NW200: Michael Rutter remains as hungry as ever for succeess

Michael Rutter on the Bathams SMT BMW at Silverstone.
Michael Rutter on the Bathams SMT BMW at Silverstone.
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Michael Rutter has no intention of taking his foot off the gas and remains as eager as ever to challenge for podium honours at the North West 200 next month, where the ‘Blade’ has been a regular for more than 20 years.

Rutter will ride BMW machines in the Superbike and Superstock races on the north coast under the Bathams SMT banner and has done a deal with British Supersport team Gearlink Kawasaki to ride a ZX-6R at the Triangle.

The 13-time winner is also on the look-out for a Supertwin machine as the 43-year-old puts the finishing touches to his plans for 2016.

Rutter, who is also planning on running his own team to compete in the British championship and at the international road races, said: “The only thing we don’t have is time, it is the only thing we are running out of.

“The Superbike should be ready in two weeks’ time but then we only have a fortnight until the North West.

“We have the budget to get the right engines from BMW, we have K-Tech suspension so we just need to get out there and get some track time,” added Rutter.

“I don’t have a Supertwin to ride at the moment but I would like to have a run out at the North West if one becomes available.”

One of the most experienced riders in the paddock, Rutter - celebrating 25 years of British championship competition this year - is contesting the Superstock 1000 Championship in 2016 and finished fifth in the opening race at Silverstone last Sunday in the opening round.

“I want to do well for myself and I want to get the team up and running and get it some promotion,” said Rutter, who is a two-time runner-up in the British Superbike Championship.

He remains one of the most popular names at the North West 200, where he clinched his first win in 1997 and made it a lucky 13 with a Superstock triumph in 2012 to equal Joey Dunlop’s haul around the 8.9-mile coastal circuit.

Only Alastair Seeley (15) and Robert Dunlop (15) have won more races at the event than Rutter and the Birmingham man, now in the twilight years of his career, admits it is becoming increasingly difficult to win any race at the North West.

“I think it would be very difficult and it is a lottery going into that last lap at the North West,” Rutter said.

“You could be leading going into Juniper Hill chicane and then end up third or fourth.”