BSB: McAMS Yamaha sign Tim Neave following Tarran Mackenzie's departure

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Tim Neave will make his full-time Bennetts British Superbike Championship debut next season after taking the seat vacated by Tarran Mackenzie at McAMS Yamaha.

Neave spent the 2022 season onboard the team’s R1 Superstock bike, in Edwards 1902 branding, and secured Yamaha’s first victory in the National Superstock Championship in over a decade as he completed the double at the opening round at Silverstone.

A strong start to the year saw Neave hold a 19-point lead at the top of the championship, only to suffer a broken pelvis at the Knockhill Test. Neave missed two rounds as a result, recording one more podium before the end of his campaign to finish seventh overall.

“To get the call up to ride for McAMS Yamaha is a dream come true,” Neave said. “When I signed to ride for the team last year, in the back of my mind I was thinking if I could do a really good job on the Superstock bike and a seat became available, it would be the dream, but I didn’t think it would actually happen! Raceways are one of, if not the best teams in the paddock – they’ve certainly won more races than anyone else in recent years so I can’t think of a better team to step up into BSB with.

“I loved riding the R1 Superstock bike, it really suited me as a rider and from what Jason has told me, the Superbike has similar characteristics so I’m looking forward to getting out on it for the first time. BSB is one of the toughest classes in racing, but I’ll give it my everything to make sure this opportunity isn’t wasted on me.” 

Tim Neave and the McAMS Yamaha team celebrate victory at Silverstone in 2022

Neave made a one-off appearance in BSB with Buildbase Suzuki at Cadwell Park in 2021, scoring points in all three races despite no prior track time. The 27-year-old will get his first taste of the McAMS Yamaha R1 Superbike in a private test in Spain later this month.

Neave is the third rookie to be confirmed for 2023, following Cheshire Mouldings FS-3 Racing Kawasaki’s signing of Junior Superstock Champion Max Cook, and the arrival of British Supersport runner-up Bradley Perie at Lee Hardy Racing.

“When Tim joined the team to race the Superstock bike in 2022 we were all really impressed by him,” Team Owner, Steve Rodgers said. “Not only was he super quick straightaway, but his attitude and the way he went about things meant that he fit in to the team immediately. There’s no doubt had the Knockhill accident, which wasn’t his fault, not occurred, he’d have continued to fight for the Superstock title.

“When he was fit, he was super-fast on the R1 and the Superstock bike has a lot of similarities to the Superbike, including the fact that we couldn’t run any traction control on the stocker, so the jump isn’t as big as it is with some other manufacturers. There’s still a lot to learn, but we are confident he’ll pick it up and look forward to seeing what he can achieve.”

Tim Neave in action at Silverstone in the National Superstock Championship

Meanwhile, the signing brings an end to the team’s partnership with Mackenzie, which spanned six seasons, who is expected to be within the World Superbike Championship paddock in 2023.

Mackenzie first joined the team in the Supersport class in 2017, winning the first six races before agreeing a mid-season move to the Moto2 World Championship.

Mackenzie returned to team in 2018 for his debut in the Superbike class. He won 16 races in his five years with McAMS Yamaha in BSB, finishing on the podium 43 times. In 2021, with 10 victories and 19 podiums, Mackenzie won the BSB title with the team – 25 years after dad Niall Mackenzie won the first of his three crowns.

His 2022 campaign was hampered by multiple injuries, leaving Mackenzie unable to put a full season together. Still, he won three races and recorded nine podiums on his way to seventh overall – despite missing four rounds.

Tarran Mackenzie in action for McAMS Yamaha with the number one plate

“I’ve known and supported Tarran since the early stages of his career, so we are sad to see him move on for 2023 but wish him all the best in his next steps,” Rodgers said. “It’s been an incredible six years and we’re incredibly proud of what he has achieved as part of this team.

“It’s been a whirlwind few years with a lot of highs and some lows, but regardless of the situation, Tarran’s speed and sheer tenacity can never be questioned. He’s one of the most talented, fearless riders to have ridden in BSB in recent times, and it’s been a privileged to work with him for so long and we genuinely wish him every success in the future.

The arrival of Neave marks the first time that McAMS Yamaha have fielded a new rider line-up since 2019. Neave lines-up alongside Jason O’Halloran, who heads into his fifth season with the team.

The news also means that there will be two sets of brothers in BSB next year, with Tim joining Tom Neave in the premier class. Tom remains with Honda Racing UK and will be joined by Andrew Irwin, with his brother Glenn switching to PBM Ducati.