Rutter, whose first race was in 1989, has no plans to stop racing just yet – instead he is looking ahead to an action-packed year.
Returning from a two-year break from competition, Rutter was the first rider to hit the road again in the 2022 Isle of Man TT, finishing 11th in the superbike series with a 5th place finish in the superstock race.
Speaking about being back for the first time in three years, he said:
“I really struggled – being 50 doesn’t help – my eyesight is perfectly good, but at 200mph+ and moving between light and shadow is difficult as I can’t see edges as well as ‘before
“I come into corners where I used to be able to go flat out and I think about it a lot more”
“Having been in different careers, leading teams, you re-evaluate everything – I think a lot more about everything, it’s a bit more self-preservation
“I find the small bikes easier, I just couldn’t figure out the speed of the big bikes. I am much more comfortable with small motorcycles”.
That feeling of ease with small bikes translated into a fifth-place finish for Rutter in this year’s IOMTT superstock race, showing Rutter’s ability to still compete at the top level, despite his years of advancement.
One of the main reasons for this persistence, despite his growing years, could be Michael’s late father, Tony – tied with Michael as a seven-time IOMTT winner.
Michael, when asked about the possibility of surpassing Tony’s record, said:
“He won seven (IOMTT) officially, unofficially eight. We won the same, but my dad always claimed to have won eight.
So that gave Michael a reason to keep competing – if he were to surpass Tony’s record, he would move up to 11th all-time IOMTT winner.
This year Rutter also appeared at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed, alongside other motor racing legends, such as Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey, of whom Rutter said:
“It really is a luxury to hang out with these kinds of people.”
Fans of the Brierley Hill-born driver can catch Rutter at Bishopscourt racing circuit in Northern Ireland on August 6-7, ahead of the August 21-29 Classic TT, staged in 2022 under the Manx Grand Prix banner.