Ballinamallard youngster Josh Elliott makes his mark
He's yet to become a household name, but cheery Ballinamallard youngster Josh Elliott is anything but a shrinking violet - as he proved during yesterday's highly charged 1000cc British Superstock race at Donington Park, taking a fine second place ahead of series favourite Alastair Seeley in third.
The 21-year-old Fermanagh lad led for long periods during the 16-lap encounter aboard his Morello Kawasaki and, despite losing out on the win to South African Hudson Kennaugh, he was delighted with second place in the opening race of the year.
Elliott said: "I knew after qualifying that we had a good enough package to run at the front and I led for quite a few of the opening laps. When Hudson and Seeley came past I knew it was going to be a dogfight at the front and sat back waiting on an opportunity."
Returning to the series he won in 2009, Seeley led onto the final lap aboard his Tyco BMW, run by Moneymore-based TAS Racing, but having started to run low on fuel, the Ulsterman's machine began surging into the turns and suffering from fuel starvation on the exits, which allowed Kennaugh through.
And despite a valiant effort, the Carrick rider couldn't hold off young Elliott, who nipped in for second place.
"I knew Alastair was going to be fast this year and I was looking forward to racing with him," said Elliott.
"I could see he was struggling with grip in the later stages of the race, and sat back hoping that he and Hudson would mess each other up, but I'm happy with second place."
It was a bittersweet opening day of the season for Seeley, with the North West 200 kingpin looking to take the win for his fiancée Danielle, who was celebrating her 26th birthday.
"I led onto the last lap but Hudson passed me into McLean's, which was a bit of a surprise move," said Seeley. "My bike started missing a little after that and surging, which probably cost me the win, but it's a good third place and well done to Josh who rode well and will no doubt be up there this season."
Castledawson's Nico Mawhinney made an impressive British championship debut taking 12th in the same race as Elliott and Seeley, with Lisburn's David Haire 22nd on the Sliders' UK Ducati.
Carrick's Glenn Irwin could not quite replicate his British Supersport podium from Sunday's 600cc sprint race, as he struggled to work with eventual winner Jake Dixon on the Smiths' Triumph and fellow podium finishers Luke Stapleford and Kyle Ryde.
Jordanstown racer Andy Reid took fifth for Team Traction Control Yamaha in just his second race in the class, and maintains the same position in the opening weekend championship points table on 22, behind Saturday's race winner Stapleford , Dixon , Irwin  and Kyle Ryde .
Portadown's Marshall Neill finished second in the Supersport Evo class, giving him his second podium of the weekend for the In Competition Yamaha squad.
Andrew Irwin will be disappointed with 15th in the Pirelli National Superstock 600cc class, which was won by Essex lad Mason Law. Irwin's MWR Kawasaki team-mate and fellow local racer Carl Phillips crashed on the opening lap breaking his collarbone.
There was no dream start for Michael Laverty in the British Superbike class on his return with TAS Racing. The Welsh based Toomebridge lad came through from a lowly qualifying position to finish ninth in race one aboard his Tyco BMW. In race two Laverty improved yet again with seventh place, ahead of new team-mate Tommy Bridewell.