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Byline: By Paul MYLES on the Isle of Man

BRITISH superbike championship leader Michael Rutter last night sent a message to all SP readers: "ISLE be back."

The winner of the 1998 Junior TT and this year's winner at the North West 200 is adamant that he will race the Isle of Man course again because he likes the special challenge of road racing.

And he fondly remembers the glory days when his father, eight-time TT winner Tony, rode a Ducati to four Formula Two titles on the Isle of Man.

Rutter told The SP: "I've been brought up on the racing at the Isle of Man.

"It's in my blood with my dad and I still love the TT every bit as much as I love short circuits.

"Short-circuit racing is a place where you can go at it like a lunatic, whereas road racing is more a challenge of getting the corners just right without the pressures of a championship series."

But the strain of competing in the white-hot arena of BSB means Rutter cannot fit a two-week trip to the island into his hectic schedule, which includes a trip to Croft, Yorkshire, today to defend his series lead.

He said: "I'd like to get back to the TT one day. But at the moment it's just not possible because the British Superbike series is just so demanding I can't spare the time and, let's face it, this series is my main job.

"That said, they are trying to build up the TT into something of the event it was and, if there was no clash with the BSB, I'd definitely want to race there again."

He said that road racing, particularly on the tortuous 37-and-three- quarter-mile Mountain Course, keeps a special place in his heart .

Rutter declared: "No-one ever asks me to do road racing, but it's something I always want to do.

"I've always mixed up a bit of road racing with short circuit because I enjoy it so much. Road racing is real laid back, with no pressure. If you win, that's great, but if you finish fifth or sixth, it's still a great ride and you've had a lot of fun doing it."

Rutter tips Yamaha's John McGuinness to add Friday's Senior and today's Superbike to his TT wins last year because of the Irishman's experience of racing in BSB. He said: "I always keep in touch with the news from the TT and my favourites for wins this year have to include McGuinness.

"He has been in BSB and I know from my own experience out there that that does give you an advantage because you are riding bikes at speed all the time.

"Richard Britton on the Honda is also a favourite because the new Honda is a real good handling bike and the development we've achieved this year in the BSB series means he is going to benefit from that.

"That's because Honda are so good at handing down information, so I do see him doing well and even getting a win. Our bike is very much a standard bike with a standard chassis and that could help on the island." But Rutter warns that Suzuki's Adrian Archibald, though plenty quick enough to win Friday's Senior and today's Superbike TT, could struggle on the all-new Suzuki GSX 1000R.

He said: "The Suzuki is going well on short circuits, but they may be a bit nervous over the bumps on the island."

He's a rum young guy, this Mr Martin

THEY say you have to be a bit crazy to be a top TT rider - and they don't come more off-the-wall than new road race sensation Guy Martin, writes PAUL MYLES.

The 23-year-old Lincolnshire rider admits he decided to concentrate on road racing after slamming shut a laptop computer on to the fingers of a British Superbike race official, a move which saw him banned from the series.

But short-circuit racing's loss proved to be the TT's gain when Martin clocked an amazing 122mph lap on his first attempt last year, clinching seventh spot in the Senior TT.

He told The SP: "I'd been doing the British Championship for two years before that falling-out and, to be honest, it can be a bit boring.

"There are men who have been doing that for 10 years and more, and going to the same circuit every weekend, and I could see myself falling into that same rut, so I just wanted a change of scenery, really. I like a change and that was one of the reasons I made the switch.

"Road racing is great because everyone just gets on, they're all a bit more chilled out and there is more time to have a bit of fun.

"Watching people ride short circuits can be like watching paint dry. But road racing is a bit more of the 'near death experience', and that's what I like about it.

"On a short circuit, if you make a mistake, you just pick yourself out of the gravel trap and get on with it. With road racing, you just can't afford to do that. You have to be riding totally within yourself all the time.

"It's definitely more a challenge for a rider and that's especially true on the Isle of Man TT because it's not really a race but a timed trial, and that makes a very special challenge for both man and machine."

Now Martin is gunning for glory on the track and a form of glory off it as the organiser of a NAKED COLESLAW WRESTLING competition for the summer fair at his village of Kirmington. He added: "The fair is planned for July and there's a bit of lawnmower racing.

"But ever since the coleslaw championship got a bit of publicity, the phone's not stopped with people wanting to take part.

"We've even got Hellmans to donate 1,500 litres of mayonnaise and we've got the frogmen sorted out, so it will go off a storm.

"Another thing with short-circuit people, they all take it too seriously - you've got to have a bit of a laugh."
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2005
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