2013 marked Taylor Mackenzie’s second year the in fiercely competitive British Supersport championship and his first year with the Tyco Suzuki team. After a positive year on the GSX-R600, the youngster has re-signed with the team for 2014. We had a chat at Motorcycle Live about the 2013 season and the aims for next year.
When Taylor Mackenzie started racing motorcycles, it wasn’t really to anyone’s surprise. After a debut year in a very competitive British Supersport championship in 2012, Mackenzie signed for the Tyco Suzuki team for 2013, who won the championship in 2011, and made the switch to GSX-R600 machinery.
“When we started the season with Philip and the team, there was no pressure at the start of the year, we’d just see where we were after the first race and build steadily from there,” he explains. “I obviously wanted to finish on the rostrum by the end of the season, and bar some bad luck toward the end of the year, I think we could have had a podium.”
After just one season under his belt in supersport, Mackenzie was prepared for a year of progression and development, in terms of both getting the bike right for him, and also in his own technique and ability.
“It was a different bike to the one I rode the year before, so it did take a bit of time for me to adjust to it and get comfortable on it. Not only that I was still learning to ride a 600 properly. The biggest thing for me was the chassis; the chassis on the GSX-R600 is so much better than how I was riding at the time and it took a while for me to figure out how fast I could ride it.
“But once we figured that out, we started to improve further and weren’t too far away at all in the end. And I think if I can make another small step with my riding, we can be running right at the front next year.
“I think 2013 was a good year all in all, but as a racer and as a team you only want to win races, so it wasn’t the best from that point of view. But for me as a rider I think we worked really well as a team and it was a strong year overall, which hopefully we can continue in 2014.
“The biggest thing for me when it came to doing a deal for 2014 was the quality and professionalism of the team. It’s a really good team and I really enjoyed working with them this year. They’re a great bunch of guys and they’re also very good at what they do, and I’ve had a great experience of that in Supersport and seen that in Superbike.
“I get on really well with everyone, the mechanics, Hector and Philip, and for me there was no other option that I’d want to take for next season. We’ve learned a lot this year and really progressed, the Suzuki was working well and toward the end of the year we weren’t too far away from winning races. So hopefully we’ll carry that on and go a bit further next year.”
Away from the meet and greets with fans and posing for official team photographs, we tried to find out where the older of the two Mackenzie brothers is setting his sights for both the short and longer term.
“It’s hard really, in bike racing, to know what’s coming up, it’s so unpredictable. For a young rider, I think the British Superbike championship is a strong championship at the minute and it is definitely something that I’m looking to get into at some point. Hopefully I can get a quick run out on the GSX-R1000 superbike this year and get a feel for it, and we’ll see what happens in the future.
“But it’s funny how bike racing works, I had a go on a 1000 at the Suzuki track day at Silverstone this year and had another go on one at a track day in Bahrain of all places. Through a sponsor I ended up on a track day there and this guy let me have a go on his. He’d spent a bit of money on it and wanted me to ride it and see what it was like, which was good fun, really enjoyed it actually. So we’ll see!”