Qualifying was marred by a crash in each of the two sessions but the Woodhall Spa ace overcame his problems and qualified the HM Plant Honda Supersport machine in fifth place for a second row start to Sunday’s 18 lap affair.
He said: “I crashed in both qualifying sessions so that prevented me from getting my full session in and I have to make a start from row two. To be honest fifth is actually better than third or fourth as I am right behind the pole setter and if I can get a good start I will be happy enough. Despite the two mistakes resulting in the crashes, my race pace is good whereas some of the others have fired off one fast lap to gain a good grid position and perhaps cannot keep up the pace throughout the race. Westy (James Westmoreland) appears to be the guy to beat as he has been in a class of his own all weekend so I realise its going to be a tough old race.”
As the race finally got underway Steve didn’t get the start he was hoping for but was left battling for position with a gaggle of riders in eighth place. But as he settled into his race he began to make progress, taking the opportunity to make a pass on each of the riders ahead until he made it up into second position to chase the race leader and eventual winner, James Westmoreland.
But his progress was hindered when the pace car was deployed to allow medics to treat an injured rider who crashed at Hawthorne on lap nine.
This allowed the rest of the field to close up again and once the car left the circuit the race was on, with a hoard of seven riders all chasing the leaders. Plater held off the persistent challenges of Billy McConnell who was the one rider he needed to keep at bay but on the final lap McConnell managed to make a pass at Hawthorne which he held to the chequered flag. Plater crossed the finish line a fraction of a second adrift for third place but in doing so handed McConnell an extra four championship points and saw his series lead reduce to just eight points.
“I just got pipped by Billy on the last lap which was not really what I needed. Before the pace car came out I had a good gap between myself in second and Ben Wilson in third. But unfortunately the pace car allowed them to make up the deficit. After the car went back in I got my head down but it wasn’t enough and I knew that someone was very close to me on the last lap and that he would be attacking but wasn’t quite sure where. Its just one of those things but it’s a bit frustrating when I had done all the hard work to get through to second and was chasing after the leader and then got beat on the last lap. Billy has gained a few points on me but at least Ben Wilson hasn’t as he finished behind me so we can go forward and push on to Cadwell and see what happens there.”
The next round is at Cadwell Park, just a few miles from the HM Plant Honda base at Louth and racing takes place on August Bank Holiday Monday when Plater will be cheered on by his vast army of local fans, family and friends and will striving for a top result to increase his series lead.
Pic credit – action – Turn One Photography