RACE BIKES

Rutter’s team tough it out at Snet­ter­ton, but spir­its are raised by ar­rival of new team-mate...

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS -

BMW S1000RR, Yamaha YZF-R3

ALEC TAGUE BATHAMS RAC­ING BRI­TISH SU­PER­STOCK/ROAD RAC­ING

AF­TER THE LAST few months of road rac­ing, I’m feeling re­freshed and ready for the sec­ond half of the sea­son. I even found the time to take Mrs Tague for a nice break away, and blew a stack of money on a nice meal or two. I’ve also been get­ting my head around so many peo­ple com­ing up and ask­ing me for my au­to­graph while we were at the North West 200 and the like... One of them was a Cana­dian guy who told me he looks for­ward to this fea­ture ev­ery month, so it’s good to know some­one’s read­ing what I’ve got to say!

Get­ting back in ac­tion at Snet­ter­ton came as a bit of a jolt, though. It was a tough meet­ing, for a num­ber of rea­sons. Michael al­ways goes well at Snet, and we’re usu­ally both­er­ing the podium. But we were out­side the top 10 all week­end this time round. Michael wouldn’t mind me say­ing that he’s deal­ing with a num­ber of is­sues re­lated to hav­ing el­derly par­ents at the mo­ment, so he had a lot on his mind. The bike was as good as ever for the whole week­end, but another fac­tor in our 10th place fin­ish was the sim­ple fact that Michael was also com­ing off the back of seven weeks of rac­ing – it’s go­ing to take its toll on a man of his age!

We were lack­ing a bit of punch be­cause we were once again run­ning a stock road bike en­gine as we’d lost the 5.2 Su­per­stock mo­tor at the roads. The competition at this track is al­ways tight, and be­ing three tenths off the pace will ef­fec­tively lose you eight po­si­tions. Rutter brought it home for 10th place, and only lost ninth place at the last cor­ner. He did the job, he fought hard and got us well into the points.

We’ve had podi­ums ev­ery time we’ve raced at Knock­hill, but this time round we de­cided not to make the jour­ney up to Scot­land. Ba­si­cally, we all went to the work­shop, and looked at a load of blown-up en­gines, bikes with their front ends out, there were still flies plas­tered all over Michael’s TT bike... The place looked like a scrap yard. Me and Matt Batham thought the best thing would be for Michael to take a break, and truly I don’t think he’s that in­ter­ested in rid­ing a bike at the mo­ment. We’ve had two solid weeks in the work­shop, and, thanks to BMW we’ve new en­gines back, and the bikes are re­built. Rutter is go­ing to sit out Brands, but he’ll be back for Thrux­ton, all guns blaz­ing.

But the team has to go on – we’ve spon­sors to keep happy... So, we’ve signed Tay­lor Macken­zie, on a tem­po­rary ba­sis. I’m re­ally ex­cited about that – he’s young, new, brave and fresh. We’d never take a rider on un­less we thought they could move the team along, ei­ther. Tay­lor won the Bri­tish Su­per­stock ti­tle on a BMW back in 2016, so we know he can win races for us. So, it’ll be a sin­gle-rider team at Brands, but Michael will be there in the form of men­tor and team man­ager to do all he can to help Tay­lor.

We of­fered Macken­zie the ride on the Mon­day af­ter Knock­hill, and he’s tested the bike for us at Sil­ver­stone al­ready. The short-term tar­get is for us to get the kid on course and to get the team back at the sharp end.

Af­ter Brands, we’ll run Tay­lor and Michael on a bike each, and if Macken­zie is happy we’ll look at con­tin­u­ing with him. All we’ll need to do is draft in another

me­chanic as we take it round by round. Also, hav­ing a hun­gry team-mate might be just the thing to spur Michael on, some­thing to give him a kick up the arse! Even at his age, Rutter isn’t get­ting stale – he’s still ridicu­lously de­ter­mined. So, don’t you worry – we’ll get the Michael we know and love back again.

We’ve spent a bit of money get­ting the bike sorted for Tay­lor – it’s wear­ing a No77 now, and we’ve ob­vi­ously had to in­vest in new body­work and spares, but it’ll all be worth it. As it stands, we’ll have him run­ning the stan­dard en­gine at Brands, but I know for a fact that our 5.2 mo­tor is on its way to the UK from BMW as I speak.

And if you needed some­thing else to get ex­cited about, we’ve got some­thing very spe­cial in the pipeline for the Ma­cau GP this year. Yes, we’re al­ready think­ing about our rac­ing sched­ule for Novem­ber. I can’t tell you any more about what it is at the mo­ment but trust me, it’s go­ing to be amaz­ing...

‘Tay­lor Macken­zie is young, new, brave and fresh. He can win races for us’

Snet­ter­ton saw Rutter bat­tle his way into the top 10Far right: Tay­lor Macken­zie got to grips with the Bathams S1000RR at a Sil­ver­stone track­day in mid-July D

Rutter’s com­mit­ment is never in doubt. He just needs a lit­tle per­sonal time

DAVID PAR­SONS/ PICMAN

DAVID PAR­SONS/ PICMAN

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