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Author: Helen Pask
Posted on: Monday, Sep 14 2009

Qualifying didn’t go quite to plan for the Woodhall Spa rider who struggled to get to grips with his HM Plant Honda machine. Throughout the free practice and both qualifying sessions he made further adjustments to the bike to try and get on the pace but nothing appeared to work and a frustrated Steve Plater said: “I am really not happy with a third row start as I have been riding my heart out during qualifying. We tried a few different settings but it didn’t make any difference so I will have to suck it ands see what happens in the race. The circuit is very bumpy and we have a strong cross wind today plus the track temperature is 10 degrees lower than on Saturday so lets hope it works in my favour.”

As the race got underway Plater moved through to take up seventh place and remained in that position through the opening laps. The safety car was deployed on lap six which allowed the field to close up and when it left the track Plater was quick to begin his move forward. By lap 11 he was up to sixth and one lap later overtook Daniel Cooper in fifth position.

Lap 13 saw Plater put in a fantastic lap to power past Dan Linfoot and then Billy McConnell to snatch third place. As if that wasn’t enough for the Lincolnshire ace he then took advantage of Ben Wilson two laps later and set off to hunt down James Westmoreland who held the race lead.

Plater was on a roll and took the lead on the penultimate lap swiftly followed by Billy McConnell who needed to finish ahead of Plater to take the series lead. But the HM Plant Honda rider wasn’t for moving and held on to his advantage, crossing the finish line just two tenths of a second ahead of McConnell with Wilson a further three tenths behind in third place.

“I wasn’t really happy even after this morning’s warm up,” said a breathless Steve Plater. “We have had some issues and even in the race had problems in the same kind of places. We were given some advice from one or two of the other Honda teams as to what settings they were using but in the end decided to go with what we knew and not to take any big risks. I changed to a harder rear tyre because the temperature had dropped right off from yesterday so it wasn’t quite so good in the first five or six laps. But I bided my time and after the pace car went in I decided it was time to rock and roll! I knew what I had to do and I watching and looking to see what everybody else was dong. They were fighting between themselves and I knew what I wanted and where I was to attack. Croft is a place where you have to plan your moves four corners beforehand so I had to keep that in my mind and put the passes in where I knew I could make them count.”

This fine win sees Plater extend his narrow advantage at the top of the rider points from two to seven points from McConnell. But with two races and 50 points still up for the taking, the race for the title is by no means over. The penultimate round of the series is at Silverstone on September 27 when Plater knows he must finish ahead of McConnell to remain in control as series leader.

Pic credit Turn One Photography

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