DOUBLE MACX – Dave Bewley talks to Max Goff & Mackenzie Taylor

They come from different backgrounds, one with very firm Scottish roots and the other steeped in Northamptonshire tradition. They have different ambitions and each has his own distinctive driving style. They are teammates who have also been fierce rivals 1in at least one championship this season. As drivers they have at least one thing in common. Both have given maximum effort in pursuit of their goals as anyone who has followed the major championships will no doubt testify. Max Goff, a tall lad by Cadet standards, has earned a big reputation, especially in the WTP Little Green Man Championships which he dominated virtually from round 1onwards. Mackenzie Taylor is smaller in height and weight but the impact he made in Comer Cadet this year was positively huge. After winning the S1 title with a round to spare, he finished as runnerup to Sam Jenkins in Stars of Tomorrow and actually led the series for much of the year.

Mackenzie was born into a motor racing family. His father Rod was an accomplished motor cycle racer who finished as runner-up in the British Championships on three separate occasions. Douglas, his uncle, was also an accomplished star on two wheels, having won the Scottish ACU title no less than five times. Mackenzie is named after multiple motorcycling champion Niall McKenzie, a friend and former rival of Rod’s. “Niall christened his own son Taylor McKenzie after me, so I thought that I’d better return the compliment,” claims Rod. “Obviously I encouraged him on to two wheels at a very early age and he soon started competing in Motocross events but
then we met up with Ted Taylor who won the first ever Kart GP at Silverstone. Ted convinced us to buy a Comer powered Swiss Hutless and Mackenzie soon decided that four wheels were better than just two. He made his debut at Blackbushe almost four years ago and collected the prize for 1st novice. After that he had some good races at Rye House and actually finished his first season by taking 6th place in the 2002 WTP series, although competition back then wasn’t quite as severe as it is today.”

The following season, Mackenzie concentrated on WTP using an ex-Thomas Arme Zip chassis and repeated his 6th place in the championship. “It was still a good result for me,” he maintains. “That was the year when Jack Harvey became champion ahead of Jordon Lennox-Lamb and Jesse Smart. I had a bad accident in the opening round of last year’s competition at Fulbeck. It prevented me from racing for a good while and meant that I couldn’t win the championships or even finish in the top six. I decided to drop out of this competition and concentrated on Comers instead. Racing in WTP taught me a lot about competing up at the front and I found all this very useful when I moved into Stars and S1. Last year I missed a couple of Stars rounds and finished 26th, which wasn’t too good, but I was quite pleased to take 14th spot in S1. Twelve months after Mackenzie made his
karting debut, so Max Goff entered the sport. “We bought a Mari kart initially,” says Max, “but as soon as I came off my novice plates I switched to a Zip. I had some good results in the Comer class but it wasn’t until last year that things really started coming together. I finished 12th in the Stars of Tomorrow championships and 11th in S1 which wasn’t bad for a first attempt. Our plans were to just do Comers this year but Rory Campbell persuaded me that I’d have a good chance in the WTP Little Green Man series. Rory can be very persuasive but he kept his promises and I finished up winning the title. My teammate Ashley Bibby, finished as runner up so that says a lot about Rory’s set up. Doing all three championships has meant taking part in 19 rounds so, along with events like the ‘O’ Plate and TV Masters, it hasn’t left a lot of time for clubbies. Racing with Fusion and Rory’s Racecraft outfit has obviously made things a lot easier for us and without their support we couldn’t have managed.” As an interested onlooker at Little Green Man rounds this year, I spent most of my time secretly hoping that someone would beat Max. His domination of this competition, at least for the first five rounds, was such that it seemed as though no one else would get a look in. The opening round at Dunkeswell did produce a win for Ashley Bibby, but 2nd placed Max still managed to look every inch a potential champion. After that there seemed to be no stopping the Corby flyer as he won four consecutive rounds in convincing style. Only at Wigan did a slight chink appear in his armour as he finished 5th. However, this was achieved after setting off from 16th position and it seemed good enough to secure Max the championships. “We’d done the maths and left for home convinced that he’d scored sufficient points,” says Ian. “I got quite a shock when Mike Mills rang later in the week advising me that the bonus points were being awarded differently to how we’d all expected and that this now made it mathematically possible for Ashley to win. We turned up at P.F. and everything went wrong for us. Fortunately from our point of view, Ashley didn’t quite manage the maximum score he needed, but it was a closer call than we’d expected.”

Mackenzie took the Super 1 title and was second in the Stars of Tomorrow British Champs

Mackenzie’s assault on the S1 championship got off to a steady start at Three Sisters when he claimed 4th behind James Godbehere, Ashley Jones and Nicholas Cristofaro. Max Goff served notice of his intentions here by taking 5th. Mackenzie’s hopes were delivered a hammer blow during the next round at P.F. when he was excluded for a nonperformance enhancing technical offence after seemingly finishing 3rd. Spirits in the Fusion camp were no doubt lifted by a storming victory for Max. They went down to Clay Pigeon for round three with Max in buoyant mood and Mackenzie probably feeling a little subdued after appealing against his exclusion. Third place here kept Mackenzie’s championship hopes alive but this round had devastating consequences for Max who was excluded from one of his heats due to a broken choke pin. By the time round 4 at Larkhall came along, Mackenzie had won his appeal and was now actually leading the championships. He celebrated with a fine win and Max made it a great day for the Fusion team by taking 2nd place. The calculators were busy at Rowrah and it became clear that Mackenzie needed only a top ten finish to seal the title. In fact he finished a comfortable 4th with Max once again demonstrating his ability by winning this one very impressively. Mackenzie was equally prominent in the Stars of Tomorrow series that got under way at Rowrah where he finished 3rd. He was upstaged at Shenington by Max who scored a brilliant win from 16th on the grid. Fifth place at Wigan was followed by a fighting 3rd at Larkhall but equally significant was the total number of points he’d amassed in his heats. This made him the championship leader by five points when they went down to Llandow for a double header. Second and 4th places in the two Finals would normally have been enough to stretch this lead even further. However, Sam Jenkins chose this particular weekend to be in supreme form. Apart from taking 1st and 2nd in the two Finals, Sam only dropped one point from six heats, leaving just about every competitor marvelling at his sheer pace. It placed Sam in a very strong position for the final round at Buckmore where a finely judged 2nd place behind Nicholas Cristofaro was sufficient to see him crowned as the new British Champion. “James Bradshaw is the only Cadet driver to have won the S1 and Stars titles in one year and it would have been nice to repeat his success,” confesses Mackenzie. “I gave it my best shot and I’m really delighted to have finished the year as S1 champion. I think that having a title like this is bound to be a big help when you’re looking for sponsorship and support. I’d like to thank Dan Hazlewood (Fusion) for all the help he’s given me this year and, of course, Leon from Soixante who supplied me with great motors. This year Stars and S1 have been very
competitive and we had at least ten different drivers who were all quick enough to become champions. It’s been a very hard year for me and I’m sure my dad has sometimes found it difficult as well. I’m very proud of him for what he achieved in his own racing career. At some stage I’d like to race motorbikes just like he did but I couldn’t see myself doing it for a living. Like most other Cadets, I’d like to try single-seater cars some day although that’s a long time away. Next year I’ll be moving up into JICA and that’s something which I’m very excited about, although the difference in speed might take some getting used to. I’ll be running alongside Oliver
Rowland in the Zip Young Guns team and that’s something else I’m looking forward to immensely.”

Away from karting, Mackenzie is keen on both soccer and rugby and enjoys watching F1 but doesn’t really have any favourite team or drivers. Max shares Mackenzie’s liking for soccer and rugby but also adds cricket to his list. He’s a fan of F1 too, naming McLaren Mercedes and Kimi as his favourites. In karting, Alexander Sims, Oliver Rowland and Mackenzie are the drivers that he respects the most. “It was also good to see Ollie Oakes winning the World Championships this year, although I’ve never actually seen him race” adds Max. “I think it’s bound to give British karting a boost, especially with Jon Lancaster finishing 2nd. Next year I’ll be moving into Minimax. I haven’t finally decided on the chassis yet but we recently bought a secondhand Intrepid quite cheaply and it seems very good. One decision we have made is to run our own team next year. That’s
no disrespect to Fusion or Racecraft. They’ve been superb throughout the whole year, but both Dan and Rory want to concentrate on Cadets still, so we didn’t have any option other than to leave.”

Max dominated the WTP series and won two Super 1 rounds

“I think that Fusion has easily been the best team in Comer Cadet this year but they’ll have their work cut out in 2006 when our own team is up and running” alleges Max. “It’s called Xtreme Motorsport and we’ve already
signed up Formula BMW driver Craig Boyd to act as mechanic. Apart from my own interests in Minimax, we’ll be looking after three Cadet drivers, Jordan King, Roy Johnson and Callum Bowyer who recently won the King of Clubs championship. Piers Sexton will be looking after me in Minimax and I’m hoping that Paul Munn will also be available although it’s possible that he might do a season racing Seats. After my time in karting, I’d like to take up a career in motor racing. Everyone wants to get into F1 and it would be very nice to think that I could do it, but, realistically, any job as a paid driver would be great.” By any yardstick 2005 has been a successful year for Max. “Winning the WTP Little Green Man title is something I’ll always remember,” he says. “I think I’ll also remember the round at Wigan when I wrote my kart off in practice. Rory was a fantastic
help in getting me up and running in time for Sunday’s race but we were also overwhelmed by the number of people who actually offered to loan me their karts so that I could score points if my own wasn’t fixed. I thought that was really good and showed there’s still a lot of sportsmanship in karting. Comers has been very exciting as well. Dan Hazlewood and Piers Sexton are both very good to work with. Apart from them, I owe my mum Mandy, dad and sister Ria an awful lot for the way they’ve all supported me all year.”

Dan Hazlewood meanwhile looks ahead to 2006 without the services of his top two drivers. “Max McGuire is staying on in the team and he’s shown tremendous improvement this year so I’m confident that he’ll be one of the frontrunners. We’ve also got Jacob Stilp and James Appleton joining us and I’ve been very impressed by their prowess. 2005 was a great year for us and I’m hoping for similar results in 2006.” With these words, Dan acknowledged the very significant impression made by Mackenzie and Max upon Cadet racing. His new drivers certainly have a hard act to follow.

Dave Bewley