Read the full interview with Taylor Mackenzie here

2016 Pirelli National Superstock 1000 champion Taylor Mackenzie says he almost gave up racing entirely after a disastrous rookie year in BSB a year earlier but is now plotting an almighty return in 2017.

Son of three-time BSB champion Niall Mackenzie, the Scottish clan's reputation has grown into a hugely successful sporting family after Taylor claimed the National Superstock 1000 crown while his younger brother Tarran also secured the British Supersport title in 2016 to provide double delight.

The older Mackenzie brother is now gearing up for the 2017 MCE British Superbike championship on board a factory-supported Bennetts Suzuki alongside new team-mate and former world champion Sylvain Guintoli.

Having been on the ultimate high for the past 12 months and an exciting and ultra-competitive set-up for the new season, it is surprising to find out how close Mackenzie came to packing it all in at the end of 2015.

"We got to the middle of 2015 and it was a never-ending cycle of bad results and things going wrong," Mackenzie reflected on his ill-fated rookie BSB campaign with Team WD-40 Kawasaki. "I've always put my absolute heart and soul into what I do because it's all we do in my family so I took that quite hard.

"At the time my brother was doing well and you can't help comparing yourself. I've always though I could ride a bike alright and couldn't understand why it was going so well for him and so badly for me. The flip side of course was the feeling that if he could do it then I could as well but the contrast just got too great.

"There came a point after I'd been set on fire at Snetterton that I started to wonder why I was doing it, why I was putting myself through so much heartache. I wasn't taking any money out of it and if I put the amount of heart and soul that I was putting into racing into another job I'd certainly be getting something.

"It got to Knockhill and I'd had further problems there so we sat down in the caravan together and I was in floods of tears. At that stage dad just asked me if I wanted to stop because he couldn't stand seeing me like that. I remember the moment though because my brain just wouldn't let me say 'yes'."

Mackenzie says the support from his family helped him pull through but he hated seeing how it was hurting his father, mother and brother. A step back to the Superstock 1000 series was galvanising as he went on to clinch the title in his maiden year.

"It was horrible for my family seeing me like that but I couldn't say no so I did what I could for the rest of the season. It was all about not giving up. At the end of the year my best result was 16th and that put my back up against the wall.

"That year kind of crushed a lot of confidence out of me and I became a bit paranoid about things going wrong.

"At the end of that year me and dad sat down and decided that the best thing to do would be to try and get a stock 1000 bike for the next season where the playing field is really level and if that didn't work out I'd go and do something else."

Read the full interview with Taylor Mackenzie here


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment