Tarran Mackenzie took McAMS Yamaha’s 18th victory of the season with a sublime performance in the second race of the weekend at Donington Park to strengthen his position at the top of the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike championship. Team-mate Jason O’Halloran endured a tougher weekend, but still brought home solid points to remain second in the standings.
After Saturday’s deluge, it was a relief to see blue skies on Sunday morning. With warm-up still damp from overnight rain, coupled with the chilly October temperatures, the duo opted to sit out of the final ten-minute practice session feeling prepared for the race.
Donning a special livery to celebrate sponsor McAMS’ 25th anniversary, the duo lined up 10th (O’Halloran) and 13th on the grid for the first dry race of the weekend after wobbling round to solid points on Saturday.
Despite the sunny weather, track temperature was the lowest it’s been all year leading to a tyre predicament on the grid with a question mark over whether the softer SCX rear would last the distance. Having completed a strong race run in FP3 on the harder SC0, O’Halloran opted for the hard option while Mackenzie stuck with what he knew and went with the softer SCX.
The first ten laps saw a 12-bike train for the lead as the riders on the harder option tyre worked to get heat into their tyre while those on SCXs rode tentatively as they tried to conserve the tyre.
Comfortably in sixth, at about mid-race distance Mackenzie began his charge, easily picking off his rivals one by one until he was behind race leader Danny Buchan on the penultimate lap where he secured a pass into the Fogarty esses and held his own on the final tour for a commanding win.
Struggling in the early stages, O’Halloran was unable to make up ground and crossed the line ninth.
Having set the fastest lap of race two on the final lap, Mackenzie lined up pole for the third and final race of the weekend but rain on the warm-up lap led to a delayed start. When things finally got underway in wet conditions, the heavens opened even further forcing another aborted start.
After a short delay, bikes were back on the grid and while the rain had abated, the track remained very wet. Starting from pole position, Mackenzie led initially before dropping back to fourth when his race would cruelly end when broken battery connector brought his R1 to a halt.
Determined to cross the line, O’Halloran battled on to take eighth place to close the championship gap. The team-mates are now split by just ten points going into the final round, but the Ducatis of Iddon and Bridewell are both within striking distance.
O’Halloran’s eighth place was enough to ensure Yamaha’s lead is insurmountable in the 2021 Manufacturers Championship.
The series will conclude at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time.
“I think there are a lot of positives to take out of this weekend as we come away from Donington with a bigger points lead than we had coming here, so I’m really happy with that. We showed our speed in the first race coming through from 13th to win. In the dry we have a great setting, in the wet in the final race I also felt really comfortable and had a good feeling but unfortunately a little technical problem, which was no-one’s fault, ruled us out. We go to Brands with a bit of a buffer, it’s not a lot, but it’s a bit and I look forward to getting stuck in there whatever the weather.”
“It’s been a really difficult weekend for us. The second race was tough, I got caught up in a battle with both the Irwins, Bradley Ray and a few others and we were just smashing into each other at every corner and unfortunately we couldn’t get away from each other which made it really difficult. In the third race, all I wanted to do was get to the finish line, I struggled with a bit of entry grip from the rear, it was really cold and really slippery so I was just happy to make the flag. There are ten points in it now, we’ve got a week off which I’m looking forward to and when it’s all to play for at Brands.”
“It’s been a challenging weekend with the weather but all in all I think we have to be happy as we head to Brands with a bigger championship lead than we had when we came here. Tarran’s race two victory was brilliant, it was a shame to see him out of the final race with a small technical issue but these things happen. It’s been a tougher weekend for Jason, but we know what he is capable of and I am confident he will be in the fight at Brands. Tarran leads the fight by ten points, we are still 1-2 in the championship and we have 15 points on the others. That being said, we’ve seen multiple times that anything can happen in the Showdown so we need to go to Brands Hatch, give it our all and see what happens.”
|1||Tarran Mackenzie||McAMS Yamaha||Yamaha|
|2||Danny Buchan||SYNETIQ BMW MOTORRAD||BMW|
|3||Christian Iddon||VisionTrack Ducati||Ducati|
|4||Gino Rea||Buildbase Suzuki||Suzuki|
|5||Lee Jackson||FS-3 Racing Kawasaki||Kawasaki|
|6||Kyle Ryde||RICH Energy OMG Racing||BMW|
|7||Tommy Bridewell||Oxford Products||Ducati|
|8||Andrew Irwin||SYNETIQ BMW MOTORRAD||BMW|
|9||Jason O'Halloran||McAMS Yamaha||Yamaha|
|10||Glenn Irwin||Honda Racing||Honda|
|1||Gino Rea||Buildbase Suzuki||Suzuki|
|2||Christian Iddon||VisionTrack Ducati||Ducati|
|3||Lee Jackson||FS-3 Racing Kawasaki||Kawasaki|
|4||Tommy Bridewell||Oxford Products||Ducati|
|5||Andrew Irwin||SYNETIQ BMW MOTORRAD||BMW|
|6||Ryan Vickers||RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki||Kawasaki|
|7||Peter Hickman||FHO Racing BMW||BMW|
|8||Jason O'Halloran||McAMS Yamaha||Yamaha|
|9||Joe Francis||Lloyd & Jones Bowker Motorrad||BMW|
|DNF||Tarran Mackenzie||McAMS Yamaha||Yamaha|