One of Great Britain’s best Grand Prix riders of the modern era, Billy Mackenzie, is contemplating a return to the UK after five years contesting the Australian MX Nationals.
The Scot is the only athlete from the UK to have posted MX2 and MX1 Grand Prix victories for his country and was the very first to win in the premier class – established in 2004 – with his 2007 triumph at the Grand Prix of Japan.
Mackenzie has been part of the competitive Australian national scene since electing to try a different path after the 2009 FIM Motocross World Championship and finished as runner-up in 2010 as well as third in 2011, 2013 and 2014; most recently with the Craig Dack Racing team.
In that time he battled injury problems with a broken wrist (that cost him the ’10 title) and ligament damage in 2012 but still has the speed and experience to make an impact as his victory in the final round of the ’14 series at Coolum, Queensland demonstrated.
“I feel like the adventure is coming to an end over here,” he admitted. “It is an amazing place to be and we’ve been really happy but professionally I feel that the risk-versus-rewards are out of sync.”
“At the beginning there were more positives than negatives to coming over to Australia and I have to say I’ve enjoyed the whole experience of living and competing in a different country. I’ve won races on different bikes and come close to championships but now is the time to look around back home. I have the experience of all those motos in Grand Prix, the British and now Australia and when I’ve got a good vibe about my racing with a team, bike and people around me then I know I can still make some special results.”
“We’ll see what happens. I’m not ‘done’ yet but I also feel that racing has to be about the right package for me at this stage in my career and I doubt I will find that in Australia any more. I’ll enjoy a few more months here. We have the house on the market now so the ball seems to be rolling,” he added.
Mackenzie made several Grand Prix wild-card appearances while a resident in Australia, most notably running at the front of his home round at Matterley Basin in 2011 until a collision over the massive quad jump with Estonian star Tanel Leok.
A rushed attempt at the 2013 Grand Prix of Italy was badly timed with his Australian off-season period. Originally from Edinburgh #211 won the 2007 and 2008 British Championships and tasted a remarkable streak of success at the Japanese circuit of Sugo, winning all three of the Grands Prix events there from 2005-2007; the first two years for Yamaha in MX2 and then with the factory Kawasaki in 2007.