Tarran Mackenzie secured a dream title in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch this weekend, claiming the coveted crown for the first time, 25 years after his father Niall achieved the same feat for Yamaha, with a hat trick of victories at the season finale.
Mackenzie has delivered his strongest season to date this year with McAMS Yamaha, going head-to-head with his teammate Jason O’Halloran and the Ducatis of Christian Iddon and Tommy Bridewell all season long. At the final round on the iconic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, Mackenzie won all three races in style to complete an iconic title win and add to his British Supersport crown of 2016.
Mackenzie scored his opening victory of the season during the first visit to Brands Hatch in the summer, before adding to his tally throughout the season with a total of ten wins and a further nine podiums.
Arriving at the title-deciding Showdown, Mackenzie trailed O’Halloran by 30 points. A win and podium finish at Oulton Park moved him to the top of the standings however, two points clear of McAMS Yamaha teammate O’Halloran, who suffered a double DNF.
A consistent weekend followed at Donington Park for the penultimate round where he won yet another race. Despite being hampered by a DNF following a technical issue, Mackenzie extended his lead to 10 points ahead of the season finale.
A victory in the opening race on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit yesterday put him 22 points ahead of the chasing pack with just two races left to run on the final day of the season. That put the fate of the title battle firmly in Mackenzie’s hands, and he duly delivered. The McAMS Yamaha rider sealed the crown in a stunning second race of the weekend, when be defeated Bridewell in an epic duel with a last gasp drag to the line.
At the start of the race, Mackenzie launched off the line to lead the pack into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time, but by the time they reached Surtees, Bridewell had forged ahead on the Oxford Products Racing Ducati.
Bridewell then held the lead, bidding to make a break but Mackenzie managed to pile on the pressure and it would ultimately go down to the chequered flag between the two title contenders.
Mackenzie made a pass at Paddock Hill Bend to regain the lead at the start of the twelfth lap before experiencing a huge moment at the exit of Stirlings two laps later. He saved the near highside, whilst Bridewell was forced to ease off and take evasive action.
A lap later and Bridewell snatched the lead back at the same corner, before trying to keep his title rival at bay over the closing stages. Bridewell led over the line by 0.127s onto the final lap before
Mackenzie made a move up the inside at Druids. But as the pair reached Surtees Bridewell was back ahead and it wasn’t until Clearways when Mackenzie could retake the position, diving for the inside on the drag to the line to win by 0.087s.
Mackenzie and Bridewell then went head-to-head in the final race of the season, with an intense contest to end the year. The newly crowned champion led at the start from O’Halloran, but soon it was Bridewell into second position as the pair renewed their rivalry from earlier in the day.
Bridewell hit the front of the pack on the second lap and he was holding off the new champion, but in the closing stages, the McAMS Yamaha rider built towards another attack.
On lap 16, Mackenzie made a dive down the inside at Paddock Hill Bend to grab the lead, but Bridewell fought back instantly to regain the position heading into Sheene Curve.
Mackenzie was determined to claim his first hat trick of race wins in the championship though, and on the final lap he again snatched the lead heading into Paddock Hill Bend.
Bridewell fought hard, but was once again forced to cede victory to an opponent who once again defeated him by a narrow margin. Bridewell’s second place promoted to runner-up in the overall standings as he soared up the order this weekend.
There was drama for Iddon on the final lap as he was tagged by Danny Buchan at Paddock Hill Bend, sending the pair crashing out of the action.
Jason O’Halloran claimed the final podium position to seal third in the overall standings, holding off the next group of Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman who completed the top five.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Race 2 result:
1. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha)
2. Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +0.087s
3. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +1.398s
4. Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +2.370s
5. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +5.874s
6. Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) +8.437s
7. Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW) +9.430s
8. Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) +15.298s
9. Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) +18.297s
10. Kyle Ryde (Rich Energy OMG BMW) +19.161s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, Race 3 result:
1. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha)
2. Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +0.126s
3. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +3.266s
4. Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) +4.917s
5. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +5.099s
6. Lee Jackson (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +12.005s
7. Rory Skinner (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +13.304s
8. Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +14.742s
9. Andrew Irwin (SYNETIQ BMW) +18.359s
10. Gino Rea (Buildbase Suzuki) +18.440s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship final standings:
1. Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 1202
2. Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) 1166
3. Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 1162
4. Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) 1141
5. Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) 1092
6. Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) 1079
7. Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW) 1075
8. Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) 1055
Tarran Mackenzie – McAMS Yamaha
2021 Bennetts BSB champion
“Honestly, I can’t believe it. It’s been a roller-coaster of a year!
“I’ve visualized coming round and seeing everyone there at Graham Hill Bend. When you watch BSB as a fan, you see Leon Haslam, Brookes and Shakey, and all those heroes over the years, pull up at Graham Hill to get their bib and gold helmet. As a rookie in 2018, that’s what I aspired to and I’ve made it happen!
“All credit to the McAMS Yamaha team and everyone involved. It’s just been an incredible four years for me, five including Supersport. The time, money and effort that’s gone in to try and win this just second to none from Steve Rogers and everyone. The team put in a lot of effort to get the bike where it is and now I’m sure we won’t remember much tonight! The whole team is staying, it is a bit of a party and hopefully we can all celebrate it.
“And to do it 25 years since dad won his title is amazing – it’s a bit of a fairytale. We never really talked about it all year until the Showdown. Going into the last round, a lot of people were talking about it but I just didn’t want to think about it really. I just wanted to get the job done and then we could talk about it. Dad won the first proper BSB championship when I wasn’t even one year old, so to do it 25 years on is great but also to do it on a Yamaha is just incredible.
“It’s nice to have all the fans back too, especially at Brands Hatch so I thank everyone that’s come out to support me over the years. I can’t believe it. It’s happened. And there are too many people to thank.”
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