Michael Rutter is facing a race against to time to have his Bathams SMT BMW Superbike ready in time for this year’s North West 200 with only a month to go until the 2016 event begins.
The 13 times North West winner, who is celebrating 25 years of British championship competition this season, will ride Bathams/SMT liveried BMWs in the Superbike and Superstock races on May 12-14 and a Kawasaki, also in Bathams/SMT colours, in the Supersport events.
“The only thing we don’t have is time, it is the only thing we are running out of,” said Rutter.
“The Superbike should be ready in two weeks time but then we only have a fortnight until the North West. We have the budget to get the right engines from BMW, we have K-Tech suspension so we just need to get out there and get some track time.”
The only other thing Rutter doesn’t have at the moment is a Supertwin.
“I don’t have a twin to ride at the moment but I would like to have a run out at the North West if one becomes available,” he says.
Most of the attention at this year’s NW200 will be focussed on Alastair Seeley, who is chasing a 16th victory to become the most successful rider of all-time at the Northern Irish event.
Rutter is currently just two wins behind the Carrickfergus man and although he agrees it will be very hard to beat his younger rivals, he hasn’t given up hope of closing the gap.
“I think it would be very difficult and it is a lottery going into that last lap at the North West. You could be leading going into Juniper Hill chicane and then end up third or fourth.”