Belfast Telegraph

Josh Elliott: I can put up with the title pressure

By Paul Lindsay

Fermanagh flyer Josh Elliott is the current leader of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc Championship and following his second win of the season last time out at Snetterton - where he outgunned local rival Alastair Seeley - he's very much looking forward to round six at Knockhill in Scotland this Sunday.

The 21-year-old Ballinamallard racer is modest by nature, but his cunning victory over Seeley at Snetterton, which was his fifth consecutive podium of the year, produced a demonstrative display of jubilation as he took the chequered flag.

"Alastair led pretty much every lap on the Tyco BMW; he was inch perfect, apart from the lap that mattered - the last one," said Elliott.

"Seeley's BMW was so much faster down the straights, and if I didn't sit in his slipstream he just pulled away from me in fourth, fifth and sixth gears.

"But for him to mess up his lines on the last lap was a bit of a shock," added the Morello Racing Kawasaki rider, who was giving away around 15bhp to Seeley on the Tyco BMW.

Knockhill brings the National Superstock 1000cc competitors to the halfway point in their season, and with the super-fast BMWs of South African Hudson Kennaugh and Seeley to deal with - not to mention their collective hat-trick of British championship titles - Elliott knows he must not be complacent in Fife.

"I don't feel under any pressure, as the two BMW riders with their on-track experience and faster machinery make them the championship favourites, despite the small advantage that I hold," said the shrewd Elliott.

Coming into the Scottish round this weekend, Elliott holds a 12-point advantage over Kennaugh, who must be commended for a gritty performance last time out.

He rode through the pain barrier after breaking vertebrae in his back just a week beforehand at the Isle of Man TT.

Seeley is a further 10 points adrift and is well aware that he cannot afford any additional slip-ups this season if he's to avoid seeing his fellow countryman extend the gap even further in the title race.

A slightly irate Seeley said after the Norfolk defeat just a fortnight ago: "That was a rookie mistake. Yes I lost the use of the quick shifter mid-race on my Tyco BMW, but to allow the block pass into the final corner - well let's just say it will not be happening again.

"Although fair play to Josh, he rode a smart race."

Young Elliott received rapturous applause following his defeat of Seeley last time out, with current British Superbike champion Shane Byrne stepping out into the pit lane to show his approval and support for a fellow Kawasaki rider.

The bespectacled quiet lad of the BSB paddock could easily be mistaken for one of the technical gurus in the high tech world of motorcycle racing.

But make no mistake, Elliott is a potential British Superbike star of the future - maybe even next season if someone like Philip Neill (Tyco BMW) or Paul Bird (PBM Kawasaki) take a punt on his raw talent.

"Coming from the best win of my career, I now have confidence in what I am doing on track, but I don't want to start shouting my mouth off about Superbike," he said of the speculation.

"I have a job to do here in the Superstock class right now and I don't want to be disrespectful at all to my team.

"The rest of the season will be incredibly tough and I'm taking nothing for granted."

Belfast Telegraph


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