There was plenty of success for the PBM Kawasaki team and rider Ian Hutchinson yesterday at the North West 200, with the Yorkshireman picking up two podium finishes.
Hutchinson, who has fought back from a career threatening injury, also set a new lap record of 121.680mph in the Superstock race.
The Superbike race saw the 35-year-old lead for long periods of the race which was saw a cluster of riders all within two seconds of each other.
The lead changed hands on a number of occasions with Hutchinson eventually losing out to Alistair Seeley along the coast road, meaning that the two-time winner had to settle for second.
Afterwards, he said: “I gave it all I had in that first Superbike race and after effectively four years out, to be able to challenge Alastair like that felt pretty good. He’s unbelievable round here and whilst I’m disappointed not to have won, after everything I’ve been through, I’ve got to be happy to be back on an International podium.
“I had a bit of a slide coming onto the coast road and wasn’t as strong along there on the final lap as I would have liked but I was in the mix again and it’s nice to repay everyone for their faith in me and support.”
Hutchinson had plenty of work to do in the Superstock race after qualifying down on the fourth row of the grid.
A great first lap saw the Bingley rider rise through the order to fourth place and into a battle for the lead alongside Seeley, Lee Johnston and Michael Dunlop.
Hutchinson began to lose touch with the top three before putting in two great final laps, setting the new lap record in the process, to move back into third and onto the podium.
Looking back at that race, he said: “Coming from the fourth row was hard work in the Superstock race but I did my best and I was happy with how I rode, especially along the coast road. I’m happy with the result, the podium and I certainly couldn’t be happier with how I’m riding. The bikes are working excellently in all areas and I’m feeling good for the TT so I’m peaking right now.”
Bad weather hampered the event across the week and hit once again on the final night, with winds of around 40mph causing the cancellation of the feature Superbike race.
Team Co-ordinator, Stuart Bland, said: “It’s a shame the last Superbike race was cancelled as we’d made a couple of changes to the Superbike and were confident Hutchy could have taken the win but we’re delighted with how the races have gone and with the results we’ve achieved. Ian’s riding really, really well and the whole team is 100% behind him so we’re in a really good place going into the TT.”