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WHAT A WEEKEND AT BRANDS HATCH!

TARRAN MACKENZIE RODE A PERFECT TRIO OF RACES AT BRANDS HATCH TO LIFT THE 2021 BENNETTS BRITISH SUPERBIKE CROWN

In the last article we said, “May the best man win”.


And he did!


What. A. Weekend! The first words in this week's round-up unsurprisingly go to McAMS Yamaha man Tarran Mackenzie after a dominant performance that sealed his first Bennetts British Superbike title last weekend at Brands Hatch, taking a hattrick of wins into the bargain. The only man to lay a carbon fibre-reinforced glove on the English Scotsman was Oxford Products Moto Rapido Ducati’s Tommy Bridewell, who, with three second-place finishes, took the runner-up spot in the Championship by four points from regular season dominator, Jason O’Halloran.


In the build-up to the weekend, four riders had a realistic chance to take the 2021 title as Mackenzie, Bridewell, Jason O’Halloran, and Christian Iddon all had their eyes on the prize… A surprise Pole Position came the way of Luke Mossey as the TAG Honda man jumped to the top of the timesheets as the seconds ticked down but with respect to the Hertfordshire man, he wouldn’t figure in the races if they stayed dry and stay dry it did. And a nice new watch for his efforts, though!


If any of the chasing rivals wanted to claim the title from Taz’s grasp then they absolutely had to beat him in the opening race of the weekend or risk leaving themselves needing snookers, which, after the performance he put in at the same circuit back in July, wasn’t going to be easy… Iddon and Bridewelll tried their best to hold the younger Mackenzie back but it was to no avail as once he hit the front, it was effectively game over for everyone bar any glimmer of hope that Sunday may bring. But it didn’t.


Any finish ahead of his rivals would see Mackenzie lift the championship in his third season with the McAMS team and he duly delivered despite a bum-clenching moment coming out of Surtees that could have had dire consequences for the champion-elect. It was a case of mental fortitude against sheer willpower and determination as Mackenzie and Bridwell battled toward the line once again. In a finish that was more than reminiscent of Hopper/Hill ten years ago (I know, I know…) Bridwell looked to have secured his first win of the weekend before an audacious pass from Mackenzie through Clark Curve saw him take the title with a win in front of a huge Brands Hatch crowd. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet, find it. It was one of the moves of the season!


What of the rest of the chasing bunch? After Taz, Tommy Bridewell was the next-best scorer in the showdown phase of the championship, and this is where the real story of the final three rounds is told. Taking the Showdown as a championship on its own (not counting Podium Credits in this) Taz – 161, TB – 142, Iddo – 115, JOH – 91 those points on their own show just how the tables turned in the most crucial part of the season… the O’Show with not a single win when he needed it the most. Even more galling for the Aussie is that if the season was regular, as last season, (yes, yes, ifs and buts and maybes) then he’d have still won by 41 points despite his capitulation in the final rounds. There is a good chance that it’s the biggest winning margin-ever that’s been lost to the Showdown. Not a record that would sit well with any rider.


Congratulations to Lee Jackson on lifting the Rider’s Cup, well deserved after a handful of DNFs that weren’t his fault and unfortunate for Brad Ray that he couldn’t quite capitalise on those misfortunes. Jacko out-pointed Irwin, Brookes, Buchan and Hicky in the final nine races and deserved his time on the podium. Again, just looking from a non-showdown perspective, the championship wouldn’t have looked too different, only Glenn Irwin would have been the one to miss out, as he would have finished tenth overall, just behind Brad Ray.


It’s all consigned to the history books now; 2021 is over and all eyes turn to 2022. Manufacturer changes will be the biggest stories of the winter as the Silly Season rumours appear to be just that, rumours… There could be more teams than ever retaining their rider line-up.


Final word goes to the biggest winner of the weekend... Yes, he's a rider but no, he wasn't riding. The last time he rode a motorcycle, he left Brands Hatch in a helicopter, his life in the balance. To see Brad Jones at the circuit over the weekend and to actually have a conversation with him was one of the most emotional things I've experienced. Brad's a great guy, a friend. And I couldn't be happier to see him there, smiling away.

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