Team Kawasaki's Michael Rutter continued his run of form at Donington Park yesterday afternoon, securing a hard fought third place finish in the final Superbike outing of the year. However, things weren't all plain sailing for the 28-year-old former TT winner.

A massive crash during the warm-up session left Rutter feeling decidedly second hand and his number one bike completely destroyed. Jumping straight onto his spare machine, Rutter made it to the grid and took a creditable sixth place in the opening race.

"The crash in the warm-up session was definitely one of the biggest I've ever had," said Rutter after the first race. "I went for the brakes at the end of the start finish straight, only to find that I didn't have any. I had no other option but to get off the bike as quick as I could. I was thrown around quite a lot, but I did see the bike about fifteen feet above me at one point, just before it crashed into the debris fencing. I didn't really think about it at the time, I was more concerned with getting back to the pits for the start of the race!"

Despite suffering the effects of his crash during the interval, Rutter was back on the grid for the start of race two. First away from the line, Rutter spent nine laps battling for the lead with James Haydon and John Reynolds, before the onset of rain caused the race to be red-flagged - just as Rutter forced his way to the front. On pole position for the restart, Rutter again got the holeshot and looked certain to secure his second win of the season. Unfortunately, with just two laps left to run, James Haydon ran into the rear of the Kawasaki at McLeans corner, forcing Rutter to run wide. Never one to give up, Rutter was soon back with the leading group, but couldn't quite claw back the deficit and ended the race in third place.

"We were definitely on for a win there, or we were until I had a coming together with James," said Rutter. "It was just one of those things really, a racing incident. I was trying to stay tight on the inside of the corner but James was determined to get past and he just clipped my back wheel as he came through. I managed to hold onto it but, by the time I'd sorted myself out, I had a big gap to make up. In the end, it was just too much to claw back and I had to settle for third. I'd obviously liked to have won, but I'm happy enough to end the season on the podium."

Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster concluded: "He may have been hurting from his warm-up crash, but Michael rode a superb second race today. I'm convinced that, had the collision with James Haydon not pushed him wide on the penultimate lap, Michael would have been celebrating his second race win of the year this afternoon. The team have worked really hard all weekend, but finishing on the podium in the final race of the year makes it all worthwhile."



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