Time for the 2018 Atacama Rally


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Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Matthias Walkner, Sam Sunderland and Toby Price have travelled to Chile to contest the 2018 Atacama Rally – round three of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

Following a strong start to the season at the opening round in Abu Dhabi, the trio will be keen to score valuable points as well as spend time on their KTM 450 RALLY machines in preparation for the 2019 Dakar Rally to be held in Peru in January.

The rally, this year held exclusively in the Atacama region around Copiapó, will see competitors contest five full stages of racing totalling over 1,300 kilometres. The condensed route, centred around the Chilean mining town, has resulted in short liaisons between each timed special. The riders won’t have it easy however – a lack of rain in the area has left the desert dry and without the usual vegetation, making navigation even tougher for all.

The Atacama marks the return to rally competition for Sunderland and Walkner since round one of the world championship held in Abu Dhabi back in March. Over the next two months, KTM will field a selection of riders at four events including the Atacama Rally, the Desafio Ruta 40, the Desafio Inka and the Rallye du Maroc.

All three Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team members contesting the 2018 Atacama are former Dakar Rally winners; Price in 2016, Sunderland 2017 and Walkner the current Dakar Rally reigning champion. Each rider is aiming to add to their current world championship points tally with just three rounds remaining. KTM Rally Sport Manager Jordi Viladoms knows the significance of the Atacama Rally in terms of both the World Championship and perhaps more importantly, preparation for the 2019 Dakar Rally.

Jordi Viladoms – KTM Rally Sport Manager:

“The aim going into these last few cross-country races of the season is to win the world championship and bring all the riders back up to speed for the Dakar. The Atacama has been tricky in the past for the team, we are also up against the current world champion at his home rally. We saw last year navigation was tough and the road book was difficult to follow in places, so minimising mistakes in Chile is paramount for all riders. We have carried out some successful testing on the bike this year, but we now have to focus on the sandy conditions that will be seen throughout the 2019 Dakar – some of the Atacama stages will be perfect for this so we need to gain all the knowledge we can here in Chile.”

The main event for the motorcycle class starts on Tuesday August 14, with the first of five full days’ racing covering a total of 1,700km. Over 1,300 of them are timed special stages.

Photo: Marcin Kin Photography

Top five finishes for the Mackenzie brothers

Tarran and Taylor MacKenzie battle to their best finishes this season.

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Quick update from tar Mackenzie camp:

I’m very happy to report boys had an excellent weekend at Thruxton posting their best results of the season so far.

Taylor had a trouble free practice bringing his Bathams BMW home in pole position before fighting hard in a five way battle throughout his 16 lap Superstock 1000cc Championship race where he eventually finished in 2nd position less than a second from the winner.


‘I’m still smiling from the weekend as I’m back to riding at my best and ready to take the next step back to winning races. My crew chief Alec at the Bathams BMW team has got my bike working perfectly in the chassis department so I was able to manage my tyre wear then push hard on the closing laps of the race. After a mistake on my part last time out I took no chances this time so I’m satisfied with my second place finish. I’m back enjoying racing with a fantastic team and so very grateful for everyone supporting me during the recent realignment of my career’  

Meanwhile Tarran was consistently in the top six throughout free practice but unfortunately broke down on his out lap of the qualifying session which meant he had to start race one from dead last on the grid.

A new engine was was fitted overnight and while it was a blow to the team, everyone agreed it was much better to have a problem in qualifying than either of the races.

From that moment on his McAMS Yamaha ran faultlessly, seeing him come from last to 9th in race one then finishing a strong 5th in race two just 2.2 seconds from the leader.


‘My good form continued at Thruxton where I once again learned loads at the fastest track on the calendar.

My bike seemed physically tough to ride on Friday but my crew figured out a good setting to make my bike more stable under hard acceleration and heavy braking. Race one was a challenge coming through the pack and by the time I broke into the top ten my rear tyre was spinning badly so I had to keep things safe. Starting from 7th on the grid from race 2 meant I was immediately in the leading bunch and in a good rhythm. Like Brands Hatch I was with Leon Haslam for most of the race so I was able to learn lots as he is one of the world’s best superbike riders. Being just half a second from the podium at the chequered flag gave me a great confidence boost for the next races.’



Taylor MacKenzie makes his mark with Bathams BMW Team

Excellent outing at Brands Hatch as Tarran and Taylor Mackenzie show their potential.

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I guess unless we win everything over an event it can only be described once again as ‘mixed fortunes’, however, as always we had lots of positives to take from Brands Hatch at the weekend.

Taylor immediately fitted in with the Bathams BMW Team and straight away felt comfortable on his new bike.

He led race one on Saturday but after running wide after making a pass on the last lap ran off the track before crashing in the gravel trap. He was also unlucky on Sunday as he also crashed out of a podium position when his front brake became soft causing him to fall at the very fast Hawthorn Bend.


I felt so good all weekend on the Batham’s BMW so was devastated when I ran wide in race one on the last lap with a podium position in the bag. Sunday’s race non – finish was also a great shame as after being fastest in the morning warm up I knew I had the pace to win.  The last thing I wanted on my first weekend with a new team was to crash so I’m really sorry to cause so much damage on my debut. I fully intend to repay the Bathams Team at Thruxton in two weeks time.

Tarran had excellent pace through all of Friday and Saturday eventually qualifying in fourth position just 0.1 seconds from pole position. He also had a disaster in race one crashing out at Hawthorns while in third place on the penultimate lap.  He redeemed himself in race two coming through from 11th position on lap one to fifth at the chequered flag posting his best result of the season so far. Tarran was also named ‘R&G Rookie of the Meeting’ by James Whitam. 


Last time out at Knockhill I learned so much about bike set up I was confident I could be strong at Brands Hatch. I wasn’t out of the top four all weekend so while I was upset crashing out of race one, finishing fifth in race two was still a solid ride. I was physically drained on Sunday night but felt strong in both the long hot races. Every track is a new challenge on the ridiculously fast Superbike so I’m ready to challenge again at Thruxton.

So it’s on to the ultra fast Thruxton circuit in Hampshire for round seven!

Taylor Mackenzie joins Bathams BMW Team in Superstock 1000

Taylor will return to the Superstock 1000 class from the next round at Brands Hatch with the Bathams BMW Team.

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Michael Rutter will be managing the team as he steps down from short circuit racing at this time.


After my amicable split from Moto Rapido I had no immediate plans but incredibly, within forty eight hours I had a deal to ride for the Bathams BMW Team.  Being back on a machine I had so much success on in 2016 is the best way for me to get back to enjoying racing. I already feel at home with Michael and the team so I’m looking forward to riding over the three race event at Brands Hatch.  I can’t thank everyone involved enough for their help, commitment and support throughout the past week. Roll on Brands!

Taylor will test the BMW S1000RR next week at Silverstone before heading down to Kent.


Mixed fortunes for the Mackenzies at Knockhill

A hard fought 14th place for Tarran whilst a Taylor and the Moto Rapido Ducati Team part ways.

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We made our annual trip north of the border at the weekend to the Knockhill circuit where as with all of the UK the weather was glorious over the three days.

Being one of the few riders that didn’t test there Tarran found himself on the back foot from the first practice, however, the MCAMS Yamaha team made continual progress over the weekend.  His early practice pace meant he had his worst grid position of the season (19th) making it difficult to come make his way up the order on the tight twisty track. A hard fought 14th position in race one was good but a much stronger ride to 11th in race two gave a very satisfying end to the weekend.

Taylor’s Knockhill wasn’t so positive as he decided to part from his Moto Rapido Ducati Team. He felt both himself and the team should be achieving much stronger results so it was better to have an amicable split than for both parties to continue to under perform.  Team boss Steve Moore was saddened by his decision but also understood his reasons for leaving.


I love Knockhill but our lack of testing meant my bike was hard to ride at this very physical circuit. Being the smallest lightest rider on the grid also didn’t help, however, working hard with the team meant we turned things around by the end of the weekend. 14th and 11th doesn’t sound like great results but I left happy knowing we had transformed the bike making me competitive for race two.  I was hampered by a poor grid position but enjoyed my race dicing with Peter Hickman all the way to the flag. Every circuit is new for me on the Superbike but along with my fantastic MCAMS team I’m loving the experience. PS Hope you like my tartan fairing! 


The last thing I want to do in life is quit any project but after giving my all until Knockhill I felt things were never going to gel with myself and the Moto Rapido Ducati, so it was best for everyone if we went our separate ways.  The team were incredibly understanding even saying farewell over a few beers on Saturday evening. My life is racing so my plan now is to find the right team and bike to get me back to being properly competitive and enjoying the sport I love. I have no immediate plans but hopefully we can find a good solution very soon.

Celebrities abound at Drumlanrig next weekend

The Drumlanrig Castle Grand National Scramble Classic and Twinshock event draws in World Champions.

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This weekend (Saturday and Sunday, July 14/15) Graham Noyce and Brad Lackey will be going at it again. No, not a preview from the late 1970s or early 1980s, the pair are in attendance at the second Drumlanrig Castle Grand National Scramble Classic and Twinshock event, organised by the Galloway Motorcycle Club in the grounds of the stately home.

Brad Lackey, the 1982 World 500cc Motocross Champion, is this year’s Guest of Honour after Noyce undertook the role in the event’s first year in 2017. Lackey will take part in ‘Q and A’ sessions beginning Friday evening (June 13) in the marquee but unfortunately won’t be riding.

However in a huge plus for the event organisers, Graham Noyce the 1979 World 500cc Motocross Champion and multi British champion, and a man who still holds god-like status to fans of the sport of a ‘certain age,’ will compete in the over 60s Class with other former British championship riders.

Noyce will take on a Scottish favourite Willie Simpson, father of Shuan Simpson now racing for the Wilvo Yamaha MXGP team. Willie Simpson was a stalwart of the British scene throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s. Former Scottish Championship Jimmy Aird and Gavin Robertson, former British Evo Champion will also be lending their talents on the fantastic circuit.

Another ‘well kent’ Scottish face patrolling the arena will be four-times British champion Vic Allan MBE. Allan will lead a tribute to CI Sport’s Stewart Miller who sadly passed away last week. Every rider will receive a sticker with Stewart’s riding number (28) and Willie Simpson will ride with number 28 as a mark of respect.

Scotland will be well represented with Paul Chiappa, the multi Scottish Twinshock champion, (first Brit to double the Hawkstone double jump) and well known for his ‘eccentric’ riding style and race wear!

Former British Four-stroke Champion David Campbell, Club Vice Chairman John Fleming and veterans of the Scottish scrambles scene Derek Faulds and Thom Anderson will also throw their respective bikes at the countryside.

Former North of England Champion Paul Bird will re-aquaint himself with a Twinshock bike on the track as his PBM Be Wiser Ducati British Superbike Team rider and NW200 Champion Glenn Irwin shows off his factory Ducati in the paddock. Other friendly faces from across the border raid into Scotland including CCM man Keith Barnes and the ever-chatty Dave Salkeld, amongst a host of others, head north.

Teams from Ireland cross the Irish Sea headed by 2016 CZ World Champion Trevor Calderwood and reigning British Twinshock Champion Willie Burgess as Italy sends a four-man team fronted by Franco Rippa.

The weekend’s action with over 200 registered riders kicks off on Friday at 5pm with Grasstrack racing before everyone retires to the marquee for the audience with Brad Lackey at 8pm led by John Moffat. Then follows the annual ‘dad dance’ competition as the disco begins in earnest at 9pm until the wee small hours of 11pm.

A Day Entry Pass is £10 per adult with under 16s going free whilst a Weekend Pass is £15. Camping is available at £10 a pitch.

As well as the marquee there will be bouncy castles and all the usual food and trade retailers in operation, plus the club’s own stand with event memorabilia including bobble hats, T-shirts and polo shirts etc.

Saturday and Sunday’s action blasts off at 10.30am with practice for a full day of racing and family fun.

Drumlanrig Castle (map) is well signposted off the A76 Dumfries Road just north of Thornhill, with one of the most dramatic entrances to a motocross event anywhere in the world!

Yamaha aiming for record 4th straight win 2nd Title at 41ST Suzuka 8hrs

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announced the team line-up for this year‘s 41st “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race.

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With the race set to take place from July 26th – 29th at the legendary Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan, the Yamaha Factory Racing Team will return to challenge for a record-breaking fourth consecutive Suzuka victory.

They will be contesting alongside the Endurance World Championship (EWC) regulars: the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team and the defending EWC Champions, the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team.

Making a sensational debut in 1998, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the YZF-R1 production superbike, and to highlight the occasion the race bikes for all three teams will sport a special red-white livery. The colour scheme is adorned with the iconic “YZF” and “R1” logos of the first-generation R1, as well as a special commemorative 20th anniversary logo. As Yamaha seeks an unprecedented four consecutive wins as well as a second back-to-back EWC title, the slogan for this year‘s Suzuka 8 Hours is “R1evolution: The “R” Evolution Sparking a Revolution”.

The Yamaha Factory Racing Team that secured Yamaha‘s first-ever hat trick of wins at the 8 Hours will once again feature Japanese racing legend Katsuyuki Nakasuga and World Superbike stars Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark. The team will again be led by Wataru Yoshikawa, the manager of Yamaha‘s factory team in the All Japan Road Race Championship.

Riding for the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team, in their quest for a second straight title, are endurance racing specialist David Checa, former Moto2 and MotoGP rider Mike Di Meglio and 2017 EWC Riders Champion Niccolò Canepa. The French team is currently second in the standings, with just a 10-point margin to first thanks to a fantastic win at the Bol d‘Or, a second place at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring, and a third at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben.

The YART Yamaha Official EWC Team‘s roster to handle pre-race tests and the gruelling eight-hour race features long-time veteran Broc Parkes, 2016 German IDM Superbike Champion Marvin Fritz, former World Superbike racer Max Neukirchner and young Japanese superbike racer Takuya Fujita. Despite some unlucky DNFs, their win at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring puts them 13th in the standings before the race in Suzuka.

Photos: Yamaha Motor Racing Srl

It’s a WorldSBK Brno weekend

Manufacturers profiles from Automotodrom Brno

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Aprilia have won three times here with Max Biaggi: in Race 1 in 2009 and Race 2 in 2010 and 2011. Their six podiums here were also secued by Biaggi, from 2009 to 2011 the Italian Champion always finished in first or second with Aprilia. In 2012 for their last weekend in Brno, Biaggi was again the best Aprilia rider as he recorded a fourth place in Race 2 despite starting only fourteenth.

Like Aprilia, BMW has an Italian rider to thank for their best performances in Brno: as Marco Melandri recorded a double in 2012. Those two wins, in the last two races run here, are the only podium placements for BMW at the Czech track.

Ducati are the most successful manufacturer in Brno, with five wins and 17 podium finishes. The wins span 15 years from the success in 1993’s Race 1 from Carl Fogarty, to 2008 when Troy Bayliss scored a double from pole. In the middle there was another double from Troy Corser, in 1996. In their last weekend here in 2012 Carlos Checa was their fastest rider, with a fourth in Race 1 and a third in Race 2. Interestingly, all the Ducati wins in Brno came from pole.

Honda have won twice here: in 2007’s Race 1, with James Toseland and in 2010’s Race 1, with Jonathan Rea. They are second in the Brno rankings for podiums with 15, to Ducati’s 17. All this success came without the advantage of a single pole position, as the best grid spot for a Honda bike in Brno is a second place, recorded in qualifying in 1996 by Carl Fogarty and in 2006 by James Toseland.

With 2012 as the last race run in Brno, Kawasaki are yet to make a significant impact on the records. They have won once here, back in 1993’s Race 2 with Scott Russell, and climbed on the podium six times – the last one in 2012, when Tom Sykes and Loris Baz were on the podium three times out of possible four in the races. In 2012 Sykes recorded the only Kawasaki pole position at Brno. The 2012 Brno podiums for Kawasaki were the first ones since the 2001 Sugo round.

Yamaha holds the record for pole positions here: four to Ducati’s three. They recorded this feat in just five years: from 2006 to 2010 they qualified on pole position four times out of possible five. Yamaha have won three times here with three different riders: Noriyuki Haga in 2005 Race 2; Ben Spies in 2009 Race 2 and Marco Melandri in 2011 Race 1. Yamaha so far have not only been the fastest bike in qualifying, with the aforementioned four poles, but also the fastest bike in the races, as the fastest race lap went eight times to the YZF-R1 from 2005 to 2011, matching the same, record, value for this track set by Ducati from 1993 to 2012. (WorldSBK)

Yamaha Teams Gear Up for 8 Hours of Oschersleben

Following on from the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team’s victory at the last round of the 2017/2018 FIM Endurance World Championship in Slovakia.

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Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Max Neukirchner will be looking to make it two wins out of two at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben this weekend. The GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team made it a Yamaha 1-2 as they crossed the line in second at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring and the reigning champions head to Germany firmly in the hunt to defend their title in second overall, just one point behind the overall leaders.

It has been a season of ups and downs for the GMT94 team. Victory at the Bol d’Or was followed up by an excellent damage limitation exercise in Le Mans when the team managed to finish in tenth despite two major crashes. A stunning battle with YART in Slovakia saw them finish in second to record a Yamaha 1-2 and recover the points they lost from Le Mans, meaning they arrive in Germany second in the overall standings and just one point behind the leaders F.C.C. TSR Honda France.

Determined to record back-to-back titles, GMT94 will once again line up with Spanish endurance legend David Checa, former Italian MotoGP rider Niccolò Canepa, and 2008 125cc World Champion Mike Di Meglio taking on all-comers on the Yamaha YZF-R1. Winners of the 8 Hours of Oschersleben for the last three seasons in a row, they head to Germany looking to make it four out of four at what could prove to be a crucial penultimate round of the season in regards to the championship.

YART bounced back from two DNFs at the first two rounds of the season to take a sensation victory in Slovakia, their first since 2009, and are looking forward to riding at the team’s home race. Experienced Australian Broc Parkes, and talented Germans Marvin Fritz and  Max Neukirchner make up the team once more as they look to carry this form into Germany. The team finished second in the race last year after a superb duel with the GMT94 boys and they will be looking to build on their scintillating pace at the last round in an effort to finish the 2017/2018 season as strongly as possible and head into the 2018/2019 as title favourites.

This weekend will also see the culmination of the 2017/2018 Superstock Championship, with the Moto AIN Yamaha Team currently third overall in the standings with 26 points, just ten behind the leaders, and the 3ART-MOTO Team 95 Yamaha squad in fourth with 24 points.

The action kicks off at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben with free practice starting on Wednesday, qualifying takes place on Thursday and Friday, with Saturday’s race due to start at 1 pm local time (CEST).

The young Lyon was a racer at heart


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ACU Events Ltd regrets to confirm that Adam Lyon, 26, from Helensburgh in Scotland was killed in an incident during the Supersport 1 Race today at the Isle of Man TT Races. The accident occurred at Casey’s, just after the 28th mile of the course, on the 3rd lap of the race.

Adam was a newcomer to the TT this year. He qualified in 24th place for today’s race with a fastest lap of 122.261 which he improved to 122.636mph on the opening lap of today’s race. His fastest lap of the TT course – 123.443 – was in Friday’s Superbike qualifying session.

Adam lapped at 122.499 as a newcomer at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2017, finishing 11thin the second Supersport race. He finished sixth in the 2010 Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship with podiums at Croft and Silverstone.

ACU Events Ltd wishes to pass on their deepest sympathy to Adam’s family and friends.