Monday Conversation I: British MX1 National Champion Billy Mackenzie

September 22, 2008 5:00am | by:
Billy Mackenzie has successfully defended his MX1 British National Championship on the eve of the final race of his MX season – the Motocross of Nations. After winning the first moto going away, and clinching the title, at the season-finale Hawkstone Park event, Mackenzie actually came out in the second race on a 2001 CR500R and was running fourth when he pulled off with serious vibration issues. Still, it gave the fans something to talk about, and going into next weekend’s MXdN, Mackenzie, Tommy Searle and Shaun Simpson have to be looking like contenders.

Racer X: You seem to have the MX1 class here in England pretty well handled the last couple of years, so what’s the next step for you?
Billy Mackenzie: The next step is definitely the World Championship. I’ve had a few good results this year, but I’ve been a little bit inconsistent and had a few mistakes. I had three injuries this year, which hasn’t been good, and I’ve tried to ride through them, so... I don’t know. I’ve changed my program for next year and I’ve been working a lot with Tommy Searle’s trainer and I’ve been working a lot with Tommy, and I think that’s going to be the next step for me. I’ve been doing it all by myself for a few years now, but now I’m going to be back with a trainer, and the Honda is going to be great, and I’m staying with a team I’m familiar with, so I think that’s kind of the next step.

{QUOTE}But you’re still going to ride this series again next year, right?
I think so. I think Honda UK still wants us to do it, and it’s good practice for me and gets me loosened up for the GPs. It gives us a little bit of race-testing time as well, so I’m happy. I enjoy the tracks and the fans are always great, and it’s nice just to win a championship.

I asked Shaun Simpson the same question, but what’s the story with the Scotsmen beating the Englishmen in their own title chase?

I think we’ve just got big hearts. We know how to dig deep. It’s always been a Scottish saying that it’s in the Scottish blood, and we’re very patriotic. We want to win bad. I don’t know what it’s like to be English, obviously, but I just know that when we want to dig deep, we can dig deep. I don’t know. I just want it more. It’s the Scottish thing that when you hear your National Anthem and you’re around a bunch of Scots, you get really patriotic, just like you guys in the USA, where the English class themselves British and English. I’m not sure how that works. I get along with everyone and I live in England, so I love that place, too, but I love being Scottish and it’s nice to have two Scots winning championships. It’s brilliant.

With the Motocross des Nations coming up, obviously you’re going to have a lot of hometown folks behind you again, what does that do for you emotionally and otherwise?
I think this des Nations is going to be hardcore. I know a lot of boys are coming down with big Scottish flags, and British flags, and they’ll be everywhere, and we’re having T-shirts being made... It’s going to be insane. I’m going to have to find a place to have some downtime in between races because I’m just going to be mobbed the whole race. But I love that. The fans come out to see it and I want to give it to them, so it’s going to be insane, and I just can’t wait for us to get out and get a couple of hard motos in and do our best.

You’ve got to be one of the favorites, too. Looking at the teams, it looks to me like the USA, Australia and the UK are going to be the ones fighting it out up front.
I thought the same thing. I looked at the teams and that’s what I thought as well. I really think we can pull off a podium, and maybe if you guys have a bit of bad luck, maybe better. We’re going to go for it, and I’m sure the boys will rise to the occasion. We always do. Obviously, with it being in the UK on the mainland, we’re going to go for it. We’re going to give it some big licks.