BSB Brands Finale: Mackenzie clinches BSB Championship with final corner move

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Picture: Impact Images

Tarran Mackenzie took a dramatic last lap, last corner victory in the first Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Brands Hatch on Sunday afternoon and with it the McAMS Yamaha rider became the 2021 BSB Champion.

Mackenzie had a race long battle with Tommy Bridewell with the Oxford Products Racing Ducati rider looking like he’d just done enough to win but he just missed out by 0.087s with Mackenzie’s team-mate Jason O’Halloran just over a second behind in third.

Mackenzie grabbed the holeshot from Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati) and Bridewell but it was the latter who led at the end of the opening lap by half a second with Mackenzie back to second and O’Halloran in a superb third after starting from the fourth row. Iddon was pushed back to fourth with Peter Hickman (FHO Racing BMW) and Andrew Irwin (Synetiq BMW) completing the top six.

Bridewell was setting a ferocious pace at the head of the field, just like he had done at Oulton Park, and his lead was up to 1.2s after two laps with Iddon dropping back to fifth after being overhauled by Irwin.

Next time around, Bridewell had increased his lead over Mackenzie to 1.6s with O’Halloran still in third and Iddon back up to fourth with Irwin now in fifth and Hickman sixth.

Mackenzie cut the gap to 1.2s on lap four with Iddon looking to get by O’Halloran but Dean Harrison and Bjorn Estment were out after a coming together at Hawthorn saw them crash out.

Back at the front and Mackenzie continued to eat into Bridewell’s lead, the margin down to 0.6s after the fifth lap with just 1.6s now covering the top four as Hickman moved back up to fifth.

Lap six saw Irwin and the FS-3 Racing duo of Rory Skinner and Lee Jackson crash at Druids and Iddon finally made a move stick on O’Halloran, the duo now having Hickman for company. However, the trio had dropped almost 1.5s adrift of the leading pair of Bridewell and Mackenzie.

Half race distance, lap ten of 20, and Bridewell continued to lead, the gap to Mackenzie now just 0.171s and it was clearly a two-horse race with Iddon in third now 2.3s in arrears. O’Halloran and Hickman were still close behind in fourth and fifth with Josh Brookes up to sixth but a further four seconds back.

Mackenzie took the lead for the first time at Paddock Hill Bend at the start of lap 12 and although Bridewell returned the compliment the following lap, he immediately ran wide and had to slot back into second.

As the race entered its final third, there was still little to choose between the two riders and this was clearly seen at Stirling’s when Mackenzie had a slide on the exit and Bridewell almost ran into the back of him as he tried to take avoiding action.

It cost the Ducati man time but on lap 15 he went back into the lead at the same corner with Iddon and O’Halloran having cut the gap slightly, Iddon now only 1.6s behind Mackenzie.

However, he ultimately ended up fourth as O’Halloran took over the final podium position with two laps to go but all eyes were at the front and with Bridewell having a slide at Paddock Hill Bend at the start of the final lap, Mackenzie was back in front.

Bridewell responded at Surtees to take the lead but Mackenzie wasn’t done and took a tight inside line at Clearways – with just enough room, he slipped up the inside of Bridewell and took the win by 0.087s and with it the 2021 BSB title.

O’Halloran took third with Iddon fourth, Hickman fifth and Brookes in sixth after a good battle with Danny Buchan. Gino Rea, Glenn Irwin and Kyle Ryde completed the top ten.

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Picture: Impact Images
Picture: Impact Images