Michael Rutter will head to Cadwell Park with a real chance of qualifying for the Championship Showdown after an excellent weekend at Brands Hatch. The Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati rider took a fine second place in Saturday's wet/dry race before backing that up with a pair of fifth places on Sunday.
Rutter now trails sixth placed Ryuichi Kiyonari by just five points going into the final round of the 'regular season' which includes the race held over from Oulton Park. The 39 year old was delighted with his performances at Brands and the boost it has given to his title hopes.
“I am really happy with the weekend. In race one I just gambled on slicks and it paid off for me. I was just going to go out and see how it goes and luckily for me it stopped raining and began to dry out. I could see Josh Brookes was pushing really hard in the first laps and I didn’t want to risk crashing so I just went at my own pace and I had a few moments but it was great to finish on the podium again for the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team. I couldn't have done any more in the two races on Sunday and now we are much closer to the top six after that race.”
Teammate Martin Jessopp had a mixed weekend which began brilliantly with sixth place in qualifying, one place ahead of Rutter. The Yeovil man was caught out by a poor tyre choice in race one but recovered well in race two to finish ninth. A foot peg problem forced him out of the third race but Jessopp was still able to take the positives from the weekend.
“It was an up and down weekend for me really. I had my best ever qualifying performance when I ended sixth to start from the second row and I was really happy and looking forward to the three races. In the first race we made the wrong tyre choice, but at the time it seemed the right decision and several of the riders around me on the grid had done the same. I had to pit and change to slicks just to get a time to put me somewhere better on the grid for race two.”
“In the second race I didn't get the best of starts and then I had to try and make my way through the field and I was close to Jon Kirkham for eighth but at the line there was only 0.005 seconds between us! I was riding hard but it shows the competition level that I was ninth but I was happy with our improvements.”
“In the last race the pin in my foot peg had broke and I tried to ride around it, despite it flapping and making it difficult to down shift but in the end it just fell off and I had to retire. It was unlucky but other than that is was a positive weekend for me and the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team.”