The 36-year old, winner of the 1998 Junior TT Race‘s much anticipated entry adds further spice to an already impressive line up.
The Midlands rider was back to his best in 2008, finishing 6th in the premier British Superbike series for the Alastair Kennedy-owned NW200 team and has continued to signal his intentions to return to the TT to pursue further glory. That move has now come to fruition and for the 2009 TT Rutter will have a specially built R1 Superbike for the TT, further indication of his commitment to the event and desire to compete at the highest level.
Rutter first returned to the TT in 2007, after a seven year absence, with MSS Kawasaki but his efforts were severely handicapped by a broken wrist sustained at the Snetterton BSB round just days prior to the event whilst mechanical problems saw him miss out in a number of practice sessions. Nevertheless, Rutter proved his undoubted talent with a fine 8th place in the Senior and a near 126mph lap. In total, his TT career, which commenced in 1994, has seen him take a total of 9 podiums as well as his only victory to date in the 1998 Junior TT Race.
The move will also see 3-times TT winner Rob McElnea make his return to the Island, in a managerial capacity, for the first time since 1992. The former British Superbike Champion took 3 superb wins between 1983 and 1984 and was at the helm of the Loctite Yamaha team in 1992 which saw Carl Fogarty take a close second to Steve Hislop in the Senior and claim the outright lap record whilst Brian Reid was victorious in the 250cc race after another hard fought battle with Hislop. McElnea’s love of the roads has never been in doubt and he, like Rutter, is 100% focused and determined to getting on the top step of the podium.
Speaking about his return Michael Rutter commented:
“I’m thrilled to be back racing on the island again in 2009 after having to sit the races out last year for reasons beyond my control. I worked in the pits for Ian Lougher at the 2008 TT but it’s no substitute for being out on a bike around the mountain circuit. There are a lot of talented riders in this year’s line up and I’m really looking forward to testing myself against them.”
Hon Martyn Quayle MHK, Minister for Tourism and Leisure commented:
“Michael Rutter’s appearance at the TT means that we’ll have ten former winners racing this year in one of the most competitive line-ups in living memory. He is a high quality rider who has proved himself at the highest level and it’s a fantastic endorsement to the TT that he has confirmed that he’ll be back racing on the island.”