Michael Rutter a doubtful starter for North West 200
Michael Rutter's participation in this year's North West 200 is in doubt because of a lack of sponsorship.
The 12-times North West winner will ride for the MSS Colchester Kawasaki team in British Superbikes and has also secured backing for the Isle of Man TT.
"I need separate funding for my road racing campaign and it has been easier to get money for the TT," said Rutter.
"It is proving difficult to pull in sponsors for the North West, mainly because of last year's cancellation."
"I would be gutted to miss the North West as it's one of my favourite events of the year, but I just can't commit myself to it at the present.
"I have a few meetings arranged for next week so I haven't given up hope yet - hopefully something can be sorted out," added the Midlands rider.
Rutter's absence would be a major blow to the event's organisers as he has been one of the race's main attractions for almost two decades.
It was confirmed this week that Rutter will ride a KMR Kawasaki in the new Lightweight Supertwins class at the TT in June.