North West 200 2017: Michael Rutter targets more victories in 2017
Midlands rider Michael Rutter hopes to bridge a five-year gap to add to his tally of 13 North West 200 wins in May.
The 44-year-old last tasted success over the Triangle circuit on a Kawasaki in a Superstock race in 2012 but has threatened to add to his tally since.
Rutter first raced at the North West in 1992 and took his first win in 1997.
"I'd like to think I could still catch Alastair Seeley's record of 17 wins but it would be very difficult because he is riding so well," said Rutter.
The Englishman will again ride BMW machinery for the Bathams/SMT outfit in the Superbike and Superstock classes on the roads in 2017.
"Hopefully I still have another win or two left in me at the North West," said Rutter.
The former British Superbike star dropped down into the Superstock ranks of the British championship last season, finishing fourth overall in the series, but is still undecided as to which series he will race in in 2017.
"We have built a superbike spec BMW and will ride it in the first BSB test at Donington next week." he explained.
"If we get on OK we will consider doing some BSB rounds."
The development of the S1000RR augurs well for Rutter's performances at Portrush in May.
"Last year the superbike hadn't turned a wheel before we arrived at the North West." he said.
"We developed the bike all year and it showed how good it was in Macau (where Rutter finished runner up behind Peter Hickman). We have continued to develop it over the winter so it should be a good bike."
Rutter will also ride a new R6 Yamaha for former racer Stephen Thompson in both Supersport events at Portrush in May.
The Crumlin man, who was seriously injured in a crash at the 2015 North West, will also run the Yamahas under the Thompson Plastering banner at the Isle of Man TT for his friend and former rival.