Marty Nutt turning screw as Ducati 848 Challenge title bid climaxes
it's been 10 long years since Castlerock's Marty Nutt last experienced the stomach churning nerves of trying to close out a championship title bid.
But this weekend at Silverstone's GP circuit, that's exactly what the 37-year-old father of two and former Irish champion will be doing as he aims to become the 2013 Ducati 848 Challenge winner.
Speaking from the offices of the family business in Coleraine, Nutt Travel, where he shares the day-to-day responsibilities alongside his father Billy, the former North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix Clerk of Course, Marty explained: "It's a nice feeling to be challenging for a championship, but what makes it even more enjoyable is working with the JHP Ducati Coventry guys.
"Rick Hackett, who looks after my bike, is so meticulous and probably the best mechanic I've ever had in my 15 years of racing," explained Nutt, whose consistency this season has afforded him the luxury of standing on all 14 podiums to date, also taking three wins.
With just two races remaining in the 2013 Ducati 848 Challenge this weekend at Silverstone, Nutt holds a slender 12 point advantage over second placed Jonathan Railton, who is some 15 years his junior.
Nutt has always been a quality performer, and back in 2001 when he became the first Irish winner of the Sunflower Trophy in 15 long years, many thought he would go on to be a future British Superbike champion.
Nutt actually took four wins that day at the Sunflower in 2001, then joined fellow Ulsterman Adrian Coates in the Padgetts' Suzuki team the following season as the Batley-based outfit looked to make an auspicious return to the big time.
Unfortunately both men were injured in pre-season testing in Spain and despite valiant attempts to lift Superbike and Supersport titles in many guises over the next decade, the right package or opportunity never quite presented itself for Nutt – until now that is.
"I've always loved my racing ever since we started in British championship 15 years ago, but the hassle that goes with it wasn't always fun.
"Now with the JHP guys looking after the bike and organising everything, I just have to turn up and race so I really look forward to getting on the boat with the family now on a Wednesday night," explained Nutt.
The Castlerock man broke his neck in a crash at Brands Hatch at the beginning of last season that could have put a halt to his career.
But despite family commitments and a lengthy period of recovery, retirement was never considered.
"I would never have left it like that. People talk about family coming along and it can slow you down, but to be honest our wee ones have great craic in the paddock and it's a good experience for them," said Nutt.
If this Sunday does produce the first title in a decade – and £5,000 winner's cheque – for the Nutt family, would the 'r' word be considered?
"Retirement? Not at all. We have already ordered one of these new 899 Panigales to go again with Ducati Coventry in 2014," said Nutt.
"Mike Edwards is still racing in the class at 51 so I've a few years left in me yet!"