MICHAEL Rutter may have had a week to forget on petrol bikes at the Isle of Man TT but says winning the SES TT Zero race more than sweetened that blow.
The 40-year-old Kingswinford ace converted his practice form on the 2012 Motoczysz Elpc machine into competitive glory in last Wednesday’s race, to become the fastest man ever round the 37.73-mile mountain course on an electric bike — averaging 104.056mph and bagging £10,000 prize money in the process.
Rutter, who also won last year’s race, became the first man to eclipse the 100mph mark in Monday’s practice but he admits it was touch and go as to whether he would even finish the one-lap event.
Afterwards he admitted the overriding feeling was relief.
He said: “It’s fantastic and absolutely brilliant for everyone concerned. It’s awesome, I didn’t think I’d make it back, halfway round I thought this isn’t going to make it back.
“I thought I messed up — I was worried. But we got it back and we did it. It’s a nice record to have.
“The track was alright, but you want it to be dry and you don’t know until you get there, then it’s too late, it is dodgy, but we got away with it.
“It’s a very different bike to ride, you want to open it flat out but you can’t because you have got to get back and you have to be in the right place at the right time and tucked in all the time, there’s loads of different things you have to think about that you don’t on a normally-fuelled bike.”
However, his week aboard the MSS Bathams Kawasaki was less successful — a gearbox problem inside his first competitive lap of the course put paid to his chances in the Dainese Superbike race before the PokerStars Senior TT was cancelled due to bad weather.
Elsewhere, Rutter had been fastest on the superstock bike during practice week and was tipped by many to gatecrash the podium but was forced to settle for seventh.
He said: “The quick shift went, which wasn’t the end of the world, it just makes it a bit harder to ride.
“The delay on superstock race day did affect me. Some racers can cope with it but I don’t like it when the sun comes down, you can’t see where you’re going.
“You practically have to guess where the kerb is, and even though I have enough experience I like to see where they are. I don’t enjoy it so much.”
For more information on the Isle of Man TT Races go to iomtt.com To book or for more information on 2013 TT Races trips including flight, ferry, travel and accommodation, Grandstand tickets or VIP packages contact Regency Travel on 01624 694455.