8:00am Friday 26th April 2013
THE world famous annual Bol D’or race at circuit Nevers Magny Cours in France took place at the weekend with a surprising turn of events for rider Kingswinford’s Michael Rutter.
Rutter, who has been selected as part of the 2013 Honda TT Legends team, was relieved from taking part in the 24-hour race due to the injuries he sustained while testing with the team earlier in the year and was replaced by Michael Dunlop.
However, come the morning of the race, Rutter found himself back on the track when he was drafted in to ride for the French ‘National Motos’ Honda team after the Paris-based outfit were left a man down following a crash in the morning warm-up.
Despite injury, tenacious Rutter put in the lap times required of the French privateers and helped take the them into third place in the early stages of the race.
However, after an extended pit stop and then a crash by one of the teams riders, National Motos dropped back into 13th position.
But with consistent laps by the two French riders and Rutter, the team pulled it back to take an impressive eighth place overall (sixth in their class) when the flag dropped at 3pm on Sunday at the 77th Bol D’or.
Rutter said: “I would have loved to have rode with TT Legends but I hadn’t tested here like the other three riders.
“It was a risk for me to start the race even though I was lapping similar times, I didn’t know if I’d be quick enough or fit to race.
“When Honda Europe asked me to help out at least for a few stints, I took the opportunity.
“We were lying third when one of the riders crashed and knocked us back to 13th, we made it back up to eighth, so I was happy to finish, especially my first one on a bike which I had never ridden before”.
Honda TT Legends were forced to retire after holding fourth place well into Sunday morning. Irreparable damage was done to their engine following a problem with the heat exchanger.
Rutter now heads to the next round of the Endurance World Championship in Suzuka, Japan on July 28 and his next race in the UK will be for Bathams Honda at Oulton Park on Monday, May 6, where he will celebrate his record breaking 400th race in the British Championship.
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