Michael Rutter was left to look back on what might have been after a mixed weekend which, in many ways, summed up his season. The Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati rider finished seventh in race one but with damp conditions prevailing for the start of race two, a podium finish looked possible.
Rutter was up to fifth and challenging Tommy Hill and James Ellison before an oil leak forced him to retire. Although he recovered to seventh in race three, Rutter was disappointed with the failure to finish in race two.
“I can't believe the season is over already. We were feeling confident about Brands Hatch and we had a good qualifying session that put us on the second row so I was definitely happy with that. In the first race I was struggling a bit with grip for whatever reason so to finish seventh was a decent result considering. On Sunday we were in a good position off the start and was up to about fifth and with the leading group. I think we had real potential for a podium finish but we suffered an oil leak and it was so disappointing to have to pull over. That put me down on the fourth row for the final race but we got a decent start and worked up to the leading group but then we just couldn't get any further up the order. I was happy enough with that result too as it was tough starting that far down the grid.”
Looking back on the season as a whole, Rutter couldn't help but look back on the incident with Josh Brookes at Cadwell Park which cost him a possible place in the championship showdown.
“Overall it has been a good season for the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team; it was obviously disappointing not to have made the top six as it could have been a different end to the season but that was out of our hands and that's racing. I want to thank everyone for their support this year and after Macau we will then focus on next season.”
Teammate Martin Jessopp also had a bittersweet end to the season as he claimed his 11th top ten finish of the season in race one. The Yeovil man fell victim to the damp conditions in Sunday's opening race though before a determined ride to 13th in the final race of the year, allowing him to end the season on a high.
“Brands Hatch unfortunately wasn't the end of season we were hoping for especially as we had really high hopes for the weekend. We knew that the top-five would be running a hot pace so it was always going to be a difficult task but we were fired up for a good end to the season. I had a good qualifying session and was again in the top ten so I was happy with that. In the first race we finished in the top ten but I wanted more than that in the second one. I had got a good start and was behind Michael and I saw him slide the back at Paddock Hill Bend and so I took a different line and I hit the wet patch and it ran me into the gravel. I tried to keep it upright but as I got to the end I had to lay it down and I just couldn't get it started again. That put me on the back foot for the final race as I didn't have any data from the race before after we had made some changes and down the order on the grid. I worked my way up from a reasonable start but then I was losing grip and it became an uphill challenge. It has been a season of highs and a few lows but we have achieved a lot and I need to thank the whole Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team.”
Team Owner Phil Jessopp was happy with the performance of both riders over the season and also took time to congratulate the man that eventually took the title in dramatic circumstances.
“The final round was absolutely brilliant and I have to congratulate Tommy Hill on his championship win; the whole of the Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati team were glad to be part of the show. Both Michael and Martin have had an extremely good year and it was just a shame for us that Michael didn't make the top six after the crash at Cadwell Park. We finished the season with some top ten finishes and now we look forward to next year and looking towards that. I want to also thank everyone involved this season with the team, particularly Rapid Solicitors and Bathams.”