Belfast Telegraph

Rutter's win means so much to me, says team boss Farquhar

 

By Roy Harris

Michael Rutter turned back the clock with a brilliant victory on the Ryan Farquhar KMR/IEG Kawasaki in the JM Patterson Supertwin four-lap race, the 45-year-old West Midlands rider's 14th victory at the North West 200.

Tyre choice was significant with some riders changing from wets to intermediates after the sighting lap.

Rutter, on intermediates, got the hole-shot and led through York on the first lap of four for the 650cc machines. Thursday's winner Martin Jessopp and Dan Cooper were the closest challengers as the trio were involved in slipstreaming battles.

It all came down to the final lap with Jessopp in the lead on the run to University, where Rutter and Cooper eased him back to third. Cooper led at Mathers Chicane but Rutter hit back to lead through Magherabuoy, Metropole and Juniper to take the chequered flag just over half a second ahead of Cooper, Jessopp dropping back a further second behind.

In a race of attrition, Michael Sweeney, Marty Lennon and James Cowton completed the top six.

Rutter said afterwards: "That was very hard work and I got the perfect tow from Martin. I wasn't even riding this bike until last week and every time you stand on the top step of the podium here is special."

Team boss Farquhar commented: "You don't know what that means to me. Last year I left here fighting for my life and now I'm back with a winning team. It is a dream come true for me.

"It isn't the same buzz for me as racing, but it's very close."

Cooper explained: "I had a Dunlop front tyre and a Pirelli rear. This is brilliant after last year's accident. Michael is so good along the coast road.

Adam McLean - a 21-year-old from Tobermore - came into the North West unknown to many outside the motorcycle racing fraternity, but left as a new star after a fantastic performance in the Bet McLean.com Supersport race to finish fourth behind Alastair Seeley, William Dunlop and Michael Dunlop, but significantly in front of Ian Hutchinson, James Hillier, Jamie Coward, Peter Hickman and Jessopp.

McLean had finished sixth in the Supertwin race on Thursday and was 10th fastest ahead of the Supersport races.

Did he believe he could be in the mix for a podium?

"I was sort of quietly confident. I knew I had the speed in the MSS Kawasaki to run at the pace. It would have been nice to finish on the podium, but I rode sensibly and I'm more than happy with fourth," he said.

McLean had shown at the Cookstown 100 what he was capable of when he won the championship Supersport race, beating Derek McGee, Cowton and William Dunlop and finishing third in the non-championship invitation event behind Dunlop and McGee.

He also won the Moto3/125GP race at Tandragee and took third in the Supertwin event at Cookstown, so the signs were there.

The 2016 Irish Road Race Moto3/125GP champion is set to make his Isle of Man TT debut in less than a fortnight's time, which will be a whole different ball game to the North West 200.

Belfast Telegraph

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