When Billy Mackenzie first decided to travel over to Australia to compete in the Monster Energy MX Nationals back in 2010 it was massive news; everywhere that you looked there were various reports on his progress. It seems all of that “hype” has disintegrated now, in his fourth Australian Motocross season you would be hard pressed to find coverage on his performance. Maybe this is a result of the injury-riddled seasons that he has encountered in the last three years? However Billy is now starting to realise his potential, as he is in a position to fight for the title following the first two rounds. But it seems that no one over here has really noticed.
When Billy Mackenzie first decided to up the stakes and head over to the other side of the world, he was a GP star; hence why he was tipped to win by many as soon as he landed in Australia. However I think that most fans tend to underestimate the speed that riders like Jay Marmont and Todd Waters possess. Simply, I do think that Mackenzie did not do what he was expected to, in his first three years in Australia; especially considering that he was on a Monster Energy Kawasaki (one of the best bikes in the series). Although Billy enjoyed occasional success, he failed to pick up a title, which is what he was hired to do.
Maybe what Billy Mackenzie needed was a change of scenery? In the off-season the Scotsman made the switch to the CDR (Craig Dack Racing) Yamaha squad. Interestingly he is back on a Yamaha in Fox gear, which is the same manufacturer and gear sponsor that he started his career with; this may just be a bit of a mental advantage for him. Since the season started two weeks ago Billy has established himself as the second best rider in that MX1 class; he has jumped on the second step of the podium, more often than not. However, he will be looking to jump onto top of the box in the coming weeks.
Intriguingly, Billy Mackenzie was toying with the idea of returning to the UK this year; whilst he was negotiating a deal for the 2013 season, he was in contact with a handful of teams over here. Maybe this indicates that we may see him in the Maxxis British Championship before the end of his career? Although some would argue that he has lost some of his speed whilst contesting the Monster Energy MX Nationals series, the fact that the riders in that series have a lot of credibility behind them, does prove that it is actually a very competitive series. I would argue that there are a number of different things that we could learn from them, and apply to our domestic series.
Currently, Billy Mackenzie is sat nineteen points out of the series lead after two of the ten rounds; it may seem like a large gap already, however there are a couple of opportunities to make up points in this series. For instance points are awarded in the Super Pole (that runs on the morning of the race). In fact, it was that race that influenced the overall result form Murray Bridge. Billy Mackenzie would have been in a position to win the overall with a pair of second places, if Todd Waters hadn’t of won the Super Pole earlier that day.
Along with his second overall at round two, Billy Mackenzie occupied the second step at round one, also. Therefore he is clearly deserving of second in the series standings; but he will need to find a bit of extra speed in the next few rounds if he is going to challenge Todd Waters (the points leader). At this point Billy Mackenzie seems to be competitive though.
Words by Lewis Phillips
Image courtesy of Sport the Library/Jeff Crow