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North West 200 - Rutter sets course alight
 
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North West 200 - Rutter sets course alight - May 20th 2005


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    Michael Rutter was in record-breaking form during last night's final practice session for tomorrow's Junction One International North West 200.

    In perfect conditions, Rutter scorched round the ninemile seaside circuit in the vicinity of Portstewart to break his own lap record by almost two seconds.

    Towards the end of the qualifying period, Rutter unofficially clocked 122.12mph - his previous best speed of 121.34 was set two years ago. "That's a great boost for myself and the Honda team," said Rutter who is confident that he can do the double tomorrow.

    He added: "Compared to Tuesday evening, it was a sheer pleasure to be out there on a bike with speeds approaching the 200mph."

    It certainly was thirsty work for the 32-year-old Leicestershire rider because every time that he came into the pits he had a bottle of water!

    In fact, Rutter was one of just a handful of riders to complete 11 laps as he constantly checked up on the state of his tyres.

    Rutter went on: "I am very conscious of some quick men behind me, in particular Steve Plater who was impressive. He has been drafted into the Honda team for this weekend."

    A 32-year-old from Lincolnshire, Plater has never won a real road race, but his form last night suggested that he could go close tomorrow.