NOT quite at full throttle yet but with the start of the British Superbikes Championship three months away Kendal speedster James Ellison is easing through the gears.
Having left Milwaukee Yamaha at the conclusion of the previous campaign, the 33-year-old will line up at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in April sporting the colours of GBmoto Racing Kawasaki.
A mechanically frustrating season contributed to Ellison finishing fourth in the championship standings behind Alex Lowes, Shane Byrne and Josh Brookes, with hopes a change of scenery will spark fresh impetus.
He is currently stepping up preparations across the Atlantic in America’s Lone Star State, reacquainting himself with life in the fast lane at the Texas Tornado Boot Camp.
“I’ve been off for a few months now, driving cars at 40mph and 70mph maximum so a very intensive week of training gets you back into it,” said Ellison.
“It’s all about trying to get your brain back up to speed and that hand-eye coordination back as well as using those muscle groups which you do on the bike.
“I am riding dirt bikes all day against other people – there is handle bar bashing and that level of competition gets you fired up for the start of the season.
“There are lots of instructors and I can ride from nine in the morning until half eleven at night so it definitely gets you in the right frame of mind for racing again.
“But it’s not all hard work, I get to shoot some guns and have a bit of fun as well.”
Preparations for the twelve-round season are not restricted to simply time on the bike, with Ellison recently undergoing a gruelling five-hour fitness assessment.
Such tests aim to isolate any weaknesses which may need to be worked on during the off-season, although the former European Superstock champion returned a near clean bill of health.
“I had an operation on my shoulder after tearing a rotator cuff at Knockhill last season and I also needed a knee operation to remove meniscus after a crash two years ago,” he added.
“I decided to have them both done at the same time about seven weeks ago and with recovering I wasn’t able to train properly for a fortnight.
“Only light exercise was possible and nothing near what I’m used to. I’ve only been training properly for the last four or five weeks.
“But there weren’t too many things which came up, there is some instability in my left shoulder but it’s still quite soon after the operation.
“Thankfully that was the only thing and I have plenty of time to get back up to speed.”
Presently working his way back to full fitness, Ellison refuses to leave anything to chance in terms of physical conditioning as he pursues a first British Superbikes Championship success.
“My fitness levels were generally very good in the assessment and that stems from training seven days a week,” he said.
“I concentrate on cardiovascular work in the morning for anything up to three hours followed by two hours circuit training in the afternoon, which involves some really intense core workouts.
“It’s imperative to find some exercises which engage muscle groups that would be used while on the bike.”