But he was denied the chance to secure further wins because of the inclement weather that forced officials to cancel the feature race of the day, The North West 200 Superbike race and also the second of the two Supersport 600 races.
It was a disappointing end to the 80th anniversary of the NW200 with a series of red-flag incidents delaying proceedings from the start of the day followed by heavy showers and a strong cross wind around the course making conditions too dangerous to continue.
The DeWalt Performance Tools Superbike race was delayed for over an hour and reduced to four laps because of problems in the previous event; but once underway Plater, who started from a second row grid position, soon made up ground to take the lead at Station corner on the first lap.
But he didn’t have it all his own way as Bruce Anstey exchanged places with him on more than one occasion and he also had the attention of his HM Plant Honda teammate John McGuinness who led the field as they began the second lap.
But Plater was not to be denied and made it back to the front and began to make a break, crossing the line at the end of the lap with a lead of half a second over Anstey.
The pair battled it out over the next lap, with Plater maintaining his lead but the race was halted because of an incident and a result declared from positions on lap two, which gave the ever-smiling Lincolnshire rider his seventh career victory at the NW200.
“Its not the way you want to win a race and the first thing I want to say is that I hope the riders involved are ok. The wind is unbelievable, even on a Superbike as it’s blowing us around quite a bit. I just got my head down and tried to stay at the front from the word go,” said Plater. “I am very, very pleased for my team, HM Plant Honda and would like to say a massive thanks to Dunlop for coming back onboard and giving us the right tyres.”
The Clinton Enterprises Supersport race also fell victim to the red flag as, on the second of four laps, the rain began to fall making the track surface treacherous. At the restart Plater moved into the lead at Metropole and headed a gaggle of six riders all anxious not to let him get away from them. Plater dictated the pace at the front but Anstey took advantage of the slipstream and forged ahead on the final lap. Plater responded and immediately regained his position which he held to the chequered flag for win number eight.
“That was very pleasing and its fair play to the organisers as they did a fantastic job for stopping it when the rain came down as the conditions were getting very dangerous out there. Thanks to the guys in the garage at HM Plant Honda as they have worked hard with both the Superbike and Supersport bikes.”
With more rain and a strong side wind affecting the conditions the organisers had little option but to cancel the final two races of the day and Plater commented:
“They really didn’t have an option other than to cancel because we were running out of time before the roads were due to open and also the conditions have deteriorated. The track was dry in places but soaking wet in others and it just wasn’t safe to try and race at speed in those conditions.
“I have picked up two good results today and still have a long season ahead of me. I would sooner go home early today in the motor home than be taken off in a vehicle with blue lights flashing!”
Plater returns to domestic duties at the weekend and turns his attention to the third round of the British Supersport championship scheduled for Donington Park on Whit Monday, May 25.
Free practice and qualifying take place over Saturday and Sunday with the 18-lap Fuchs/Silkolene British Supersport race on track at 3.30pm. The British Eurosport 2 television broadcast window is 12.45pm – 5.15pm.
Pic credit Andrea Campbell