Reigning champion Tarran Mackenzie may have joined the party late but he's making up for lost time in this year’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship and with six podiums on the spin, including three wins, he’s hauled himself right back into title contention.
Since the series resumed after the summer break, the McAMS Yamaha rider has challenged for the race win in each race and Thruxton was no exception. A win and two seconds across the three races showed just how much of a force he’s going to be reckoned with in the second half of the season.
Second to teammate Jason O’Halloran and ahead of Bradley Ray in Saturday’s race opened his account in what was a thrilling weekend of racing at the high-speed venue.
“It was great for the team to have another one-two and I felt really good in the race. I got knocked back a bit at the start and got held up by a few people but whenever I got knocked back I could fight through and catch the boys in front,” Mackenzie explained afterwards.
“It gave me a lot of confidence as I’d never previously challenged for a win at Thruxton. I've only challenged for a podium and last year we were quite far off the win so we've made a massive step forward and the pace is faster than ever. I enjoyed the battle with Brad, it's nice when you can out drag someone to the line, it was funny - we were having a good laugh after the flag!”
Sunday’s races were even closer as the three riders fought tooth and nail on each occasion and both could have gone any way. It looked like Mackenzie had the first win nailed on after a final corner manoeuvre on O’Halloran only for Australian to out drag him to the line by 0.079s.
Mackenzie then repeated the trick on Ray at Church in the final encounter after another thrilling battle and although Ray tried to emulate O’Halloran’s move from earlier in the day, Mackenzie held on this time albeit by the slender margin of 0.019s.
“I’m really happy and that was a good way to end the weekend! I’ve had six podiums in a row now and we’ve been strong all weekend. I felt like I had a chance to win on Saturday and that gave me some good confidence for Sunday’s races,” he said.
“I felt great in all of the races and although I just got out-dragged in race two, I managed to get the job done in race three. I felt strong and led a lot of laps which is important for me as I made a big step forward in my riding and figured some stuff out during the weekend which was perfect.
“To win after leading for a lot of laps and then having a last lap scrap was fun, it was a bit of a ballsy move into Church. I’m over the moon for the team, we’ve had six double podiums in a row now and I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum.”
Mackenzie’s flurry of form has seen him move up to seventh in the championship table whilst he now has 24 podium credits, exactly half that of the table topping O’Halloran.