After showing his potential with an impressive second place and new lap record in the first outing of the day at Rockingham Speedway, Michael Rutter went one better in the second Superbike race, scorching to his, and Team Kawasaki's, first win of the season.

After leading for most of the twenty-lap race, Rutter came under intense pressure from the Ducati pairing of John Reynolds and Sean Emmett. With just four laps left to run, the 28-year-old West Midlander was forced wide at the tightest turn on the circuit and the two Reve Racing riders slipped through to take the lead. The 14,000 fans who'd braved the elements to see the first ever British Superbike race at the all-new Rockingham facility were then treated to some of the best racing seen in this year's championship, with Rutter, Reynolds and Emmett all dicing for the lead.

After retaking second place from Emmett, Rutter lined up Reynolds for a pass as the two riders crossed the line to start the final lap. Hard on the brakes into the first chicane, Rutter managed to squeeze the factory Kawasaki ZX-7RR up the inside of Reynolds and then hold onto the lead to the chequered flag - making the former Grand Prix star, and TT winner, the first four cylinder rider to top the podium this season.

"This has got to rank as one of the best race wins of my entire career," said a jubilant Michael Rutter. "John Reynolds may be battling for the championship, but that didn't stop him fighting tooth and nail for the race win this afternoon, which just makes this victory even sweeter. The last four laps were a real battle and, after running wide at the hairpin, I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to reel Sean and John in before the chequered flag. In the end, the fact that the track was clear in front of me, allowed me to pick up the pace and close up on Sean. Once I was back in touch, it was just a case of picking my moment."

"After passing John on the final lap, I just couldn't wait to see the chequered flag. I can't describe what it felt like to cross the line in first place and I think it will be tomorrow before it's sunk in properly," continued Rutter. "It's not been the easiest of seasons but the team and our sponsors have worked through it all to come out on top. This victory is as much theirs as it is mine."

"It's been a fantastic weekend for the Michael, the team and all our sponsors," said Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster. "Michael was on the pace from the opening practice session on Friday and his race two win was the best possible way to finish off the weekend. To secure the first four-cylinder victory of the season is just the icing on the cake as far as we're concerned. We go into the final round of the series at Donington Park full of confidence and, judging from today's performance, there's every chance that Michael will add even more silverware to his collection before the season is finally over."

 

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