On what was potentially their last appearance in the British Superbike Championship, SMT Honda came away from Mallory Park with their best-ever result after Michael Rutter avoided carnage ahead to finish fourth.
Rutter, who has also raced with Rob Mac Yamaha and Worx Crescent Suzuki this year, made his debut with the team following a last-minute call up, which was made possible by a late sponsorship deal from HMG Construction.
Although he made a slow start in free practice, Rutter qualified in 11th position and had worked his way into the top ten during the first race when a six bike pile-up ahead eliminated several runners.
While Rutter also came down in the chaos, he was able to remount just in time for the red flag to be deployed to ensure that he remained classified.
Leaping up to fourth position, it marked SMT Honda's best result in BSB, while Rutter would go on to finish sixth in the torrential rain of race two, completing a breakthrough weekend for the team.
“I'm over the moon,” said team manager Robin Croft. “The results have been simply superb – it's been SMT's most successful day in BSB and you can't ask for much more than that. After the technical problems we had in Friday's free practice, Michael bounced back well and his extensive circuit knowledge allowed him to concentrate on getting the bike set-up to his liking.”
“Our qualifying position was good and although we had a bit of luck in the first race to get fourth, it's about time our luck turned and rules are rules so we were delighted to take the position. Michael had suffered a problem with the gear selector though so the team had to change the engine in between races and we only just made it out on to the track in time for race 2. He proved his quality again in race 2 and I'm really proud how hard the team have worked over the entire weekend.”
Croft is hoping Rutter's performance at Mallory Park will help attract the finance they need to continue this season.
“Our appearance at Mallory was only made possible by the injection of financial support from Darren Maguire of HMG Construction and I'm incredibly grateful for everything he's done for us this weekend.
“We're still searching for additional support so I can't be 100 per cent sure if we'll be out at Brands but I'd like to think we'll be there with Michael on board again so we'll work hard between now and then and keep everything crossed that we'll be there.”