KENDAL speedster James Ellison has title glory and a first British Superbikes Championship crown on his mind as the new season roars into life at Brands Hatch this weekend.
After a mechanically frustrating 2013, Ellison parted company with Milwaukee Yamaha and will line up in the colours of GBmoto Racing Kawasaki this time around.
And while any bid for success might prove more slow-burner than instant, the 33-year-old is aiming to be firmly in the reckoning when the Showdown rolls around.
“The plan is to have a good crack at the title this time around,” he said.
“Last year I felt like the bike let me down – I was often in a podium position when technical problems forced me out the race when it was nothing to do with my riding.
“I had quite a lot of wins and fastest laps but then had too many DNFs due to technical issues.
“I’ve made the move to get on a more reliable bike and I feel I’ve a better chance of winning the championship as a result.
“It might take a while to get there but with the Showdown rules it’s not as important to start winning races until midway through the season.”
While confident going forward, Ellison appreciates the time needed to acclimatise to his new surroundings and more importantly build a bike he is comfortable competing with.
However, Brands Hatch has been historically kind to the Lancaster-born racer, and a repeat showing to kick the campaign off in style would certainly go down well.
“The bike is still fairly new and new to the team this year so we’ve had to start from scratch getting it prepared as a race bike,” he added.
“Shane Byrne is a major title contender and our rival and he’s been on that bike for three years so knows pretty much how it should be set up for each race.
“That’s something we’re going to struggle with a little bit this year with it being new but testing has gone well so we’re quite confident.
“We need to start well but I’m not necessarily expecting wins straight out the blocks. The last few times I’ve been to Brands Hatch I’ve won and that’s a good background for the opening round.”