TARRAN MACKENZIE admits he had fairly modest ambitions as he approached his first season in the British Superbike Championship.

But just four races in, the 22-year-old has made a significant mark already, racking up a number of top ten finishes to ensure he is currently the top Scot in the season’s rankings in sixteenth place.

MacKenzie’s most recent performance, a sixth place in round four at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk, was his best of the season and sets him up nicely for the Scottish leg of the Championship, at Knockhill, which begins today.

That MacKenzie has made such remarkable progress through the ranks should come as little surprise as he does, after all, come from excellent stock. His father, Niall, won three consecutive British Superbike titles in the 90s while his elder brother, Taylor, is also currently competing in the British Superbike Championship.

MacKenzie’s seamless transition into British Superbikes this season is also far from surprising as he has proven himself to be a hugely talented rider, winning the British Supersport Championships in 2016 and winning the first six races of the season last year before moving into Moto2 for the remainder of the season.

However, he admits that he was not certain that with Superbikes a level up from anything he had previously experienced, he admits his consistent ability to mix it with far more experienced Superbike riders from day one has been hugely encouraging.

“The season has gone better than I expected,” he said.

“It’s a tough class so being a rookie was always going to be really challenging. But I’ve exceeded my expectations and to be in the top ten regularly, I’m pretty happy with that.”

While his results have been impressive, the is no chance of him reigning in the push for a top five place, starting at Knockhill this weekend.

“I’d been hoping to get a top-15 this year, then a top-10 and a top-5 so it’s still a work in progress because I’ve not had a top-5 yet,” the McAMS Yamaha rider said.

“My results mean I just keep pushing the goal posts out a little more each time because I keep reaching my targets. But that’s a good problem to have.

“I really enjoy Knockhill – I’ve had a lot of good races there in the past. I’d love to say I can get a top-5 but I think a reasonable goal would be two top-10s and just improving myself on the bike.”

With each passing race, MacKenzie is, he says, getting more and more comfortable with each passing race and with confidence such an integral part of success in Superbikes, he could barely be in a better place a third of the way through the season.

“I try to work as hard as possible at home so that I go into each race knowing that I’m ready mentally and physically,” he said.

“And each time you get a good result, you build a bit more confidence. You could have the best bike and the best team there but if you’re not feeling it then it’s not going to happen.

“Crashing is part of the sport and even though I’m only 22, I’ve had my fair share of crashes. You have to just blank out the possibility of it happening though and if it does, you have to just get on with things, you can’t let it knock your confidence at all. Self-belief is such a big thing in this sport.”

Mackenzie’s brother, Taylor, is also having a solid season, currently sitting in eighteenth place in the standings. There is the potential for some considerable sibling rivalry but, says MacKenzie, while there is no shortage of competitiveness between the pair of them, he gleans only positives from having his older brother on hand to tap into for advice.

“This season the first time we’ve been up against each other as adults,” he said.

“When we were young, we were really competitive. It’s good though because we have a really good relationships and we never really fall out. It he takes me out at Knockhill though, we might not be the best of friends .

I’ve always learnt from his mistakes. He’s always been in the class above me so I’ve been able to watch him and see what he does and where he goes wrong and learn from that. And if when he does anything right, I’ll try to copy him.

“So it’s tough on him in a way because he has to take the brunt of everything and learn first-hand whereas I can try to avoid mistakes from learning from him.”

MacKenzie admits he is somewhat reluctant to make too many plans for where his career will go but one ambition he would love to fulfil is to move up to World Superbikes. There is, though, still plenty of time for that.

“It’s hard to say exactly what’s going to happen in the future," he said.

"I’d love to stay with the team I’m in at the moment. I’ve still got a lot to learn but my next step would be to move up to world superbikes and that is my long-term goal. But at the moment, I’m just trying to be the best I can be in British superbikes.

"I try not to think about where I am for my age or anything like that. I know I’m still pretty young but there’s times that even at only 22, I feel old. But I definitely feel like I’m a good age to be on a superbike.

"There’s no perfect age to move up to world superbikes so whenever you’re good enough to move up, that’s when it’ll happen.”