Rising star of UK Speedway; Elliot Kelly.


In the Northern Junior League, again riding for his local team, the Redcar Cubs - this season enjoying the sponsorship of Erimus Insurance Brokers - , Elliot continued the momentum of progress achieved in previous seasons, once more increasing his average significantly with very impressive consistency to finish the season with an average of 8.40 from eleven meetings raced. His figures include one paid maximum performance.
In a season where the team struggled to overcome the loss of their previous season's number one, Ben Basford, who called it a day during the close-season, morale nevertheless remained high in the Cubs camp.
Inspired by the energy, enthusiasm and vitality of skipper Gavin Parr, who took over the number one slot in fine style, the team gave their all throughout the campaign, undettered even by a long, cross country trek to Workington, only to see the fixture postponed.
Only incoming 500cc rider David Pye, who partnered Parr in the number two berth, had not increased his starting average before suffering a season-ending injury during the latter half of the campaign.
Elliot's race partner, Alex 'Goldie' Goldsbrough, also made personal progress and between them the two proved to be a potent pairing in the 125cc category heats, although they were unable to help prevent the side from finishing in the lower half of the table at the season's conclusion.

In the British Junior Championship Elliot continued where he left off the previous season. In the first three rounds of the 125cc support class the smoothness and maturity of his racing clearly displayed the advantages that regularly riding in the competitive racing environments of junior leagues and national championship series has benefit Elliot and other potential stars of the future.
In the first round, at his home track Redcar on 12 May, Elliot dropped his only point of the heat stages to defending Champion Sam McGurk on his way to an eleven point haul before having to settle for third place in the final.
The competition moved south for the second round, to Rye House on 2 June, and again Elliot impressed during the heat stages. A second place, followed by two wins and a third saw him through to the final as the meeting's joint third highest scorer on nine points. Elliot successfully followed up his third place in the first round by finishing his day's work as runner-up to Max Perry.
Three weeks later, north of the border in Glasgow, Elliot inflicted the only defeat of the meeting on defending Champion and series leader Sam McGurk on his way to achieving a perfect four ride maximum in the heat stages. Unfortunately the young Berwick Borderer - who went on to emulate the feat of his elder brother, Harry, by successfully defending his title at Newcastle in September - gained his revenge by managing to fend off Elliot's challenge and force him to settle for a second consecutive runners-up spot and podium finishes in all three rounds raced at that stage of the season.
Looking ahead at 2019 and his choice of move up to the 500cc ranks, Elliot bravely elected to forego his chances of glory in further rounds and gain some valuable early experience of racing in a fiercely competitive environment on the higher powered equipment in the fourth round of the championship at Belle Vue on 28 July, where he put a disappointing pointless first outing behind him to notch third places in each of his subsequent three rides.

Off-track Assessment: Overall progress is obvious on all fronts: on the track the consistency of performances and aggregate points tally speak volumes, whilst off-track Elliot's Grandad, Edward Sturman, continues to ensure that everything is run smoothly in an organised and professional manner.
Not only has Elliot established an easily identifiable livery by using a combination of eye-catching colours rarely used in speedway, to avoid confusing fans the intention is to continue with the colour scheme by just making alterations to racewear and bike cover designs in future seasons. This has already received a favourable outcome from one sponsor for next season, and is definitely the best way branding can be achieved.
The addition to Elliot's backroom of Jason Pipe (below,left), who has extensive team managing experience, in the National League with Buxton and in the junior leagues and led Peterborough Thundercats to the Midland Development League title and runners-up spot in the NJL last season, will undoubtedly help significantly in all areas, particularly in sourcing opportunities at unfamiliar tracks, further afield. With Elliot eligible from his fifteenth birthday in January to ride in both of the other two junior leagues, both of which use 500cc-mounted riders only, his knowledge and contacts should also increase his chances of gaining extra rides and experience in new, highly competitive environments.
A key ingredient to sustaining progress in sport is by attracting and retaining sponsors. Forging links and establishing mutually rewarding relationships with businesses and individuals willing to support ambition and talent. Elliot is always ready and willing to attend promotional and marketing events on behalf of his sponsors and promotes their services and brands be every means possible; displaying logos on equipment, racewear and pitwear, as well as mentioning them in interviews wherever possible.
As well as providing Elliot's four new Arai helmets, custom painted in Team EKR livery with each of the four gate position helmet colours integrated into them, sponsoring his official website, and creating some merchandise 'Team spensites' principal Phil Spence will also be assisting with graphic design and web media services.