Tarran Mackenzie dealt the first blow to his Bennetts British Superbike Championship rivals in the opening race of the triple-header decider at Brands Hatch today, holding off fierce title rival Tommy Bridewell despite coming under immense pressure over the final laps.
The leading four riders in the standings will now head into tomorrow’s crucial final day of the 2021 season separated by 26 points, with the stage set for a four-way title decider with two races on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
Mackenzie had the edge in the title chase ahead of today’s opening race of the weekend, as the McAMS Yamaha rider bids to emulate his father Niall’s title success 25 years later.
At the start of the race, Mackenzie led the pack into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time, but Christian Iddon instantly fought back to make a pass into Druids to hit the front of the field.
Iddon was then trying to shake the chasing pack of Mackenzie, Andrew Irwin and Rory Skinner with Bridewell completing the top five.
However, the BMW Safety Car was deployed when Josh Owens crashed out at Hawthorns, he was able to walk away from the crash, and the race resumed on lap eight.
Iddon again tried to make a break, but the VisionTrack Ducati rider was under fire from Mackenzie and Bridewell, who had moved into third place before the Safety Car period.
Mackenzie went for a move at Paddock Hill Bend on lap nine to grab the lead, but Iddon again fought back at Druids as the pair traded blows for the victory.
As Iddon went for a move at Druids, Bridewell tagged his back wheel, losing ground and then having to make a concerted comeback.
Bridewell was then up to second position with a move on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend on lap 12, getting the better drive up to Druids and then he had Mackenzie firmly in his sights.
Bridewell was piling on the pressure, trying to capitalise on any small margin of error from the championship leader, but Mackenzie maintained his edge to claim his eighth win of the season and take a 22-point lead into tomorrow’s two races.
Jason O’Halloran finished fourth, the McAMS Yamaha rider maintaining second in the standings ahead of tomorrow’s final decider, but now with just two points separating him and Iddon in third. Bridewell though is now just a further two points adrift of his Ducati rival.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, BikeSocial Race 1 result:
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha)
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) +0.160s
- Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) +2.636s
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) +6.675s
- Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) +6.965s
- Andrew Irwin (SYNETIQ BMW) +8.976s
- Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) +8.994s
- Lee Jackson (FS-3 Kawasaki) +9.084s
- Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) +9.382s
- Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW) +12.446s
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch Race 1:
- Tarran Mackenzie (McAMS Yamaha) 1152
- Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha) 1130
- Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) 1128
- Tommy Bridewell (Oxford Products Racing Ducati) 1126
- Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) 1070
- Danny Buchan (SYNETIQ BMW) 1066
- Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati) 1056
- Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) 1048
Tarran Mackenzie – McAMS Yamaha
Race 1 winner and championship leader
“I didn’t have the strongest day yesterday so to do consistent 1’25 lap times like that without much practice was great. We left the bike very similar to how it was at the first Brands in Round 3. The pace was faster in the colder conditions and I felt strong, set my fastest lap of the race on the last lap which was great.
“The championship isn’t done yet but we have put ourselves in a better position. We have two more goes at it tomorrow. Credit to everyone as we didn’t have an easy day yesterday and the boys worked their backsides off to make it right.”
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