations at the Cornmarket Motorcycle Awards in Belfast.
However, while recognition and pats on the back are all well and good, it is a phone call with a BSB ride attached that is, understandably, his heart's desire as the festive season closes in.
Let's hope he secures the necessary funding to join Messrs Laverty and co in BSB next season.
If he gets it, I fully expect him to shine.