Classic TT: Rutter edges Johnston for Junior victory

Michael Rutter won the Sure Junior race at the Classic TT on Tuesday.
Michael Rutter won the Sure Junior race at the Classic TT on Tuesday.

Michael Rutter won the Sure Junior race for the second time in three years on the Ripley Land Racing Honda after reeling in Northern Ireland’s Lee Johnston on the last lap.

The race was held over the shortened distance of three laps following Monday’s postponement due to poor weather, but Fermanagh man Johnston still had to pit for fuel at the end of the second lap on the Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta, handing the advantage to Rutter.

Michael Rutter on the Ripley Land Racing Honda.

Michael Rutter on the Ripley Land Racing Honda.

The experienced Midlands rider clinched victory by 10 seconds, with Jamie Coward finalising the rostrum on the Ted Wood/Craven Honda.

Rutter, who crashed at Ballacraine on the opening lap of the Senior Classic race on Saturday due to a puncture, said: “It’s been a hard week so I’m really happy to get the win. You’ve got to have good corner speed with these bikes.

“I knew things were going well because I was getting the thumbs up around the course. Once I got the lead I just had to treat the bike with respect and not over-rev it,” he added.

“Jamie (Coward) helped on the last lap as I was getting a tow and the spectators should have seen some good wheel to wheel stuff.”

Sure Junior Classic TT race winner Michael Rutter with runner-up Lee Johnston (left) and Jamie Coward, who completed the rostrum in third. Phil McGurk (far right) was the top privateer in eighth.

Sure Junior Classic TT race winner Michael Rutter with runner-up Lee Johnston (left) and Jamie Coward, who completed the rostrum in third. Phil McGurk (far right) was the top privateer in eighth.

Johnston, who injured his right hand in a sidecar incident at Jurby last Friday as he tested the outfit with Dean Harrison, said the necessity to make a pit stop thwarted his race.

“The pit stop hampered us but that’s racing,” he said.

“It’s been an amazing event and the racing has been good. I hope everyone enjoyed hearing the noise of the little MV.

“I felt a little lethargic on lap one but I really enjoyed it.”

Johnston’s opening lap of 102.523mph gave him a lead of 13.5 seconds over Rutter, with Coward almost five seconds in arrears in third.

He lapped even faster on lap two at 103.421mph to increase his lead over Rutter to 25 seconds, but Johnston dropped 39 seconds due to his pit stop, allowing Rutter to snatch the lead.

The veteran racer’s final lap of 104.002mph was the fastest of the race and allowed Rutter to hang on for the win by 10 seconds over Johnston, who was riding with three broken fingers on his right hand after the sidecar mishap at Jurby.

Davies Motorsport Honda riders Dominic Herbertson and Alan Oversby finished fourth and fifth respectively, with Dean Harrison (Black Eagle MV Agusta) completing the top six.