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Ending the season on a high

Both lads ended the season on a high with Tarran taking another hard fought third place in Saturday’s opening Superbike race and Taylor taking victory in the final Superstock 1000 race.

Practice also went very well with both boys feeling confident after qualifying third and on the front row of the grid.

Unfortunately Tarran fell heavily in Sunday’s wet warm up session doing substantial damage to his bike which put him out of action for Sunday’s races.

Tarran:

“I went to Brands Hatch believing I could win so coming home third in Saturday’s race got the weekend off to a great start. I was much stronger than I had been mid season at Brands so was ready to attack on the next day. I made a small mistake in Sunday’s warm up but it cost me big time as it put me out of Sunday’s two races. I was a bit battered and my bike was wrecked so unfortunately we had to sit things out.

2018 has still been amazing for me as I’ve exceeded all my expectations in my rookie Superbike season leading races and finishing on the podium four times. The Yamaha R1 and the McAMS Team are the perfect combination for me so hopefully we can come back next year even stronger and ready to challenge for the British Superbike Championship”.

Taylor:

“I’m absolutely chuffed to bits as I didn’t want to end the year without winning. The bike was mega so full credit to the team as we struggled in the wet at the last round but this time it was faultless throughout. I dropped back a bit in the middle of the race but I stayed calm figuring out where the grip was before moving forward again. I can’t thank the brilliant Bathams BMW Team enough for giving me the opportunity in the middle of the year and I am so happy to repay them with a win. It’s a pity that’s the last race as I know there is even more to come from me and the bike. I’ll have to wait but I’m already excited about my 2019 plans so there will be an announcement coming soon”.

As always we’ve enjoyed an incredible amount of kindness and support from friends and sponsors throughout the 2018 season. All of this has enabled Tarran to make a successful step up to the Superbike class and Taylor to get his career back on track after a difficult 2017 season. For this we incredibly grateful so thanks to one and all, we hope you’ve enjoyed the journey!

I’ll be in touch as soon as our 2019 plans are confirmed. (Niall Mackenzie)


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Oulton Park was all positives for the Mackenzies

Once again I’m very  pleased to report we had lots of positives with the boys over last weekend at Oulton Park. 

Although mild, it rained at some point every day making practice and racing very tricky when it came to choosing tyres and the appropriate bike set ups.

That said the lads gained valuable data as, until this point both their respective teams had limited wet set up information for Tarran and Taylor. Taylor was actually last in both wet practice sessions on Friday so was relieved to qualify on the second row for Saturday’s race. After an average start he battled through the field finishing fourth at chequered flag. On Sunday he went one place better bringing his Bathams BMW home on the rostrum in third position.

Tarran once again made it all the way through to the final Superbike qualifying session giving himself a solid eight position for race one on Sunday. He finished seventh in this wet race learning more new riding skills along the way. His lap time put him fourth for Sunday’s race and that is also where he finished at the flag just ahead of team mate Josh Brookes.

Taylor

I was was well chuffed with my Superstock 1000 podium at Oulton after a tricky weekend of mixed weather. The circuit was quite slippy but my Bathams BMW Team worked tirelessly to give me the best bike for the conditions. I jumped up to 10th in the championship so my goal for the final round is another podium and and a few more championship positions.

Tarran

Returning to Oulton Park has been very successful as I struggled in every area there earlier in the year.  Finishing 7th in the wet race then 4th in the dry at this tough circuit was brilliant in my Rookie year on the superbike. We’ve learned loads at MCAMS Yamaha regarding dealing with all kinds of conditions which bodes well for the future. It’s Assen in Holland next and a track I adore.

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Lewis Rollo 2nd in Ducati Championship

August was a busy month for Lewis Rollo with races in the Ducati TriOptions Cup and Superstock 1000 at the British Superbike Championship. We caught up with him to get his take on what was a busy and successful month.

LEWIS:

Cadwell Park was a great outing for the team scoring two P2 podium finishes that have bumped me up to second place overall in the Ducati TriOptions Cup. 

We went to Cadwell with a blank sheet and ran around P4 in FP1. ~For qualifying we tried something a little different changing tyres to get some wear on them but by the time I went back out for another run I got stuck in traffic and only qualified 6th.

In Race One I knew I had to get away quickly from the start. By the time we reached turn two I was leading the race and keep that position for a few laps before Levi passed me. I was happy to be behind him and was pacing myself there hoping to make a move in the last few laps.

Levi was riding really defensively and I couldn’t make the pass but took a good 2nd place and with Guiver further down the order I was making ground to catch up on the lead he has in the Championship.

Race Two was another strong one for me. I lead the race again for a few laps until Guiver passed me and I ran wide dropping to 3rd. I managed to fight back into second place and keep that hoping again to make a move at the end of the race but just couldn’t get there and finished 2nd again.

It was a strong weekend and I broke the lap record three times by 0.7 seconds, trying  to catch Guiver. He’s still leading the Championship but I’m in 2nd place and only 55 points behind him. With four races still to run this year anything could happen and our sights are still firmly fixed on the top step.

This weekend we’re off to Silverstone and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m looking for that win to claw back points and get close to the Championship lead and hoping that Guiver finishes further down the order, that will help us a lot.

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Mixed fortunes for the Mackenzies at Knockhill

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.

Tarran

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! 

Taylor

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.

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Mackenzie’s in the points at Brands Hatch

We didn’t quite shake off the bad weather at Brands Hatch last weekend but at least it was a few degrees warmer and drier than round one of BSB at Donington Park.

Overall the boys had a good weekend with Tarran scoring his first ever British Superbike points with 11th and 9th places respectively on his McAMS Yamaha. Taylor finished just outside the points in race one but went home reasonably happy after landing a championship point in race two on his Moto Rapido Ducati.

Tarran:

I’m pleased with my weekend as I’ve achieved my first goal of the season scoring championship points. The wrist I fractured at Donington wasn’t perfect but my physio did a great job and my team worked hard as always to give me a well set up bike. Being 9th fastest in qualifying gave me confidence and as I’ve still only had nine days riding a Superbike and know there is plenty more to come. A fogging visor in race two wasn’t ideal but overall I was happy with my pace and ninth position at the chequered flag.

Taylor:

I’m finding the Ducati feels quite different to what I’m used to as we visit different tracks, however, I’m getting to grips with things and figuring out how to to get the best from my bike. I was pretty frustrated with my race day as I didn’t get the results the team and me deserve considering the progress we’ve made. We’re very positive though and ready to move up the field at the coming rounds. Oulton Park is next and a track I’ve always liked and where I’ve enjoyed plenty success in the past.

Both lads will test next week at Oulton Park ahead of round three in May.

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Bradley Ray knocks out 2 wins at Donington

Bradley Ray delivered a dream start to Buildbase Suzuki’s 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship campaign, securing his first victory in Sunday’s opening race and the 20-year old followed it up with a masterful performance in changing conditions in race two on Monday.

Race One

On the opening lap of the race home hero Leon Haslam had initially grabbed the advantage on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki after Byrne had a disastrous start off the line and dropped down the order dramatically.

Ellison was instantly on the attack and took the lead on the opening lap for the local Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha team with Ray holding third place with Jason O’Halloran and Danny Buchan in close contention.

Ray was piling the pressure on Haslam though and he made a move on lap three to move into second place and ready to target Ellison. A lap later and Tommy Bridewell and Kyle Ryde had a premature end to their race when they crashed out, but both were soon up on their feet.

Ray moved to the front of the pack for the first time on the sixth lap with a determined move on Ellison at Redgate with Ellison and Haslam still in close contention, but behind the there was a scrap between Luke Mossey, Dan Linfoot and Danny Buchan with Byrne soon moving into contention.

Linfoot and Mossey were trading blows on track, but Byrne was soon ahead and with four laps to go the leading trio were inseparable in their quest for the first victory of the season.

The battle for the win went all the way to the finish line and on the exit of Melbourne for the final time Ray had a moment which pushed him out of the seat, but he wasn’t giving Ellison and Byrne an inch. The defending champion though took the advantage, moving ahead of Ellison to finish second as the Buildbase Suzuki team celebrated the first victory of 2018.

Dan Linfoot won the war for fourth place ahead of Mossey and the returning Glenn Irwin as Jason O’Halloran dropped back to seventh on the final lap. Peter Hickman was eighth after he made a move on Haslam with Michael Laverty completing the top ten.

Race Two

The Kent ace got off to a flying start, leading the race from start to finish, despite initial pressure from Dan Linfoot and defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne. Danny Buchan was moving up the order on the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki and he was soon piling on the pressure on the Be Wiser Ducati rider.

Haslam was determined to make amends for missing out on the podium yesterday and he made his move on Linfoot on the eighth lap, powering ahead and defending hard before edging out an advantage to bridge the gap to the chasing pack and trying to close down Ray. The ‘Pocket Rocket’ had to settle for second, but it was a positive end to his home race weekend for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider.

Meanwhile Buchan continued his charge and despite an attack from Byrne on the final lap, he held fourth position on the final lap with Christian Iddon moving up the order in the closing stages to finish sixth after an epic battle with Glenn Irwin, Luke Mossey, Jason O’Halloran and Michael Laverty.

Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Donington Park:

  1. Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki) 50
  2. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 31
  3. Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) 29
  4. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 27
  5. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 19
  6. Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) 19

Photo Credit: Impact Images