Tarran Mackenzie is the reigning British Superbikes Champion but the sport he loves and the riders who compete in it receive limited exposure in the media despite the fact some 25,000 spectators attended the second round of the 2022 competition at Oulton Park in Cheshire at the weekend.
Tarran comes from a family steeped in the sport. His dad Niall was a three-time British Superbikes Champion, and his elder brother Taylor is the team manager for Vision Track Honda Moto 3 which is a new team in Moto 3. Spookily I share the same birthday with Taylor.
Tarran first got on a motorised bike when he was just three years old. At 26, he now proudly races as Number One in the Yamaha Team.
I was at Oulton Park on 1st May to catch up with Tarran and Niall. It was fascinating meeting up in the spacious Yamaha hospitality centre which is hugely impressive for a temporary facility constructed in two days.
Making our way from there to the pit lane area demonstrated to me just how popular Tarran is. Every few yards he was stopped for a selfie, or an autograph and he greeted every fan with a smile and a chat which showed what a classy individual he is. Other sports take note!
Once we made it to the pit lane there was an incredible buzz about the place and the number of laptops and stats being run through them was daunting. The bike that Tarran rides seemed quite complex to me, but I learnt a lot about the importance of keeping the tyres at a certain temperature, the weighting of the bike, the various power controls and the crucial need to follow racing lines.
Tarran is probably the lightest rider in the Superbikes and 2022 has not been kind to him so far. During practice in Spain in he dislocated his shoulder and broke an ankle and then once recovered he then returned to practice in the UK and broke the other ankle. He was desperate to race at the weekend and could probably have raced on adrenaline alone, but the medical team put paid to his participation, and he will not race again until the next event at Donington Park.
Because he couldn’t race Eurosport wasted no time in getting him on their programme. His engaging personality makes him a natural TV pundit and he doesn’t disappoint.
Having missed the first two rounds of this year’s competition, he has some catching up to do but you only need to spend a short time in his company to know he is a committed and driven competitor. I for one wouldn’t bet against a follow up success later this year.
Last year he got a lovely congratulatory message from Nicola Sturgeon and as a big Leicester City fan and living in Leicestershire maybe this year Boris Johnson could join in and perhaps even the BBC could cast an eye on his achievements when they send out the invites for the 2022 Sports Personality of the Year. After all, all our British champions deserve recognition in an event that celebrates sporting achievement.
You can follow Tarran Mackenzie on Instagram @TarranMac95