Scotland's Billy MacKenzie (Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team YZ450F), making an impact in New Zealand again this season.

Flying Scotsman Turns Up the Heat

10 Mar 2014

Billy MacKenzie is popular with Kiwi motocross fans and it's not just because the "flying Scotsman" is a very fast and stylish rider, it's because he also excites and thrills at the same time.

The Australian-domiciled rider from Edinburg is loved in this part of the world and it showed on Sunday when his many fans lit up on the side of the track as he mounted one of his trademark hard charges through traffic.

MacKenzie turned the blowtorch on the class leader in the second MX1 race of the day at Sunday's third round of four in this season's New Zealand Motocross Championships at Tuakau, just outside Pukekohe.

MacKenzie was on the attack and he closed up on the rear wheel of the race and championship leader, Mount Maunganui's defending national MX1 champion Cody Cooper, and he looked ready to pounce in a tight, rutted corner when a gasp rose from the large crowd on the Tuakau hillside as MacKenzie went down hard.

MacKenzie lost nine positions as he re-gathered himself but soon set about the job of catching the leaders, eventually battling his way back to fourth place as the chequered flag came out, backing up the third placing he'd achieved in race one.

The third and final MX1 race of the day was another disaster for the popular Scot as he was caught in a turn-one skirmish and started the race last. Again he put on a charge and again he finished fourth.

Although it was not the sort of afternoon he'd wanted, MacKenzie had still done enough with his Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team YZ450F to once again finish the day on the podium.

It also meant the former Grand Prix motocross winner had done sufficient to remain in the runner-up spot for MX1 class honours in this domestic Kiwi series, with Cooper still holding the advantage, and MacKenzie is certainly not ready yet to accept defeat.

"The bike is perfect, right how I want it, so I feel bad I'm not further up the points standings. We have been going in circles really, fiddling around as we tried to get it set up, but now we think that stock standard is actually best. It was perfect straight out of the box actually.

"It has a completely stock motor and we've found we didn't need to waste time and money trying to make it any better.

"I'm looking forward the (fourth and) final round at Taupo (in two weeks' time)."

Maybe there he can take his Altherm JCR Yamaha YZ450F and move up and take the No.1 spot before time runs out.

MacKenzie's team boss, fellow former GP star Josh Coppins, of Motueka, said he believed that the competition had really "stepped up" this season.

"I'm pleased, though, that we have three of our five riders finish the day on the podium. (Visiting Australian) Jay Wilson took his YZ250F to move into third overall in the MX2 class, while (Te Puke's) Logan Blackburn is still third overall in the 125cc class.

"Billy (MacKenzie) impressed when he showed his fighting qualities in the MX1 class and I feel it was an okay day all-around for the team."

The 2014 senior nationals wind up with the fourth and final round set for Taupo on March 22.

The Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing team is supported by Yamaha Motor New Zealand, CRC, Fox, Holland’s Collision Centre, Star Moving, GYTR, Yamalube, Pro Circuit, Alpinestars, Matrix, DID, NGK, Renthal, Pirelli, Etnies, Workshop Graphics, POD, Atlas, Motomuck, Uni, Giltrap Prestige, Hinson, Racetech Plastics, Vertex Pistons, SKF and Biketranz.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,
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