Michael Rutter and the Bathams/SMT Racing team completed their campaign at the 2017 Isle of Man TT Races with an excellent fifth place finish in Friday’s Senior race as the Bridgnorth rider took his fourth top six finish of the week and also set a new personal best lap of the Mountain Course at 131.709mph.
The race was due to take place over six laps and Michael found himself down in 12th place at the end of lap one but a crash involving Ian Hutchinson at the 27th Milestone on lap two brought out the red flag and resulted in the race being restarted at 5.15pm over the shorter distance of four laps.
Problems with the gear change had been the cause of Michael’s lowly placing and so he switched to his regular Superstock BMW S1000RR for the restart. He was immediately at one with the machine and a strong opening lap of 130.367mph placed him in sixth place despite being up against full-blown superbikes.
An even better lap of 130.860mph second time around saw him move up to fourth and although James Hillier pushed him back to fifth a lap later, he really flew on the final lap. Indeed, a final lap speed of 131.709mph saw him not only set his fastest ever lap around the Mountain Course but also record the second fastest ever lap by a Superstock machine.
However, despite his valiant efforts, he had to settle for fifth place as he just failed to get the better of Hillier by the agonising margin of 0.644s after 150.92 miles of hard fought racing!
Nevertheless, with a win, a fourth, a fifth and a sixth, it was another excellent week of racing at the TT for the 45-year old.
Michael Rutter said: “I was really struggling with the gear change in the first start hence being so far back so the red flag did me a favour as I was able to change bikes and jump on to my regular Superstock bike that I use on the short circuits. It was a miles better and the bike ran faultlessly. I tried as hard as I could throughout and had a real good go on the last lap so to set a near 132mph is very pleasing.”
“I felt really good out there on the restart and I can’t fault the week at all. Winning the Lightweight was the obvious highlight but I’ve had a great set of results across the four races so I can’t complain at all. It’s been another good TT for me this fortnight so a massive thanks to the whole team for all their hard work this fortnight.”
Michael now turns his attention back to the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship with the next round taking place at Knockhill on June 16-18.
Photo courtesy of Double Red.