‘I RE­MIND THEM HOW FAST I WAS’

AT HOME WITH THE MACKENZIES

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Front Page - By Oli Rushby BRI­TISH SU­PER­BIKE RE­PORTER

Twenty years ago, at the age of 35, for­mer 500cc GP racer Niall Macken­zie stormed to his first of three Bri­tish Su­per­bike ti­tles. Now, two decades on, the Macken­zie name is once again pop­ping the cham­pagne on the Bri­tish cham­pi­onship podium.

Niall might have re­tired from rac­ing 16 years ago, but a race week­end has never been busier for the 55-year-old with both of his sons now com­pet­ing at the top of their game.

Tar­ran (21) and Tay­lor (23) took the pad­dock by storm this year as they each be­came cham­pi­ons in their re­spec­tive classes when, it’s fair to say, no­body was ex­pect­ing it.

Tay­lor has com­peted in 125GPS, Bri­tish Su­pers­port and Bri­tish Su­per­bikes, but with lim­ited suc­cess. This year, he dom­i­nated the Su­pers­tock 1000 class, beat­ing road rac­ing star Ian Hutchin­son to the ti­tle.

While Tar­ran’s ca­reer has been shorter, it has been more suc­cess­ful, with the younger Macken­zie hav­ing fought in the Bri­tish Mo­to­star and Su­pers­tock 600 classes. How­ever, to take vic­tory in his rookie Bri­tish Su­pers­port sea­son was noth­ing short of re­mark­able.

We sat down with the Mackenzies at their Der­byshire home to delve into just what makes the three of them so quick. So, you’ve both won na­tional cham­pi­onships this year. Is be­ing fast on a mo­tor­cy­cle a ge­netic trait? Tay­lor: I think it has to be. There are def­i­nitely dif­fer­ent parts of dad in both of us. I mean, Taz has a ter­ri­ble rid­ing style, he looks just like dad on a bike! Tar­ran: Yeah, peo­ple will al­ways say, ‘You look so much like your dad on the bike’ and I’ll re­spond with, ‘Yeah, it’s not a f**king good thing, he’s got a crap rid­ing style!’ Jok­ing aside, though, there’s def­i­nitely some­thing passed on. Niall: I’m not so sure about ge­net­ics. Mcwil­liams’ lads aren’t both­ered about rac­ing and Neil Hodg­son is al­ways say­ing how his lit­tle boy hasn’t got any in­ter­est in the sport. My kids grew up in the pad­dock, they were in the mo­torhome when I was rac­ing so they know how it works. Tar­ran: We didn’t start un­til quite late. Bike rac­ing was just an­other hobby to us. Niall: I re­mem­ber Scott Red­ding win­ning the Bri­tish GP on a 125. I Googled him and he’d been rac­ing 10 years! I

‘If they didn’t push them­selves I’d say they shouldn’t be go­ing rac­ing’ NIALL MACKEN­ZIE

thought we may as well not bother with these boys! But we kind of did our own lit­tle thing; they were still young when we started and they did all right.

Does your dad push you a lot? Niall: They push them­selves. If they didn’t, I’d have a quiet word, but if they weren’t push­ing them­selves I’d say we shouldn’t be do­ing this. Tar­ran: He used to tell us that Ron Haslam would make Leon clean his leathers and pack the van to make sure he was in­ter­ested enough to do it. He was never go­ing to force us into this. Tay­lor: You can’t not be self-mo­ti­vated in this game. If you need some­one to tell you to do it, it’s not go­ing to hap­pen. Tar­ran: I think that’s why we get on so well, be­cause dad doesn’t push us. Niall: Tay­lor had a shit sea­son last year, but one morn­ing I looked out the front at 7am and saw some­one run­ning past, and re­alised it was him. Things like that show me how ded­i­cated they are. I don’t need to push them any harder.

You’re all quite com­pet­i­tive, though, right? Who is the most com­pet­i­tive? Tay­lor: Me. Tar­ran: No I am! Tay­lor: We’re both pretty com­pet­i­tive re­ally; it’s dad’s fault! He used to race us at ev­ery­thing as kids, that’s how he’d make us do any­thing. He’d time us to get a bis­cuit from the kitchen or tidy our bed­rooms. Niall: Oddly, they’re not that com­peti- tive with each other, just their ri­vals. Tay­lor: The Lowes twins are ul­tra­com­pet­i­tive with each other, they don’t like get­ting beaten at any­thing. But for me, I just don’t like get­ting beaten at the things that mat­ter. Niall: Foggy was like that. He’d be proper mad if he was beaten at pool. I could def­i­nitely switch off from that. I didn’t need to win those things. But any­thing I thought I should be good at, whether it was kart­ing or rid­ing bikes, then I’d be up­set if I wasn’t on top.

Is there any pres­sure on you boys be­cause you’re Niall Macken­zie’s sons? Taz: We don’t even rate dad, we’ve seen him ride in the gar­den!

Tay­lor: Stupid thing is we don’t know the Niall Macken­zie who used to race. Old blokes come up drib­bling all over him and we’re like, ‘Er, that’s my dad…’ Niall: I do try to re­mind them how fast I was... Tar­ran: At the end of the day he’s like any­one else’s dad. You still take the mick and you’re still em­bar­rassed by what he does. If you’ve got a rac­ing fam­ily, that’s where it’s dif­fer­ent. He can point out what we’re do­ing right or wrong.

Do the three of you train to­gether? Tar­ran: Yeah, we’ve a track in the back gar­den. Dad likes to pre­tend he’s bet­ter than us. Tay­lor: To be fair, we’ve got much bet­ter at pass­ing peo­ple when rac­ing be­cause to pass dad out in the gar­den is the hard­est thing. He’s pretty wide! Niall: They train to­gether; I take part… Tar­ran: If we’re on hol­i­day and go on a run, dad will come with us. He thinks he’s not fit but he’s do­ing all right.

Who is the quick­est in the gar­den? Tay­lor: It gen­er­ally de­pends on the day, but def­i­nitely me! Tar­ran: Dad thinks he’s the man but he’s not al­ways. The thing is, we’re fear­less out there. Dad would rather sleep in his own bed than a hos­pi­tal bed. Tay­lor: We have had some se­ri­ous crashes in the gar­den. The week be­fore Assen in 2014, I crashed and Taz hit me flat-out in third gear and ran over my neck. He crashed, too. He reck­oned he’d bro­ken his neck, we were both laid there. Mum was do­ing the dishes and it all went quiet so she thought she had bet­ter come out and check we were OK. Tar­ran: We used to ride as hard as we could at each other and barge each other out of the way but we had to stop that. We got to Assen and Tay­lor pulled his leathers down and had these mas­sive bruises; dad was fu­ri­ous!

Who would win if you raced to­gether on track? Niall: It would de­pend on what class! Tar­ran: Yeah if I got on a su­per­bike and beat Tay­lor straight away there would be some­thing wrong. Niall: Luck­ily they’ve al­ways been two years apart and in dif­fer­ent classes in their ca­reers so it’s never hap­pened. Tay­lor: We rode 150s against each other in South Africa and I was faster than Taz on the same bike. But Taz is bet­ter at rid­ing pit bikes than me. Niall: That’s a size and shape thing. Tay­lor: I’ve got re­ally long legs which doesn’t help on smaller bikes. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to rac­ing each other but for now it’s bet­ter we don’t, as it’s bet­ter win­ning mul­ti­ple classes as Mackenzies!

What would you be do­ing if you weren’t rac­ing? Tay­lor: That’s why I didn’t give up rac­ing! I don’t know what else I’d do. Tar­ran: You used to de­sign race suits... Tay­lor: Yeah, I do like de­sign­ing stuff. I de­signed all the Build­base bikes, hel­mets and leathers this year, so I’d prob­a­bly do some­thing like that. Tar­ran: I don’t know what I’d do. Some­thing sporty I guess... Tay­lor: Taz doesn’t do real work. He’s not quite grasped that con­cept yet. Tar­ran: I had a job be­fore and I hated it, but I got up ev­ery morn­ing and did it. Niall: It was a means to an end - to go rac­ing. You knew you had to do it or you couldn’t race. He did a year at col­lege, then a year at a builders’ mer­chant, so he un­der­stands the con­cept of work. Tay­lor: I did my A-lev­els, I was quite bright at school! Tar­ran: He’s more aca­demic than me. Tay­lor: I got 6 A*s and As at my GCSES, I was a right nerd. I started rac­ing GPS when I was do­ing my A-lev­els; my at­ten­dance was 32%. I was go­ing to go to univer­sity but I de­cided I was only go­ing to get one shot at bike rac­ing and I could go to uni at any time, so I packed it all in. But I’m quite ob­sessed with earn­ing money now – it must be a Scottish thing...

‘Pass­ing dad in the gar­den is good prac­tice as he is so wide!’ TAY­LOR MACKEN­ZIE

Our man asks: “So, who’s re­ally the quick­est?”

TAY­LOR MACKEN­ZIE Niall’s el­dest son blitzed this year’s Br­tish Su­pers­tock 1000 se­ries.

Tay­lor and Taz show no mercy on their gar­den track. Niall (be­hind) is a bit more care­ful The el­der Macken­zie was a BSB podium sea­son ticket-holder in the 1990s Niall’s first ti­tle was won 20 years ago

TAR­RAN MACKEN­ZIE 21-year-old ‘ Taz’ had a golden year in 2016, tak­ing the Bri­tish Su­pers­port ti­tle.

Tay­lor was peer­less in the Su­pers­tock 1000 class of 2016 Two gen­er­a­tions of Mackenzies take to the fam­ily home’s back gar­den track. What could pos­si­bly go wrong? “So, dad, at your age, can you still get it up...?” That’ll be a “no,” then...

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