Josh Elliott was crowned Pirelli National Superstock 1000 champion on Sunday after a mature ride to second place to clinch the British title at Silverstone.
The young Ballinamallard rider held an advantage of 17 points over closest rival Alastair Seeley heading into the penultimate round of the championship and Elliott took full advantage of the Tyco BMW rider’s last lap misfortune to lift the crown.
Seeley, who fought his way valiantly through from eighth place to take the lead, saw his chances go up in smoke when he was forced off the track by a late lunge from Hudson Kennaugh on the Trik-Moto BMW, losing over three seconds and eventually finishing back in sixth.
Elliott’s runner-up result saw him increase his lead over Carrick man Seeley – who won the Superstock 1000 title in 2009 – to 27 points, making it mathematically impossible for the ‘Wee Wizard’ to become champion with only one race remaining at Brands Hatch on October 18.
A jubilant Elliott told the News Letter: “It was completely unexpected and going onto the last lap Alastair was leading and I was in fourth and I could see that he was under pressure from Hudson [Kennaugh].
“I was hoping that they would get tied up together somehow and I tried my best and got up into third past Luke Quigley.
“I could see that Hudson was lining Alastair up and he made the move and they ran a bit wide. I knew I had to seize the opportunity while it was there because all race long I was losing out to the BMWs on the straight,” added the 21-year-old.
“I was trying to stay as calm as possible and compose myself. I didn’t want to make any silly mistakes but at the same time I was saying to myself to go for any opportunities if they are there, but if not, I was happy at that point to settle for what I’d got and go into Brands and fight for it there.
“But I couldn’t believe it when I saw Seeley going wide and even when I finished the race I thought Seeley had finished third, so I had no idea I was champion until I got back to parc ferme and the team told me, ‘You’re British champion’.
“I was speechless and I couldn’t believe it; I was in shock but it’s fantastic.”
The grounded Fermanagh lad hailed his title triumph as a ‘dream come true’ and Elliott is now aiming to sign off on a high with a win at Brands Hatch.
“It’s a dream come true for me and I can definitely go and enjoy Brands now and try and finish on a high with a win,” he said.
“I really wanted this and obviously it’s something that no-one can ever take off me.
“I’ll always have it and it will help in discussions over next season.
“I’m very proud and a lot of credit has to go to my team and the support they have given me to ensure I had the best package possible.
“We were up against a very, very competitive rider and team in Tyco BMW so to come away as the champion has given me a lot of personal satisfaction and it’s great for my team as well.”