Duns pair put on dazzling display at Arenacross

Billy Mackenzie takes flight
Billy Mackenzie takes flight

Round two of the Arenacross Tour kicked off in Glasgow on Saturday, attracting around 9,000 spectators to watch some of Europe’s best motocross riders work their way round the technical indoor track.

Among these riders were locals, Billy Mackenzie (32) and Cristina Palmer (10).

Billy is one of Scotland’s best motocross riders of all time, representing Great Britain in the Motocross des Nations six times and was the first scot ever to win the World Motocross GP.

The naturally talented rider from East Lothian sat on the start line for the first time since the Australian Championship in 2014.

The crowds were certainly pleased to see him back on home soil, cheering him on as he battled bar to bar on his Honda. After several gruelling races, Mackenzie managed to make the finals eventually gaining eighth place.

Youngster Cristina, also from East Lothian, was the first female rider ever to compete at an Arenacross event. Competing in the 65cc class against a field of boys she confidently took to the track and worked her way up the ranks during her race, gaining tenth place.

Being North of England XC Champion, competing since the age of five, she is used to racing in front of spectators but admitted she was “a tiny bit nervous but it will be amazing to ride in front of so many people”.

Cristina was also popular with the crowds. She had the whole area on their feet cheering her on and she even gained herself a fan club. She has been invited to ride the rest of the Arenacross Tour which continues in Birmingham this weekend.

Both riders train at their local track in Duns, owned by Bryan Mackenzie.

The track offers riders the chance to get to grips with jumps, whoops and cornering techniques.

This track has enabled Cristina to gain speed in preparation for the Arenacross as she has been able to race against other, much older riders, to increase performance.

Cristina has often been spotted at the track during the week, having the advantage of living locally she has had the chance to train when many other tracks are shut.

Billy has also been known to shred some dirt on the track, captured in the summer months shooting off the jumps for the first time since his return from Australia.

Training at Duns gave Billy time on the bike to prepare before he hit the demanding Arenacross track.

This may not have been a one off event for Billy, racing the tough Arenacross track may have tempted him back into racing. He has certainly shown that he has not lost his biking talent.

As for Cristina, you can see her this weekend in Birmingham for round three of the Arenacross Tour or catch her whizzing round the Ecosse XC track for their winter series in motocross or Hare and Hound racing. Both these riders are ones to watch out for.