Express & Star

Mackenzie resigns for Bathams Racing as new season nears

Bathams Racing will be boasting one of the strongest line-ups in the National Superstock 1000 paddock after Taylor Mackenzie resigned for the team.

Last updated

Michael Rutter, team boss of the Black Country-based team, said to have Mackenzie back was a real a scoop during what had been a challenge year for both the riders and title sponsors, Bathams Ales.

Mackenzie will also join two-time National Superstock 1000 champion Richard Cooper, who is still recovering from a horror leg break last year, in the Bathams garage.

It means Mackenzie will be spearheading BMW’s official entry in the superstock championship as Cooper has decided to miss the start of the campaign to focus on getting back to full fitness.

Mackenzie himself finished runner up in the 2019 superstock championship on the Bathams Prize Winning Ales sponsored BMW S1000RR, taking four victories and nine podiums during the season.

He stepped up into the full British Superbike (BSB) series last year before agreeing to resign with Bathams Racing to push for his elusive first national superstock title.

Meanwhile, Cooper is continuing to recover from the injuries he sustained last season and will not race until further progress has been made with his rehabilitation.

But he remains part of the team and will be actively supporting Mackenzie at race meetings and testing sessions.

Rutter, from Brierley Hill, will also be back out on the track, in what will be his 32nd year of racing, taking part in selected events.

The Isle of Man TT and North West 200, in Northern Ireland, have both been cancelled for the second-straight year due to Covid but an announcement is still be made on the 2021 Classic TT, which is raced during the August Bank Holiday weekend, as well as the Macau GP, which is held in November.

Rutter, 48, said: “It’s safe to say that 2020 didn’t work out how we hoped for lots of reasons but I must say straight away it’s all down to our sponsors for sticking with us we’re able to not only go racing in 2021, but to do so with such a strong rider line up, and with support from BMW.

"In particular, our title sponsor Bathams Ales, whose pubs have been closed for the best part of a year, deserve a special mention.

"It is true the cancellation of the TT and North West200 last year and this year has saved us a lot of money, but it is also true 2020 wasn’t a great time to be a brewery. Their passion for the sport is remarkable.

"Having Taylor back in the team is a real scoop for us and Richard's commitment to helping the team succeed has blown me away.

"However, like everyone else, I’m looking forward to seeing him back on one of our bikes on track.

"As for me, I’ll be supporting Taylor by entering selected races to lead the development of the new BMW M1000RR, and the plan is to race at Macau at the end of the year."

Mackenzie said that after last year, when he struggled in the main BSB series, he was not sure if he would get a ride for 2021.

"To be back at Bathams Racing, where I know I will be able to fight for victories, is fantastic," he said.

"I got my leg injury sorted during the winter and I know with the help of Dan Linfoot the guys at Bathams Racing got the BMW S1000RR flying by the end of last season.

"I know it sounds obvious but I really can’t wait to get back on the bike and start enjoying my racing again. Testing can’t come quick enough.”

Cooper said missing the start of the season to focus on his rehabilitation had been made easier by the support he had been shown from the team.

“It would be easy to say deciding not to start the season was a difficult decision, but the truth is, it wasn’t," he said.

"My leg is recovering nicely but I’ve been around long enough to know it isn’t 100 per cent right, and to race at the front at this level you’ve got to be in peak physical condition.

"The decision to skip the start of the season was also made easier by Michael Rutter and Matt Batham being so supportive and happy to let me take as much time as I need, so a big thanks to them.

"Even though my bike won’t be at the first few meetings, it will still be good to be trackside with the team."

Scott Grimsdall, of BMW Motorrad UK, added: “Bathams Racing is an ambitious team and we’re very pleased to support them again in the National Superstock 1000 Championship.

"Both Taylor and Richard have great pedigree in this class, and together they represent one of the strongest rider line-ups on the grid.

"We’re looking forward to the 2021 season start and seeing the team challenge for victories on board the new BMW 1000RR.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.