Motocross

Crash mars otherwise successful GP return for Billy Mackenzie

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Monster Energy Kawasaki's Billy Mackenzie made a spectacular return to World GP racing in more ways than he would have liked in the MX1 class at Matterley Basin in Winchester, Britain last weekend.

A heavy crash in the second moto ended Billy's day but not before he had shown his true colours in the first moto, running inside the top three for almost half the race before crossing the line in 7th place.

Mackenzie, who is riding under the LPE Kawasaki tent whilst back home, got his UK racing campaign off to a good start with a podium finish at the Duns, Scotland round of the British MX Championship the previous weekend. With a strong bike set-up for his KX450F, Mackenzie headed to the British GP optimistic of a good result.

Mackenzie got off to a great start in the first moto at Matterley basin, quickly finding 3rd place and holding his ground behind Steven Frossard and fellow Kawasaki rider Christophe Pourcel. Mackenzie rode in 3rd place until being passed by Series leader Antonio Cairoli on the 8th lap. Mackenzie, perhaps slightly unconditioned to the long race formats rode extremely well to finish the moto in 7th place.

Mackenzie was happy with his result in the first moto saying, "I was really pleased with my result but also a little disappointed. The speed I was running at the beginning while in 3rd place felt very comfortable. I didn't feel as though I was pushing my limits. I felt like I belonged there. I just wanted to ride my own race and be sensible, concentrate on my lines and bring home a solid result as it was my first GP race in 2 years. In hindsight I wish I had maybe pushed harder and tried for a top 3 result but I think I proved I can still be a front GP runner and with a little extra race time I can be a consistent top 6 finisher."

An average start in the second moto saw Mackenzie round the first turn at the tail end of the pack. Encouraged by his quick pace in the first moto, he set about to making up as many places as he could and rode his way to 8th place by the 10 minute mark of the race. Then it all came undone when he crashed hard with Tanel Leok, knocking himself out for 7 minutes and causing a restart to the race, a re-start that of course would not include Mackenzie.

Mackenzie explains in his own words, "The crash was very unfortunate. I felt I was riding awesome. I had passed Leok and was working on 7th place. Leok snuck round the inside of me before the quadruple up the hill. It was an easy jump to clear and on the run up I fully expected Tanel would clear it.

"I think he must have decided at the last second to jump the triple and I had already committed to the quad. I was in the air when I realised Tanel had tripled, and I was just hoping he would have sprinted out from under me as I was coming down to land. He over jumped the triple a little which killed his speed it seems and I landed right on the rear of his bike.

"We both went down hard and I hit my head and was knocked unconscious. I had no other injuries which was incredibly lucky, not even a scratch on me apart from a black eye. I hope Tanel is ok. I feel it was just one of those racing incidents. Looking back on the tape there was not much either of us could have done. I don't like to hesitate on the track, so once I had committed I couldn't pull out."

"The bike was awesome. We had to make a few minor changes to the ECU due to the climate, but together with the help from Monster Energy Kawasaki, the LPE Kawasaki team and my old mechanic Paul Teasdale, we had the bike working fantastic by the time the race rolled around. Thanks to everyone who made that race possible, my crew, Monster Energy Kawasaki for supporting my efforts, Steve James and the LPE Kawasaki team for providing such a great relaxed setup at the track, Steve Guttridge for micro managing everything and my family and friends."

Billy Mackenzie now enjoys some well deserved time off with family and friends in the UK before returning to Australia to contest the 2011 Monster Energy SuperX Championship.

Main Photo: Billy Mackenzie in his MX GP return
VIDEO: Billy Mackenzie and Tanel Leok crashed hard, causing a red flag in MX1 race 2


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