About McAMS Yamaha & Raceways Motorcycles
McAMS Yamaha is the latest title for the Raceways Motorcycles team which has competed at various levels of motorcycle racing, both internationally and nationally, over the last 30 years.
The team is owned by Steve Rodgers, who has been involved in racing for other three decades and is based at Rodgers’ Fleetwood Yamaha dealership – Raceways Motorcycles.
Raceways’ history includes victories across the board from the British 125cc championship to British Supersport and most lately in the British Superbike class. The latest evrsion of the team spawned from a project with the late musical megastar Keith Flint, who joined forces with Raceways at the start of the 2016 British Supersport and International Road racing season.
That year, the team won races in British Supersport and at the legendary Isle of Man TT with Ian Hutchinson, before making a hugely anticipated step up to the British Superbike category in 2017 with new title sponsor, accident management firm McAMS and thus the McAMS Yamaha team was born.
Having already proved their pedigree in the British Supersport class, the new team became Yamaha Motor UK’s official entrant in the Superbike category in its inaugural year, fielding the talented James Ellison and Michael Laverty while youngster Tarran Mackenzie fronted up the Supersport effort.
The team’s first Superbike podium came in the hands of James Ellison with a second place at Knockhill that year and the Cumbrian rider would go on to take the team’s first ever victory at Cadwell Park later that summer. An inconsistent season saw Ellison finish the year eighth in the 2017 standings and Laverty 14th. In the Supersport class, Tarran Mackenzie dominated the first six races before getting the call up to race in the Grand Prix Moto2 paddock. Unwilling to stop a young rider chasing his dreams, Rodgers’ released Mackenzie from his contract mid-way through the year – relinquishing what looked certain to be his first British Championship title.
Mackenzie would return to the team for 2018, this time in the Superbike class as a rookie after the Moto2 adventure didn’t work out. He’d be joined by 2015 British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes. The team took a step forward with Brookes taking three victories, but ultimately weren’t quite there to fight for the title with the Aussie finishing fourth despite taking the team to the Showdown for the first time. Rookie Mackenzie had a strong campaign, taking his first podium at Silverstone and following that up with a stunning display at Assen.
For 2019, Brookes moved to pastures new while Mackenzie remained with the team, joined by Australian Jason O’Halloran. Having enjoyed a strong rookie campaign, Mackenzie took his debut superbike victory in the opening round at Silverstone – although it wasn’t without controversy after the youngster collided with team-mate Jason O’Halloran on the final lap of the opening race after the duo had dominated proceedings.
Despite the early promise, both Mackenzie and O’Halloran had an injury blighted campaign, finishing fifth and tenth in the standings respectively.
2020 saw the arrival of a new R1 from Yamaha and while on the surface the bike didn’t look to be too different, a host of engine changes saw the team confident they could take a step forward. After a long COVID-forced hiatus, the 2020 season was a short, six round affair, but with O’Halloran winning three races and Mackenzie two, it was the team’s most successful year to date – with O’Halloran missing out on the title by just 19 points.
Retaining the same line-up for 2021, this is where McAMS Yamaha came to flourish. O’Halloran dominated the opening round with a hat-trick of wins which set the tone for what would become the team’s best season to date. A dominant performance from both O’Halloran and Mackenzie saw McAMS Yamaha win 19 out of 33 races and record a total of 42 podium finshes across the year. Despite O’Halloran’s early season dominance, it would ultimately be Mackenzie who triumphed in the Showdown taking the team to its first British Championship title.
Returning to defend the crown for 2022, Mackenzie missed the opening two rounds after sustaining two separate broken ankles in the off-season. Keen to make up for the loss of pace at the end of 2021, O’Halloran spent the opening rounds trying a series of new set-ups with new crew chief Lez Pearson, but when things clicked for the Aussie he was unbeatable taking a run of seven victories from nine races including in what would become the races of the year at Thruxton. Both McAMS Yamaha riders were lining up their title attack for the Showdown when bad luck struck, Mackenzie falling at Oulton Park and being collected by another rider and sustaining a badly broken femur to bring his campaign to an early end. O’Halloran’s campaign would also come to a cruel end, knocked off twice at Oulton Park the Aussie was severely hampered going into the final two rounds.
With Mackenzie moving on to the world stage for 2023, the team features a new line-up for the first time since 2019 with Tim Neave, who won three races for the team under its Edwards 1902 Yamaha guise in the National Superstock category in 2022, stepping up to the R1 Superbike alongside the established Jason O’Halloran.