Kennedy International North West 200 – Northern Ireland – 9th to 13th May 2006

Stobart Motorsport rider Michael Rutter will start Saturday’s Kennedy International North West 200 from the front row after finishing third in tonight’s final qualifying session.

Riding the VK Vodka Kick and Vent Axia backed Honda Fireblade, Rutter held fastest time for much of the second night’s practice, held again in perfect conditions, after finishing fastest on Tuesday evening around the Causeway Coast circuit in Northern Ireland.

“I’m happy enough with the front row, it’s quite close and I did the lap on an old tyre. The track was a bit dirty in places but it didn’t affect my speed and we have a couple of minor modifications to make. All is looking good for Saturday and hopefully it’ll stay dry” said Rutter who goes in search of win number twelve in the two Superbike races on Saturday.


Meanwhile team mate Ian Lougher finished eighth fastest tonight after being bumped down the order in the final throes.

But having set a faster time on Tuesday evening Lougher should sit in fifth position come Saturday’s races.

“We went backwards this evening, we made some alterations but we need to have a bit of a re-think again. We are going to go back to our settings from Tuesday night but I’m confident we’ve got a good race set up and there’s no reason why we can’t be challenging for honours” said the Ulster based Welshman.

Team owner Paul Bird, who flew in especially for tonight’s practice session, said “Our bikes are good off the line so I know Michael will make a good start and he’ll be up there from the off so front row is perfect for us. Ian had some tyre problems with the Pirellis that he’s using and has some work to do from row two but hopefully he can get a good start and hang in there.”


The first race is scheduled for 11.00am on Saturday.

Qualifying Times (Thursday Evening) – Grid to be decided

1, John McGuinness (HM Plant Honda) 122.015mph, 2, Bruce Ansty (TAS Suzuki) 121.704mph, 3, Michael Rutter (Stobart Honda) 121.490mph, 4, Steve Plater (HM Plant Honda) 121.047mph, 5, Ryan Rainey (IFS Honda) 119.527mph, 6, Alastair Seeley (Irish Bike Suzuki) 119.261mph, 7, Les Shand (Robinson Honda) 118.943mph, 8, Ian Lougher (Stobart Honda) 118.938mph.


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