Michael Rutter will
be on the grid to defend his 2008 British Superbike victory at Mallory Park
after securing a last minute deal with the SMT Honda team.
Rutter will ride for his third different team – and on a third different bike – this season after being called upon as a replacement for Jason O'Halloran, the Australian seemingly now pursuing a ride in the World Supersport Championship.
Returning to the scene of one of his finest ever BSB
victories after winning aboard the North West 200 Ducati in treacherous conditions, Rutter was delighted to be continuing in the series for at least one more round having endured a tough time at Worx Crescent Suzuki and Rob Mac Yamaha.
"It was a real last minute deal for this weekend and I have seen Robin around the paddock but I don't know the team, so it will be a new experience all round,” he told the BSB
“The Honda has changed a lot since I last rode it, but that is the same with any bike at the start of a season as the development moves on so quickly. I am pleased to be back as Mallory Park
is my home round; it is a short lap so you need to find the right setting but you get lots of laps in to try and get it right!"
Rutter's acquisition for SMT is significant too, team manager Robin Croft
having admitted that major financial backing was required for their continued survival. A lifeline has been thrown, however, by Wigan-based HMG Construction, much to Croft's delight.
"I am very grateful to Darren Maguire, Managing Director of HMG Construction for his intervention and with Michael on board we approach this weekend with optimism."