|Mackenzie Taylor drove into the history books after taking a superbly judged victory in the opening round of the Winter Series at PFi (4 November).|
Competing in the KF3 class – which attracted a large grid and produced some great racing – Mackenzie’s day didn’t quite start according to plan. A mistake at the start of his first heat cost him dear and he could only finish in 17th place -“It was a schoolboy error” says his team boss, Ricky Flynn: “He wasn’t thinking and we pointed that out quite firmly to him. After that, he didn’t make any more mistakes” he smiles.
Indeed, in the next heat, Mackenzie put in a stellar drive to go from 26th to 4th at the flag. Once the points had been added up, Mackenzie found himself in a respectable 12th place on the grid for the final.
With the track bathed in pale gold sunlight, it was Taylor who shone from the start. Taking advantage of the confusion at the first bend, Mackenzie passed 7 karts to move into 5th place. But before the race could settle down, the ‘battenburg flag’ signaled that karts were stranded in dangerous positions on and off the track. The field slowed to a single file procession but ran nose to tail – and this played into the teenager’s hands. At the re-start, it was Mackenzie who was the most alert and he got the jump on his rivals, stealing into 2nd place.
He then pressured the leader (Rikki Gordon) into looking over his shoulder, and before long had capitalised on his psychological advantage - diving past the Irishman into the 2nd hairpin and snatching the lead. From there it was first place all the way to the chequered flag.
“Four races, two wins” reflects Ricky Flynn on Mackenzie’s fortunes since joining his team. “He’s going alright isn’t he? Mackenzie can lead a race quite well. He looked relaxed and in control. He wasn’t looking over his shoulder to see what the others were doing. He was consistent and didn’t make any mistakes. It was a very good performance.”
Mackenzie says: “I feel good. To be able to start the Winter Series with a win is great and to be the first person to win a KF3 race in England is really special.”
But having taken the early win and the championship lead, does Mackenzie feel under extra pressure? “No, the pressure’s the same. We go to every race to win. Each weekend, Rick is asking for a little bit more. Even if you slip up in testing, he’ll give you a talking to. But it’s not really pressure, just a level of expectation. Everyone in the team – my mechanic, Rick, me – we all want to win.” He adds: “I’d like to say a big ‘thankyou’ to Gordy (Finlayson at GFR) and Franco of TM who congratulated me on my win – my engines have been good all weekend and they both did a very good job. And thanks also to Ricky and Bryn, my mechanic.”
Mackenzie will contest the second round of the Winter Series at Shenington, Oxfordshire on 2 December - but says that winning the championship is not a priority, “We’re not in it (the Winter Series) to win it. It’d be nice but it’s not our main priority. We’ll miss the 4th round in favour of the Winter Cup.”