There were plenty of ups and downs in 2013 for Lexelle-sponsored Taylor Mackenzie but with a full season at Tyco Suzuki under his belt, there’s no reason why he can’t challenge for honours this year.
That’s the opinion of a man who knows a thing or two about British Superbikes – and the rider in question.
Niall Mackenzie, who won the BSB Championship three times, is delighted his son Taylor, 20, has signed for a second term with Tyco Suzuki and insists there were plenty of positive signs in his debut season.
“He was taken on as a junior rider to get some experience which was great for him,” Niall said.
“The idea was to make progress, learn how to ride the bike, get to know the team and make it back in one piece.
“But he really upped his game in the second half of the season and was up with the top six or seven, putting in some really fast lap times.
“This year the bike is going to be better, there’s been a few improvements so his job now will be to fight for rostrums.”
Last year Taylor finished in 10th place overall on the GSX-R600 in the British Supersport class. His best finish was fifth place at Donington Park and he also posted a strong sixth place at Snetterton.
But Niall claims the expectations will be higher this time around.
He added: “The Suzuki has always been a really good handling bike that a rider can ride hard on and is consistent.
“This is the first time he’s gone into a second year with the same team. It can take a while to bond with everyone. But he showed in the second half of last season he had developed a really good working relationship.
“He didn’t want to go any where else, the team really wanted him. There was a mutual desire for him to stay.
“At the end of the day, the team wants results. It’s his second year, he knows the team, he knows the bike and both parties know what to expect from each other.
“As a junior rider, they really just needed to give him a bike and let him ride it. But he was up with the top five or six in the speed traps in the second half of last season so the expectations now are a bit higher.”
Taylor has been enjoying some downtime during the winter break but it’s not long before testing and practice begins ahead of the curtain raising meet at Brands Hatch in April.
Niall said: “He trains really hard and takes the physical fitness and diet side of things very seriously. In the off-season he still gets a fair amount of riding done and does some off-road riding for fun.
“The biggest thing is that Taylor starts the season confident. The psychological side of any sport is massive. The fact he will start the year with the same people and on the same bike will help.
“He has set himself targets. He wants to win at least one race but podiums are his goal. If you get podiums each week you can rack up the points and if that happens there’s no reason why he can’t fight for the title.”
Tyco Suzuki team manager Philip Neill added: “We are delighted to be working with Taylor and the Mackenzie family once again in 2014.
“He’s a young man with a lot of potential and fitted in seamlessly within the Tyco Suzuki set-up this season. He now has a year under his belt on GSX-R600 machinery and proved at Brands Hatch that he has all the ingredients to run at the front in 2014.”