Top six for Rutter in opening TT race
Michael Rutter got his race week underway in fine style at the 2016 Isle of Man TT races with the Bathams/SMT Racing BMW rider taking an excellent sixth place in Saturday’s six-lap Superbike race.
The Bridgnorth rider was running inside the top six straightaway and went through Glen Helen, nine miles into the opening lap, in fourth place and just over a second down on third placed James Hillier. He slipped back slightly as the lap wore on but a speed of 130.092mph, his first 130mph lap of the fortnight so far, put him in a strong sixth place.
Having caught William Dunlop on the road, a second lap of 129.830mph saw him drop back to seventh on the BMW S1000RR but it was still close as he was only 1.5s adrift of new sixth placed man Peter Hickman.
By the end of lap three, Michael was back up to sixth as Hillier ran into trouble and now circulating on the road with Dean Harrison and Gary Johnson, he was able to consolidate that position in the second half of the race. Indeed, whilst the gap to fifth place was staying constant, so too was Michael’s advantage over seventh placed David Johnson and with two more 129mph+ laps on the fourth and sixth laps, he crossed the line in an excellent sixth place for yet another top six finish around the 37 and ¾-mile Mountain Course.
“It’s a brilliant finish for me and I’m well happy – I’d have been happy with a top ten finish so to finish inside the top six is like a win for me. The bike was a little bit loose at the rear and maybe I’d gone too far with the rebound as it was quite lively over the jumps at places like Crosby and Ballacrye. It would just fire off the jumps and get into a bit of a wobble so I had to be a little bit cautious.”
“It was a little bit unpredictable but everywhere else the Bathams/SMT Racing BMW was working great and I had an enjoyable race. I had a good dice on the roads with Dean and Gary but I could see sixth wasn’t really under threat so I rode to my signals in the second half of the race to bring the bike home in a good sixth place. It’s a great start to race week so a massive thank you to the whole team and sponsors for putting together a great package.”
Monday sees a busy day in store for Michael with the 4-lap Supersport and 4-lap Superstock races taking place at 10.45am and 2.15pm respectively.
Pictures by Pacemaker Press