Meanwhile, back in the real world, James Ellison talks through the mud, sweat and gears of MTB...
WORDS: RICK MCLAUGHLIN
PIC: JAMES WHINLATTER
“My two favourite places to be are on my mountain bike or on a plane,” James Ellison says. “They’re pretty much the only times that no-one can get a hold of me.”
James, now permanently living in his motorhome, proves racing is no longer the glamorous lifestyle people tend to envisage. James raced the 2012 season for Paul Bird Motorsport amidst the CRT category. The reality is that it has produced a race within a race and difficult-to-ride bikes, “It still needs a lot more work,” James admits raising his eyebrows, “I thought we’d be on power with the full factory jobs but how wrong was I?! From the second practice lap I knew we were in a different class.”
“I take my bike with me everywhere now, it goes on the back of the camper,” he says. “We can be driving for 17 hours into the middle of nowhere and park up in some random truck stop. I just get it straight out and head for the hills.”
“I usually ride on my own,” he admits, “When it’s the weekend or a bit of fun I’ll go with mates but when it’s training then it’s full-time. You need to push yourself.”
James’ riding style is based around his fitness – he’s constantly pedalling and pushing bigger and bigger gears. There’s none of the typical trail centre blast/recover, as soon as the trail points upwards he almost accelerates harder.
“Mountain biking is brilliant training for me as it’s a work out but it’s also fun and a hobby,” he says.
Those expecting his life to be all champagne and fast cars have skewed ideas. It was a lot of hard graft, struggling, dieting and endless motorhome miles. James races motorbikes because pure and simply he loves it. Mountain biking helps him deal with the harder parts by allowing him to not only train but to empty his head and switch off for a bit.