Flying Scotsman conquers Hervey Bay
SOME say qualifying isn't worth the trouble.
Billy Mackenzie totally disagrees.
You see, the 29-year-old Yamaha rider took out Round 7 of the MX Nationals at Hervey Bay's Dundowran Park on Sunday after benefiting from his SuperPole victory.
The flying Scotsman finished both 30-minute motos third, but climbed onto the top of the podium courtesy of the five points he earned for qualifying fastest.
Delighted to have captured his first round win in two years - and his first aboard the factory-backed YZ450F - Mackenzie said his quick qualifying speed was no fluke.
"Before this round I made a point of practicing some qualifying laps mid-week, but I have always had a knack for qualifying coming from the GP circuit," the two-time British champion said.
"I finally just had an easy run of it and my bike was working really nicely from lap one.
"I just concentrated on choosing some intelligent lines and trying to ride smoothly to conserve energy as the track was getting very rough and technical."
Mackenzie, who hails from Byron Bay, spent all day at the front of the pack leading several laps on the gruelling Dundowran Park circuit.
After an injury-riddled 2012 season, Mackenzie felt he put his best foot forward in the sands of Hervey Bay, describing the overall victory as a relief.
"I had a terrible year in 2012 with a team that I felt wasn't quite supporting me properly, and it took a bit of time to build confidence and get over my injury," he said.
Thousands of people poured into the new and improved Dundowran Park to see Mackenzie prevail ahead of Moss twins Matt and Jake.
Improvements to the venue were met with praise from riders, teams and fans, prompting series organisers to begin negotiations to extend the contract for another three years.
Mackenzie, who remains in third place in the premier MX1 championship, said he would be keen to return and defend his title next year.
"Absolutely, it is a great track in a beautiful location and is always fun to visit and race," he said.
Of the local riders, Maryborough's Ben Cook and Takura's Rick Horninge rode well to finish 18th and 19th respectively in the MX2 Pro Lites event. In the MXD Under-19 class, Maryborough's Kyle Chay came 18th, while Hervey Bay's Chris Odorico was only able to take part in the first moto.