‘I never thought i’d win another TT’

Old dog Rut­ter dom­i­nates Light­weight race on Pa­ton

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Oli Rushby SPORT RE­PORTER

Michael Rut­ter re­turned to the top step of the Isle of Man TT podium in Wed­nes­day’s Ben­netts Light­weight race, clinch­ing his first petrol TT win since he took vic­tory al­most two decades ago in the 1998 Ju­nior race.

The vet­eran racer, who turned 45 this year, dom­i­nated the four-lap race to take vic­tory for the SC Pro­ject Pa­ton team de­spite los­ing eight sec­onds to ri­val Martin Jes­sopp in the pits.

“I never thought I’d win another TT,” laughed Rut­ter, whose other three TT vic­to­ries came in the TT Zero class from 2011-2013. “I’m well happy with that. On the last lap I heard so many noises, I was con­vinced it wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen! I’ve led so many races around here, Su­per­bike races, ev­ery­thing, and I’ve had punc­tures, con­tact lenses fall out, pis­tons break, but some­thing went right for once. It’s good, be­cause I haven’t won on a petrol bike since 1998. Ob­vi­ously there’s the TT Zero wins but…”

14 times a TT podium fin­isher, Rut­ter has long been known for his suc­cess on the roads but he be­lieves there’s a rea­son why he’s won so few TT races.

“I haven’t won many TTS, I should have won a lot more as I’ve had bril­liant bikes and bril­liant teams. But to win around here you’ve got to be push­ing on. I’ve been brought up with it by my dad; I’ve been here ev­ery year since I was born. I know what can hap­pen, it’s a dan­ger­ous game and I’ve al­ways tried to give my­self breath­ing room, but to win a race you can’t do that. Th­ese days it’s short cir­cuit stuff out there.”

It’s been a good year all-round for Rut­ter, who also re­turned to the top step at the North West 200 ear­lier this sea­son with vic­tory again in the 650cc Su­per­twins cat­e­gory, al­though there he was rid­ing for Ryan Far­quhar’s KMR Kawasaki team.

“It’s good to have won on two dif­fer­ent twins this year,” he said. “It was great to win for Ryan at the North West af­ter ev­ery­thing he’s been through, and again with the Ital­ian lads at Pa­ton – I haven’t a clue what they’re say­ing half the time, but they’re so nice, any­thing I want them to do they do, and the bike is ab­so­lutely im­mac­u­late. It’s beau­ti­ful so it’s bril­liant to win for them.

“It’s so much eas­ier rac­ing the lightweights. That sounds bad, be­cause it isn’t easy! You’ve got to ride them bloody hard, you’re for­ever fold­ing the front. But those Su­per­bikes and Su­per­stock bikes are like warp fac­tor. Th­ese days it’s very dif­fi­cult to beat peo­ple like Hutchy and Michael Dun­lop. Give me the North West and I’ll have a go at them but around here, if we can get on the podium in one of those races it’d be like win­ning.”

How­ever, it’s not just the Light­weight vic­to­ries Rut­ter has been cel­e­brat­ing. He’s been on the ball in both the Na­tional Su­per­stock 1000 Championship and on the Su­per­bike and Su­per­stock ma­chines on the in­ter­na­tional road rac­ing scene this year.

“I love rac­ing, and what makes it even more spe­cial is we’ve a small team here. There are just four of us work­ing on the BMWS and then I ride for the Ital­ians at Pa­ton in the twin

‘You can’t give your­self breath­ing room. Th­ese days it’s short cir­cuit stuff out there’

race here. We all en­joy it; we have a real good laugh. We come here for re­sults like everybody else, but while we’ve got a de­cent bud­get we can’t throw ev­ery­thing and any­thing at it like some other teams, so we do all right re­ally.”

De­spite be­ing, in his own words, ‘crack­ing on a bit’, Rut­ter has no plans to hang up his leathers just yet, but he is mak­ing plans for the fu­ture to still be in­volved with rac­ing and give some­thing back to the sport when he is ready to call it a day.

“I’d like to be back out there next year, but we’re hav­ing a look at what to do with the whole Bathams/smt team. We’d quite like to bring in a younger rider, some­one to fill my shoes as I can’t go on for­ever. I’m not get­ting any younger, we want to get some­one, es­pe­cially from the Mid­lands, and try to bring some­one else along with me for a year or so. Then I can step back into look­ing af­ter the team.”

Al­most 20 years since his last petrol-pow­ered TT vic­tory, Rut­ter is on top again

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