North West 200 favourite Michael Rutter rolled back the years to claim another rostrum at the event with a fine ride to third place in the Superbike race.

Rutter, who is the joint third most successful rider at the famous race with Joey Dunlop on 13 wins, impressed on the Bathams SMT BMW, which he only rode for the first time in Tuesday's opening practice session.

The 44-year-old was locked in battle with Tyco BMW's Ian Hutchinson and the pair were separated by less than three tenths of a second as they disputed second place, but as they started their fifth lap but the red flag was out after Bruce Anstey came off, fortunately without injury.

The result was declared at the end of the four laps, with Rutter confirmed in third place as he celebrated his 26th podium at the North West. Rutter finished fourth in the earlier Superstock race.

Sadly, the final Superbike and Superstock races were abandoned due to the fatal accident involving Malachi Mitchell-Thomas.

"It's been a good day for me and for saying the Superbike had never turned a wheel before we got here, I'm more than pleased with how it's gone," said Rutter.

"I messed up the Superbike race though when I took my eye off the ball a bit when Alastair [Seeley] overshot University. I was in the wrong gear and everyone came flying back so I think I dropped back to seventh or eighth.

"It left me a lot of work to do but I was up to third when the red flag came out," he added.

"The Superstock race was hectic, to say the least, and I thought I'd positioned myself perfectly behind Hutchy going into the final couple of laps.

"Coming into Metropole though on the final lap, Alastair came flying by and I didn't think he'd stop. He managed to get stopped and get the drive and so I ended up fourth," he added.

"All in all, it's been a good week for me and I've had some good results whilst I couldn't be happier with all the bikes so a massive thanks to the team for all their work."

Rutter is next in action at Brands Hatch in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 prior to the Isle of Man TT.



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