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Rutter Takes North West 200 Victory
 
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Rutter Takes North West 200 Victory - May 21st 2005


News Archives | WSB Results | Supermoto Results | British Superbike Results | MotoGP Results |
    Michael Rutter

    It was a day of mixed fortunes for Michael Rutter at the Junction One International North West 200 in Northern Ireland. The HM Plant Honda Racing star won the first Superbike race - his 11th victory over the famous public roads circuit which links the towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine - in front of more than 100,000 spectators, but retired from the last race of the day.

    The first Dewalt Superbike Race started in perfect conditions with Rutter taking the lead on the charge down to University Corner on the opening lap. The 2.9-second advantage held by the Leicestershire rider at the end of lap one was dramatically reduced by Steve Plater on lap three with a new lap record of 4:22.953 (122.750mph) on the Honda-Racing.co.uk CBR1000RR Fireblade.

    Plater then took the lead at Ballysally roundabout on the following lap, which set up a thrilling climax to the six-lap race. Rutter used his race craft and experience to best effect on the HM Plant Honda to slipstream Plater and retake first place on the approach to University Corner on lap five - setting a new lap record of 4:22.346 (123.034mph) in the process. The result was too close to call but Rutter just held on to his slim 0.249-second advantage at the chequered flag.

    Rutter was on course for his second consecutive double win at the North West 200 on his factory HRC-prepared CBR1000RR when fate intervened - in the form of a shower of rain! A drying track left tyre choice a lottery for the entire Superbike field as they lined up for the Blackhorse North West 200 Superbike Race. Rutter opted for treaded Michelin tyres on the front and rear of his factory Fireblade.

    Fourth at the Ballysally roundabout and fifth at the Metropole, Rutter had been relegated to sixth by the end of a gruelling first lap. However, the HM Plant Honda rider responded to the challenge that lay before him and started a customary charge to a possible podium finish. He was running in fourth on lap four when the British Superbike Championship leader decided to retire with only one lap remaining.

    The leading positions in the two Superbike races were dominated by Honda machinery. Rutter led home five CBR1000RR Fireblades in the top seven finishers in the Dewalt-sponsored event. While Team DMRR Honda Racing's Richard Britton narrowly missed out on victory in the Blackhorse NW200 race, he was followed home by team-mate Ian Lougher and three other Honda Superbikes in the top nine finishers.

    Michael Rutter: "The first race was too close for comfort. I knew from practice that Steve [Plater] was going to be on my case - and so it proved. I could see from my pit board that he was closing me down and when he got past me I knew he was going to be difficult to pass. However, I used the power of the HM Plant Honda to good effect down the back straight and that was good enough to win the race - even if I had to fight all the way to the finish.

    "I was on a hiding to nothing in race two. I had possibly opted for the wrong tyre choice for a wet, but drying track. However, I was thinking of my British Superbike Championship lead and safety was of paramount importance to me. By lap four there was no point in me continuing, so I decided to take an early bath. It was a slightly frustrating end to the day for HM Plant Honda Racing and the fans who came to support us, but there was nothing more I could do under the circumstances."

    Dewalt Superbike Race:

  1. 1. M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing) 26:24.248
  2. 2. S. Plater (Honda-Racing.co.uk) +0.249
  3. 3. A. Archibald (Suzuki) +36.608
  4. 4. R. Britton (Team DMRR Honda Racing) +36.783
  5. 5. B. Anstey (Suzuki) +37.238
  6. 6. M. Finnegan (Honda) +45.246
  7. Blackhorse North West 200 Superbike Race:

  8. 1. B. Anstey (Suzuki) 24:02.227
  9. 2. R. Britton (Team DMRR Honda Racing) +0.949
  10. 3. I. Lougher (Team DMRR Honda Racing) +23.206
  11. 4. M. Finnegan (Honda) + 38.040
  12. 5. G. Martin (Suzuki) +44.565
  13. 6. A. Archibald (Suzuki) + 45.061
  14. DNF - M. Rutter (HM Plant Honda Racing)