Endurance World Championship
Former Isle of Man TT Champion Steve Plater will return to racing in a bid to win the Endurance World Championship before retiring, he has confirmed.
However, he said a track return is unlikely this year as he continues his fight back from injury.
Plater was one of the star newcomers to the TT in 2007 and just a year later took his first win. In 2009 the Woodhall Spa racer claimed victory in the Senior TT, and took the TT Championship.
However, his road racing career was hit by injury during practice for the 2010 North West 200. He suffered extensive neck and arm injuries and was forced to miss the TT that year.
Plater subsequently announced his retirement from road racing, but confirmed he would keep competing on short circuits. He continued his involvement with the TT name by joining the Honda TT Legends Endurance World Championship team and joining fellow former racers Steve Parrish and James Whitham for the television coverage of the 2011 meeting.
Plater stayed competitive on the short circuits until May when he crashed at Thruxton during a British Championship (HM Plant Honda, 22) meeting. He suffered three fractures to his left arm, severed nerve and artery damage.
The crash aggravated the NW200 injuries, which he was still receiving physiotherapist treatment for.
After the fall at Thruxton, Plater had an operation to re-plate the arm, but the damage to the nerve in his arm was severe and he underwent a further operation in which nerves were taken from both legs, grafted together and then grafted into his arm.
The operation was complex and Steve was under the anesthetic for a lot longer than he expected.
He is still in the sidelines, but has confirmed he is determined to return to racing.
Steve Plater (Honda TT Legends) says: “My recovery is going to plan, the specialist is happy with the way I am improving and the bones are healing well, I had breaks in all three bones – the humerus in the upper arm and the radius and ulna in the lower arm and more seriously the nerve was severed, plus there was some artery damage.
“That was a couple of months ago and I am yet to get any feeling back in my thumb, forefinger and index finger. It’s frustrating, but I am hoping that the feeling will eventually come back. The movement in my hand is getting better all the time, but I won’t know for a while yet as to whether I will regain full feeling.
“I still have two operations pending where the surgeon will reconnect the tendons to my fingers and once that’s done the feeling should start to return.”
Asked how long he felt it would be before he gets back on a bike Plater added:
“I am not interested in riding competitively until I am in a position to win races. I had this conversation with Ben Wilson at Cadwell recently and he feels the same, if he can’t win a race he is miserable and I feel exactly the same which is only natural for a racer.”
“To answer the question, I can’t see me riding competitively again this year. I will get back on a bike and ride – but not in anger! Obviously I can’t afford to injure my arm again so I will perhaps do some track day work and a bit of instruction to see how I get on.”
“I am not in a position where I have to worry about a ride for next year as Clive Padgett has told me the bike is there waiting for me as and when I feel ready to return to the track and my personal sponsors UK Waste Solutions from Newark have also pledged their support”
In addition, he is hoping to return to the Honda TT Legends team next year as Endurance racing is close to his heart – he has won races with various World Endurance teams and finished second in the World Championship twice, with Kawasaki France in 2007 and Yamaha Austria the following year.
Having won at most levels of the sport Plater said he would like nothing better than to win the Endurance World Championship before he finally hangs up his leathers.