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Former champ backs Rutter to ride on
1:00pm Thursday 20th September 2012 in Sport
FORMER British Superbike champion James Whitham is in no doubt Michael Rutter will carry on racing next year — but believes he could ditch the circuits for the roads.
Rutter has struggled to be competitive in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship this season, ranking 15th overall ahead of round 10 at Assen.
That is in stark contrast to this time last year where the Dudley race ace was only denied a place in the top-six Showdown for the title by an overzealous Josh Brookes.
His short-circuit form is also a far cry from his efforts at the Isle of Man TT — Rutter winning this year’s TT Zero race and finishing third in the Lightweight TT.
And with that in mind Whitham reckons Rutter may turn his attentions away from BSB next year and focus even more on the likes of the Isle of Man TT.
He said: “It has been hard for Michael this season because he did so well last season but he has struggled a bit more this time around.
“I’m sure he’s frustrated with how things are going but that’s racing sometimes and obviously it will be a shame if he doesn’t continue.
“The thing with Michael though is that he’s still so competitive at the TT that I think it could sway him away from the superbikes. He is a superb road rider and he’ll be doing that for many years I imagine?
“He’s getting so competitive there that he is probably thinking he has a chance to get more podiums or wins.
“So clearly this season won’t be the end of his racing career. He’s not said anything to me about wanting to pack it.
“But then only he knows what’s going on in his head and how much of a fire is burning inside him for the sport.”
This time last year Rutter was nursing two broken ribs and an injured collarbone after being sent tumbling by Brookes at BSB round nine at Cadwell Park.
Rutter has little more than pride to play for ahead of this season’s 10th round of 12 at Assen this weekend and Whitham feels for him and his tough campaign.
He added: “Michael’s been a great addition to the British Superbike line-up and I know he’s one of those guys in the same mould as Chris Walker to a lot of fans. He’s a favourite and that’s because he battles for everything.”
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