Features 27 May 2014

Race Recap: Billy Mackenzie

CDR Yamaha rider speaks about his MX Nationals win at Wanneroo.

CDR Yamaha’s MX1 title hopeful Billy Mackenzie became the fourth podium-topper in five rounds this season, after claiming a solid win at the Wanneroo round of the Monster Energy MX Nationals on Sunday. As the series now heads into a mid-season break, we caught up with the Byron Bay-based Scotsman to critique his performance and find out why he’s near unstoppable when the going gets rough.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Billy, that was a solid and very timely win as we head into a mid-season break. If you were to give yourself a rating out of 10 for your performance at Wanneroo, what would it be?

I’d probably say it was about a 7.5. If I’d won the last two races in the same fashion as the first then I’d put it a little higher. I didn’t make Super Pole either, so I didn’t feel I got everything right, even though I scored the overall.

Take us through your day. How did you manage to grab to overall?

I thought I’d secured a start in Super Pole after my first lap put me in third, but I needed a second more to be sure. I did another two laps but didn’t go faster, which was hugely frustrating. When I was told I was sixth I was so angry with myself! In the first race I pulled an awesome holeshot and put some hard laps in as Matt Moss and I gapped the field. I looked for smoother lines but made a mistake and let him past. A few laps later he crashed and I took the lead again. I kept a safe distance and won comfortably. I holeshot the second race as well, but Jake Moss came around the outside of me at the last second. He set a fast pace and I went with him, but never quite got close enough to try a pass. He had a bad first race, so I opted to play it safe and secure second. In the final race I pulled another holoeshot but again Jake launched past me before the first corner. The track was cut up and I struggled to find a rhythm, and Matt and Gibbsy passed me before I settled in, found my rhythm and started to push. My mechanic told me on the pitboard I needed to pass Gibbs for the overall, so every lap I ate his roost looking for a way past. We pushed hard until we caught Matt on the last lap. I tried to make an inside pass on Gibbs, but he got the drive out of the corner and I clipped his rear end and went down. I managed to keep the bike running and came home in fourth. I thought I’d lost the overall, so it was a surprise to find out I’d still won.

You always seem really come into your own when tracks get rough and chopped up. What is it about gnarly tracks that makes you hit your stride? Is it your GP experience?

It could be, but I think it’s more that I enjoy getting loose on the bike. Sand allows you to trust your tyres more and hit corners faster. I enjoy carrying momentum through turns and getting into a flow, so when the tracks are cut up and bumpy I find more of a rhythm. I know when it comes to the tougher tracks I have the fitness and I like to push my limits physically.

So far you’re the fourth winner in five rounds. Is this field more stacked this year, do you think?

I’m not sure. There does seem to be a handful of guys going for it this year compared to only three of us – Matt, Todd, myself – last year.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

How different it is racing the new guys like the Moss brothers, Gibbs and Adam Monea compared to your original competition in Australia of Jay Marmont, Dean Ferris, Tye Simmonds and Josh Coppins, etc?

I don’t think it’s that different. At the front the level is always high. I’ve always said the day I’m not competitive is the day I’ll stop, but while I have the support of a great team and a fast bike, it makes my life easier for sure. I still believe I can win an Australian championship, so until that becomes an unrealistic goal I’ll keep doing my program and hopefully things will come together. My move to Australia gave me a fresh lease on racing; the weather is kind, the tracks are nice and I’m living a healthy, active lifestyle which I’m sure will keep me going for a few years yet. I actually feel I’m in one of the best physical shapes in my career, which is helping me keep my form on the track.

We’re heading into a well-earned break now. What are your plans for the next five or six weeks?

I have some testing scheduled with the team to try some factory parts we are sharing with the other Yamaha teams, so I’m excited about that. Other than that I’ll just do my normal training program and life here in Byron.

Awesome, thanks mate. Thanks for the chat and we’ll catch you at round six.

Sounds good. Cheers.