WSB: McAMS Yamaha confirm Tarran Mackenzie wildcard at Donington Park

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Tarran Mackenzie will make his long-awaited World Superbike Championship debut as a wildcard entrant at Donington Park.

The reigning Bennetts British Superbike champion was due to make his debut at Assen in April but was forced to cancel when he broke his ankle in a pre-season crash at the Silverstone test. That injury also ruled Mackenzie out of the opening two rounds of the BSB season.

Mackenzie will ride a WSB-spec factory Yamaha R1, meaning that the 26-year-old we need to adjust to the Magneti Marelli electronics and WSB spec engine. Despite this, the overall difference between the WSB and BSB Yamaha R1 is minimal.

“I am very excited to finally make my debut in the Superbike World Championship at Donington,” Mackenzie said. “It feels like it’s been a long time coming and I was obviously disappointed when we couldn’t do Assen.

Tarran Mackenzie will line-up on the WSB grid for the first time

“Donington is a special track for me as it’s only 10 minutes down the road from home, I’ve had some great success there in BSB so I am looking forward to getting out on a World Superbike-spec R1 and seeing what both myself and the McAMS Yamaha team can achieve. Obviously, there is a lot to learn with the engine and electronics, but I know the chassis well as my BSB bike is very similar.

“The level in World Championship is really high and I’m looking forward to getting out on track and giving it our all. I have to say a huge thanks to Steve and the McAMS Yamaha team, as well as Andrea and everyone at Yamaha Racing for making this possible.”

Mackenzie was hopeful of moving into the world championship this season after a stunning title winning BSB campaign in 2021. The Yamaha rider won 10 races and secured a total of 19 podiums on his way to the crown.

However, with no rider changes within the WSB Yamaha setup, or a factory option elsewhere, Mackenzie opted to stay in the UK. Since returning from injury, Mackenzie has recorded a best result of sixth.

It'll be McAMS Yamaha's first foray into the World Superbike Championship

The wildcard appearance will also be the first for McAMS Yamaha in its current guise. The team behind the BSB squad, Raceways Motorcycles, made several wildcard appearances in the World Supersport Championship in the 2000s/2010s.

“We are looking forward to taking the McAMS Yamaha team to the world stage in our first Superbike wildcard appearance at Donington next month,” Team Principal, Steve Rodgers said. “Raceways have supported Tarran since his very early days of racing and we’ve seen him rise through the ranks, to the point where he won us the British Superbike Championship in 2021.

“His dream is to continue his progression, so we are delighted to be able to give him the opportunity to make his World Superbike debut as a reward for winning the championship last year.

“Obviously the plan was to do Assen before Donington, but unfortunately Tarran was injured and couldn’t ride so we are very much jumping in at the deep end this weekend, but our bikes are already very close to world championship specification.

“The engine and electronics will be different and the whole team will have to work hard to get used to those in a short space of time, but we have some very talented people on board including people who have recently worked in World Superbikes. There is no pressure or expectation from our side, we’ll just go and see what we can do!”

The Donington round of the 2022 WSB season takes place on July 15-17.

Josh Close

By Josh Close

Sports Reporter and fan of all things motorsport.