Superbikes: Ellison brothers swap places

They're perhaps the most successful siblings in British motorcycle racing at the moment, but it looks like it could be the lesser-known Ellison who will be the bigger name for 2007 as the two Cumbrian brothers embark on new superbike rides.

They're perhaps the most successful siblings in British motorcycle racing at the moment, but it looks like it could be the lesser-known Ellison who will be the bigger name for 2007 as the two Cumbrian brothers embark on new superbike rides.

After two years in MotoGP, James - who was controversially dropped by the French Tech 3 Yamaha squad at the end of this season after a difficult year on the problem-dogged YZR-M1 - is hoping he can get his career back on track in the US, after signing for the Corona Extra Honda Racing Team to contest the AMA Superbike series.

Meanwhile, older brother Dean has come up trumps after securing a deal to ride a factory spec Ducati with Team Pedercini in the World Superbike Championship, and is set to enjoy his first test on his new toy sometime in the next few weeks.

It looks like a case of role-reversal for the talented siblings who hail from Kendal in Cumbria.

James, the youngest of the two at 26, has been the star of the family for the last two years, after making his GP debut for the WCM squad late in 2004, remaining with the team for 2005 and then moving to Tech 3 for 2006.

But the quiet rider has endured a tough season with the now infamous troublesome chassis, and has suffered a similar fate to Newcastle's Chris Burns among the sometimes harsh GP fanbase, who have turned against him and given him a hard time in the last few months.

Meanwhile, Dean, 29, has always been the less well-known of the two, and has spent recent years chipping away in the privateer class of the British Superbike Championship.

Even more shy and retiring than his little bro, he's a rider who tends to get overlooked, mainly due to his desire to steer clear of the Press whirlwind which could have and should have followed him around.

After finishing 27th in this year's BSB with the Slingshot SMT team, Dean's new ride has come as a shock to race fans across the world, but 2007 could be the year where he could finally make a name for himself as a top class racer.

And for once, it will be Dean who could potentially be the highest profile Ellison.

Although AMA is pretty well respected by superbike die-hards, and is renowned for its high wages, it is by no means anywhere near the same scale as World Superbikes, which has become much more high profile over the last two years after suffering a dip around 2003.

Dean admits he is quite sad to be leaving the comforts of the BSB paddock, but is looking forward to the challenge of travelling the world with the SBK circus.

"I am leaving behind a lot of support in the BSB, I had built up a good team and my sponsors wanted to continue with the BSB project, but to be back on a Ducati with such an experienced team is like a dream come true," he said last week.

Last week James got his first taste of his new Fireblade at a test session in Fontana, where he enjoyed getting back to grips with a superbike.


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It's a wrap for Wilson

Matthew Wilson will today wrap-up his first full season in the World Rally Championship (WRC) here in the UK as the prestigious series roars to a close.

The Welsh Rally is due to end the WRC season later today, and as the UK's only full-time entry this year, Wilson has been carrying the hopes of a nation around the forest stages.

Matthew, driving the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Focus, caused a stir when he joined the WRC this year by becoming the youngest driver ever to set a fastest time in his first event in Argentina.

And as this weekend's finale kicked-off on Friday, the Cumbrian driver admitted he was thrilled to be back on home soil after a year jet-setting around the globe.

"I've been really looking forward to this one," he smiled. "The Rally GB is the one event where I have the most experience so this is sure to help me."

Team principle and Matthew's father, Malcolm, knows the UK event is all-important to his son. "He has been looking forward to this event for some time and it's great for him to come home and compete on an event where he has been before."

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