Isle of Man TT: Plater Out for 2011

IoM TT News

Isle of Man TT motorcycle race winner Steve Plater has admitted he will miss the buzz of road racing after confirming he will not race on the roads in 2011.

The Woodhall Spa ace has been one of the sensations of the TT in recent years, taking two wins and a race record in just a handful of years. However, he was forced to miss the 2010 event after suffering serious injuries in a practice crash for the North West 200.

The crash left him with a broken next, badly broken arm and nerve damage and kept him out of racing for several months. He is returning to full fitness and is focused on the 2011 season, although that will not include outings at the TT or NW200.

Instead Plater will concentrate on the World Endurance Championship, where he will be joined by TT legend John McGuinness and star road racer Keith Amor in the Honda Motors Europe-backed Honda TT Legends team.

Although excited about his plans for next year, Plater admits quitting the roads has been a very tough decision.

Steve Plater says: "I went to the NW200 as a spectator in 1993 and I instantly realized I wanted to be a part of it all; so much so that I returned the following year as a competitor."

"The mass start, elbow to elbow racing suited my riding style and I really enjoyed it."

"It was a huge decision to quit the roads, but I wanted to stop while I was still winning and having won the last five races I contested at the NW200 and also two races at the Isle of Man TT (The Supersport 600 and the high profile Senior TT) I know I have gone out on a high note."

Although he won’t be racing on the roads, Plater will still be involved. He will help oversee Honda team preparations for the NW200 and TT, and will ride in the parade lap which will mark the TT Mountain course’s Centenary in 2011.

Plater will ride a replica Honda RC30 to represent Steve Hislop’s 1989 achievement of becoming the first rider to lap at more than 120mph.

Later he continued: "I have not turned my back on the roads altogether as I am still heavily involved with the organizers at the NW200 and the TT."

"As a past winner at both venues I will be assisting with promotion and of course as race co-coordinator for Honda TT Legends will be overseeing the team preparation for both events. I have also been invited to ride in the parade lap at the TT this year."

In the Honda TT Legends team, to be run from the Honda Racing workshop in Louth, Plater will line up alongside teammates McGuinness and Amor as they contest the full World Endurance Championship.

Plater explains: "The World Endurance Championship is close to my heart. I rode in the 1999 Bol d’Or and that kicked off my Superbike career. To be able to return to Endurance with one of the best teams in the world is awesome."

Having ridden with various teams and been runner-up in the World Championship twice, Plater has tremendous experience of Endurance racing and is relishing the thought of finally winning the world title with Honda in 2011.

He is confident the Honda TT Legends team, managed by Neil Tuxworth, will be a force to be reckoned with

Plater says: "My involvement with the team will hopefully help shorten the learning curve for John and Keith. You need determination and stamina, especially for the 24-hour races. You have to ride to the limit on every lap of the race and you have to realize that after 18 hours it is possible you have to do back to back sessions on the bike."

"I have been out there on a dry track and then it’s rained and begun to dry again during a session. As I was the only rider in the team to know where the damp patches are it was crucial I stay out there to save time as the new rider would have had to get up to speed and then learn where the damp patches were. There is no time to relax – it’s that tight at the front."

"Endurance racing can be frustrating as you can encounter problems with the bike or suffer a crash but it is very satisfying when you get the right result."

"I really want to win the World Endurance title before I stop riding and this opportunity with Honda will give me the best chance."

"Honda have also given me the chance to try my hand on the administrative side of racing as they have appointed me as their race co-coordinator and I really want to push forward in this aspect of my career as well."

"I am not getting any younger and realise I cannot race motorbikes for ever, but I am planning to be riding for at least another three years – as long as I am fast and capable of winning races."