Team Kawasaki's Michael Rutter moved up to fourth place in the British Superbike Championship standings, after an inspired ride to third place in the fiercely contested second race at Thruxton.

A flying start saw Rutter pitched straight into a six-way battle at the front of the field, with the race leader changing on virtually every lap. After taking his turn at leading the race, the veteran decided to drop back slightly and wait for the final lap to make his move. As the leading group dropped into Club Chicane for the final time, a collision between Sean Emmett and Steve Hislop gave Rutter just the opportunity he needed to force his way through and steal third place on the line.

"It's brilliant to get on the podium, but I can quite honestly say that I've never been so scared in my entire life," Rutter admitted afterwards, "Everyone was out of the seat, losing the front and crashing into each other - all while inches away from each other and travelling at 170mph! In the end, I decided to drop back slightly and wait for the final lap. It had been carnage at the chicane all through the race and I knew it would be even worse on the last lap - and I was right. Steve Hislop and Sean Emmett collided with each other and I managed to get on the gas early and nip up the inside to take third place. It's probably the hardest fought podium finish I've ever had!"

Things didn't go quite so well for team-mate Steve Plater, however. After storming to second place in race one, the 30-year old was forced to watch his Rutter's performance from pit-lane in race two, after crashing without injury at the chicane after just four laps.

"With the track temperature increasing during the afternoon, we decided to gamble on a harder compound rear tyre for the second race," said a disappointed Plater, "Unfortunately, I had a bit of a coming together with 'Shakey' Byrne at the chicane after just four laps, so I never got the chance to find out whether going with the harder tyre was a good idea or not. The collision was nobody's fault, just one of those unfortunate racing incidents, but it was disappointing not to finish after such a good showing in the first race."

"It's always good to end the day with both riders on the podium, but to be honest, the results didn't really reflect the closeness of the racing," said team manager Simon Buckmaster, "With Steve and Michael running at the front in both races, I'm confident that it's only a matter of time before we see one of them standing on the top step of the podium."

 

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