It may have taken until round five but reigning Bennetts British Superbike Champion Tarran Mackenzie was back on the top step of the podium at the weekend not once but twice with some stunning performances at Brands Hatch.
Injury has slowed down the defence of the McAMS Yamaha rider’s crown but that’s clearly all behind him now as two wins and a second not only marked a return to top form but also elevated him from 15th to eighth in the championship standings and into one of the all-important Showdown positions. It also clinched him the King of Brands Trophy for the second successive year.
Second in Saturday’s 15-lap race, behind team-mate Jason O’Halloran, got the ball rolling and back at a venue where he’s excelled at in the past, the race clearly demonstrated the Mac was back.
“I was really happy to be on the podium in Saturday’s race and I felt strong all weekend,” he said. “It was a close battle between us all and I sat in second quite happily but Jason had a bit of a moment and I got knocked back from that. Then I had a massive moment and got knocked back again.
“It was one of those races but I think I was back to fourth two or three times and I could always get back up there and feeling comfortable doing so. I felt good on the last lap which I felt would stand me in good stead for Sunday’s longer races.”
The pace on the R1 Yamaha was clear for all to see and Mackenzie converted that into victories on Sunday when he was the McAMS rider in the ascendancy. The first race saw him take the lead on the sixth lap and withstand early pressure before confidently edging away at the front.
And while the third and final race of the weekend took him a bit longer to hit the front, overtaking Glenn Irwin on lap 13, when he did, he immediately put the hammer down and upped the pace. On this occasion though, O’Halloran went with him and although the Australian nosed ahead at Clearways on the final lap, Mackenzie immediately dived back up the inside to get the verdict by 0.037s.
“It's been a perfect return to the front, being on the podium and winning races again! The goal was to try and get one podium this weekend and make headway into the championship so to have a dream weekend is amazing.
“We had good pace, qualified well and felt awesome in both of today's races despite the heat. It's been an incredible effort for everyone, I'm so happy to be back and I can't wait for Thruxton.”
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