Michael Rutter hasn't given up hope of catching Alastair Seeley to become the most successful rider ever at the Vauxhall International North West 200.

Rutter has 13 wins at the Ulster road race, with Seeley leading the way on 17 victories after the Carrickfergus man broke Robert Dunlop's record of 15 wins last year.

Rutter is set to return to the event this year on the Bathams/SMT BMW machines and the 44-year-old is eager to add to his tally.

"Hopefully I still have another win or two left in me," he said.
"I'd like to think I could still catch Alastair Seeley's record of 17 wins but it would be very difficult because he is so small and so good."

The popular Englishman, who first raced at Portrush in 1992 on an ex-Phillip McCallen 250cx Honda, has been working on the development of his S1000RR Superbike over the winter.

"Last year the Superbike hadn't turned a wheel before we arrived at the North West," he said.

"We developed the bike all year and it showed how good it was in Macau (where Rutter finished runner up behind Peter Hickman). We have continued to develop it over the winter so it should be a good bike."

Rutter revealed he could also return to the MCE British Superbike Championship this year after competing in the National Superstock 1000 series in 2016.

"We have built a Superbike- spec BMW and will ride it in the first BSB test at Donington next week," he explained. "If we get on OK we will consider doing some BSB rounds."

Rutter will also ride in the Supersport races at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT on a Yamaha R6 supplied by his good friend Stephen Thompson, who was seriously injured in an incident at the North West in 2015.

The official launch of the NW200 will be held on Wednesday in Coleraine, when Rutter is among the special guests.

Seeley, John McGuinness, Ian Hutchinson, Ryan Farquhar and Peter Hickman are also due to attend the event.



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