Michael Rutter enjoyed his first victory in two years in the weather blitzed sixth round of MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship but the RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati rider was denied the opportunity of completing a daily double as the conditions deteriorated forcing the postponement of the second race.
Raceday dawned wet and windy, and after two days work in the dry to prepare their bikes, the teams had to make adjustments in the morning wet practice in which James Ellison, three months on from breaking his thigh, set the pace on his Swan Honda, a tenth of a second up on Rutter.
Rutter, who traditionally enjoys these conditions, was running second to HM Plant Honda rider Josh Brookes on the opening lap of the first race, but, they had barely completed that lap before a torrential downpour brought out the red-flags.
The second attempt to run the race lasted into the fourth lap but as Dan Linfoot tipped off and collected Chris Walker the action was again stopped ahead of what proved to be third time lucky for Rutter.
Brookes made the early running, with Rutter second, but soon Ryuichi Kiyonari was nosing into second place and then taking the lead on the sixth lap before Rutter hit back strongly.
He found a way ahead of Brookes at the Hairpin and then at two thirds distance in the 15 lap race took Kiyonari and held him off to take the victory by a little over half a second.
“I had a second-hand wet tyre in the rear for the third start, and I thought that was it before I’d started but it paid dividends for me at the end,” explained Rutter.
“I took it easy, sussed it out and then decided when to go for it – it was the luck of the draw really, I could just as easily gone down as won. I was sliding about a lot as the track dried and it was something of a lottery,” added Rutter.
“I didn’t want anyone to pass me then but it was hard work to stay there. I lost the front end five times but held on and just went for it. I wanted the win, this is unbelievable,” added Rutter
Kiyonari, who had struggled in the wet practice reckoned that the red-flags helped him. “Each time the team made changes and the bike was getting better and better – this is a good result for me.” His team-mate Brookes had to settle for third place, but the consolation for him was that it was enough to put him into the championship lead, four points ahead of Tommy Hill who ran back in eighth place on his Worx Crescent Suzuki.
Gary Johnson took his AIM Suzuki to victory in the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class ahead of Two Brothers Kawasaki rider David Johnson, but Hudson Kennaugh, fifth in class on the MAR Kawasaki, maintained his lead in the chase for the crown.
The weather caused problems throughout, and despite the hard working efforts of marshals and circuit staff to keep the Fife track operational, the conditions were the eventual winner.
The second Superbike race was red-flagged on the first lap as six riders tumbled as rain fell, and then with the wind speed intensifying the decision was taken to postpone the race until the Saturday evening of the seventh round at Snetterton, July 16/17/18.
Results – race one, 15 laps
Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) 13m 32.658secs
Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.577s
Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +6.187s
Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +9.363s
Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +13.295s
John Laverty (Buildbase Kawasaki) +18.708s
Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +21.149s
Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +23.233s
Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +23.233s
Chris Walker (CW Racing Suzuki) +28.717s
Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) 166
Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 162
Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 148
Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki) 146
Michael Rutter (RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati) 139
John Laverty (Buildbase Kawasaki) 108