ISLE of Man TT legend Ian Hutchinson was finally back on the bike this weekend at Mallory Park after nearly a year laid up with injury.
Racing with EMRA just over a week before he’s due to head to the North West 200, the club race may have been the 16-time TT winner’s last real chance to evaluate fitness before the international roads season kicks off.
Questions have surrounded Hutchinson’s readiness ever since the IOMTT press launch back in March, where the Bingley Bullet admitted he may not be fully healed from his 2017 crash in time for this year’s big races.
And with a mystery rider on the Honda Racing Fireblade at Cadwell Park, even more doubt was cast.
But Hutchy felt it was time to jump on the CBR1000RR for a run out with EMRA at Mallory Park this weekend, where he bagged two Allcomers wins, nearly four seconds ahead Michael Austin and two seconds clear of Paul Westerdale, and a runner-up finish in the Mallory Trophy race less than a second behind Curtis Wright, who dominated the class.
With eight days left before the North West 200 is due to begin and just 18 before the TT fortnight gets underway, Hutchinson could be spotted at even more club rounds if he hopes to gather enough signatures to make the grid.
*Images: Chris Gration