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Michael Rutter profile

By Dan Moakes
April 27 2005

Michael Rutter
nationality • English
born • 18 April 1972
world superbike début • 1993
grand prix début • 1999

Michael Rutter is an all-round racer, famed for his abilities in wet weather, as well as dry, and at both real road and short circuit venues. The son of four-time TT F2 World Champion Tony Rutter - also winner of eight Isle of Man TT races - it’s not hard to see where he gets it from. As well as numerous TT rostrum results, Michael has scored 22 British Superbike victories on four different makes of motorcycle. The title has eluded him so far, but he has been runner-up twice, and has lately been the fastest qualifier. There will be another good chance for him and the Honda in the 2005 campaign

1976
First trials bike

1989
Made racing début at Thruxton

1991
3rd in British Superteen championship, with Suzuki - five podiums

1992
11th in British 750cc Supercup, with Moto Cinelli Ducati; British 400cc Supersport championship, with Ducati - 6th at Brands Hatch; 3rd in Stars at Darley, with Kawasaki; also raced in British and MRPC 250cc championships, with Yamaha

1993
8th in both British TT Superbike Supercup and British 750cc Superbike championship, with Medd Racing Kawasaki - one podium; World Superbike wildcard at Brands and Donington; 1st in Stars at Darley, with Kawasaki

Michael Rutter 1994 - photo by Fotobikes
Michael Rutter at the 1994 NW200 - photo by Fotobikes • www.fotobikes.com

1994
5th in British TT Superbike Supercup, with Ducati - 2nd at Snetterton, 3rd at Donington Park; 17th in Isle of Man F1 TT, with Medd Honda; World Superbike wildcard in the UK - 10th at Donington; 1st in Stars at Darley, with Ducati; 2nd in Race of the Year, Mallory Park, with Ducati; 9th in North West 200 Superbike race, with Ducati; 4th and 10th in Ulster Grand Prix Superbike races, with Honda

1995 Team McCulloch, number 5 Ducati
Racing in the British Superbike Supercup, with Ducati’s 926 and 955, Michael was the only man other than Steve Hislop and Jamie Whitham to win a race. He ended up fourth in both the BSB proper, with a wet weather win at Donington Park, and the Shell series
Also raced at the Isle of Man TT, finishing 8th in the Senior; 1st in Stars at Darley, with Ducati; 3rd in Sunflower Trophy, with Ducati

Michael Rutter 1996 - photo by Fotobikes
Michael Rutter at the 1996 NW200 - photo by Fotobikes • www.fotobikes.com

1996 Team McCulloch, number 4 Ducati
In the re-invented British Superbike championship, a consistent run on the 955, with only two no-scores, took Rutter to fourth overall again. With race wins shared between only three riders, this was no mean feat. He scored four podium visits in third place, with another eleven top six finishes, and scored 215 points in total
Also raced at the Isle of Man TT, finishing 3rd in the F1; also finished 3rd at the Macau GP, with a Kawasaki; 1st in Stars at Darley, with Ducati; also raced in the British Production championship, with Honda; 6th in Triumph Speed Triple Challenge - 2nd at Cadwell and Donington

1997 V&M Honda, number 4 Honda
For a second year, the title was all about the Boost Yamaha pair, but a move to Honda’s RC45 allowed Michael to race to third in the series. This time there were ten top five results, with his best performances coming in a rain-affected meeting at Cadwell Park - second and fastest lap, then a race two victory. His final tally was 246 points
Also raced as a World Superbike wildcard, winning the re-started wet race two at Brands Hatch, and securing third on aggregate; also raced at the Isle of Man TT, finishing 2nd in the F1, and 3rd in the Junior; also finished 3rd in the Production Powerbike series, with a win at Donington; 1st and 2nd in North West 200 Superbike races, with Honda; 1st in Supersport 600 race North West 200, with V&M Honda; 3rd in North West 200 Production race, with Honda; 1st in Stars at Darley, with Honda

1998 V&M Honda Britain, number 3 Honda
The pace of the RC45 was lacking in the early part of 1998, but Rutter got going at mid-season, after a change of tyre supplier, to take seven podium results from the last ten starts. An early high point came with victory at Oulton Park, in the championship’s third race, and he also took second, fastest lap and first at the Donington Park finale. It was no coincidence that all three races were subject to rain or a wet track. This late surge took him from eighth to sixth, with a score of 235 points
Also raced to his best results at the Isle of Man TT, with victory in the Junior, 2nd in the F1, 3rd in the Production, and fastest lap in the Senior; also won the Macau GP; also appeared as a World Superbike wildcard, but was a non-starter at Donington on the number 33 Honda; 1st and 2nd in North West 200 Superbike races, with Honda; 1st in North West 200 Production race, with Honda; 3rd in North West 200 Supersport 600 race, with Honda; 2nd and 4th in Ulster Grand Prix Superbike races, with Honda; 1st in Stars at Darley, with Honda

1999 Millar Honda, number 21 Honda
1999 saw a move to the 500cc Grands Prix, with a V-twin Honda. After success at home, it was a difficult year for Michael. His best qualifying was 20th, and he scored just five points by finishing eleventh at the British GP, leaving him 27th overall
Also raced for Honda UK at the Isle of Man TT, finishing 8th in the Junior 600; also finished 3rd at the Macau GP, with a Suzuki

2000 Level 3 Yamaha, number 31 Yamaha
Now Rutter switched back to the British Superbike series, and Ray Stringer’s Level 3 Yamaha team. The bike was no match for its works-backed rivals, especially Ducati and Suzuki, and his best result in the first seven rounds was a solitary seventh. This placed him thirteenth, with ten races still to run. Wet conditions came to the rescue again, with a second at Knockhill, and first and second at Brands. He moved up to ninth at the close, with 157 points
Also raced for V&M Yamaha at the Isle of Man TT, finishing 2nd in the Senior and F1, 3rd in Production, and 5th in the Junior 600; also won three races at the North West 200; also won the Macau GP from pole; 1st and 1st in North West 200 Superbike races, with Yamaha; 1st in North West 200 Supersport 600 race, with Yamaha; 1st in Sunflower Trophy, with Yamaha; 4th in Race of the Year, Mallory Park, with Yamaha

2001 Transatlantic Finance Kawasaki, number 9 Kawasaki
Moving to Team Kawasaki UK led to a more competitive year, with Michael a top six regular from the outset. The title race was dominated by the Ducatis of John Reynolds and Steve Hislop, and Rutter was one of only two other riders to win, and the only one not to do so on an Italian V-twin. Problems for the official Kawasaki team meant they didn’t compete in all rounds, but Rutter found a second home with Hawk Racing. The first meeting at the new Rockingham circuit brought his best results - second, first and two fastest laps - putting to rest his reputation as only a wet race winner. 256 points placed him sixth overall

2002 Team Renegade Ducati, number 6 Ducati
2002 put Rutter on his fifth different bike in as many years, with the Ducati 998 R representing a real chance at the BSB crown, in competition with the similarly mounted Hislop and Sean Emmett. Michael set five pole positions, and won eight times, including a half-points race at Oulton Park, and in the wet at Donington. He also had three fastest laps, and totalled twenty top four finishes, and 408 points. Hislop’s greater number of second places gave him a deserved title, with Rutter in a best yet runner-up slot
As as a World Superbike wildcard, he ran third and fourth in the wet races at Silverstone, but fell both times, and also ran fourth in the Brands races - his best result was ninth; also won the Macau GP from pole for Ducati Manchester

Michael Rutter 2003 - photo by Carly Rathmell
photo by Carly Rathmell

2003 Renegade Ducati, number 2 Ducati
Rutter’s 2002 team-mate, Shane Byrne, took over from Hislop in 2003, and the early contest was between the two Englishmen. Michael won twice from the first four starts, and added five more top four finishes before race nine. Meanwhile, Byrne was first or second in fourteen consecutive outings, while his rival’s challenge faltered. Three more podium visits, for third, followed for Rutter, as Suzuki’s Reynolds emerged as the closest rival to Byrne. Despite four poles and a pair of fastest laps, Rutter faded to third overall, on 289 points
Also raced as a World Superbike wildcard in the UK rounds, scoring two eighths and a ninth; also won the Macau GP from pole, with Ducati; 1st in North West 200 Superbike race, with Ducati; 5th in North West 200 Supersport 600 race, with Ducati; 1st in Race of the Year, Mallory Park; also led the North West 200 Production race

Michael Rutter 2004 - photo by Raceline Photography
photo © Raceline Photography

2004 HM Plant Honda Racing, number 3 Honda
The new HRC-supported 1000cc FireBlade, on Michelin tyres, emerged as the biggest threat to Reynolds and the Suzuki. Michael won the first race, and was only off the podium once in twelve starts - crashing out of the lead at Mondello Park. However, he then began to lose ground to ‘JR’, as he wasn’t in the top three in the next six outings, and an impressive late run of three wins and then four seconds were not enough to overtake his rival. 417 points meant a second runner-up slot, with his speed demonstrated by four poles and a front row start everywhere, plus eight fastest laps
Also won the Macau Grand Prix, for Red Bull Honda; 1st and 1st in North West 200 Superbike races, with Honda, and set fastest speed trap time ever recorded on a UK road circuit, at 201.1mph

2005 HM Plant Honda Racing, number 2 Honda
Michael remains the Honda BSB team leader for 2005, and will hope to tie up his first title in the ever-competitive series, as more FireBlades hit the track


With grateful thanks to Phil Wain of RealRoadRacing.com


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