News 13 Jun 2009

RR: Plater and HM Plant Honda take Senior TT win at the IOM

HM Plant Honda PR:

The HM Plant Honda dynamic road race duo of John McGuinness and Steve Plater dominated today’s Senior TT race, with Steve Plater saving his best until last by storming his way to victory in the dramatic TT race week finale, while team-mate John McGuinness faced heart-break when forced to retire on lap four with a broken chain, having led from the start and achieving an impressive 20+ second lead.

In a race of attrition that saw just 29 riders finish, it wasn’t just race victory achieved by the HM Plant Honda squad, but also a record breaking pace with John smashing his own outright lap record from a standing start on lap one to complete the circuit at an average of 130.953mph, followed by setting an all-new lap record with an average speed of 131.578mph on lap two.

Steve furthered the team’s record breaking accolades by posting the fastest ever race distance time of 1hr 45m 53.15s, as well as claiming the Joey Dunlop TT Solo Championship Trophy for the rider with the best overall results of the week, with 84 points. Team-mate John finished fifth in the overall TT standings with 52 points.

After a short delay due to a brief rain shower, the six-lap race got under way at 2.30pm – started by Murray Walker OBE – and it was clear that 15-times TT winner John McGuinness was determined to take his fifth consecutive Senior TT race victory by setting a blistering pace.

When the riders arrived at the first check point of Glen Helen, Steve had overcome his pattern of a slower opening lap and also passed the previous lap record with a 130.490mph, slotting straight into second place behind John, with the pair steadily pulling clear of the rest of the field.

On lap two, John extended his advantage with another lightening run to Glen Helen and as the lap unfolded it was obvious it would be another history-making moment for the Morecambe ace – and sure enough he lapped at 131.578mph (17m 12.30s), despite slowing for his first pit stop.

Steve was keeping up the pressure, lapping at 130.912mph to maintain second, albeit more than 16 seconds down on John. John looked unstoppable, gradually building his lead over Steve on lap three to almost 19 seconds, despite a 40 second pit stop.

But events took a dramatic turn on lap four when John failed to reach the Ramsay hairpin after a broken chain forced him to retire at Cruickshanks. That left Steve commanding the race, with a clear lead over Conor Cummins in second and promoting Hydrex Honda’s Guy Martin to third.

But the action didn’t stop there. Leaving the pits after his second pit stop, Martin also suffered with a broken chain leaving him stranded in the pit lane and out of the Senior TT challenge. That promoted another Honda front runner – Ian Hutchinson, on his Padgett’s liveried CBR1000RR Fireblade – to third, looking for another podium and also to add to his two race wins this week and put him on course to win the Joey Dunlop TT Championship Trophy.

Despite a hard charge by Cummins to pull back a couple of seconds on the penultimate lap, Steve upped the anti even further, extending his advantage to 19.54 seconds at the chequered flag to record another victory for Honda in the 50th anniversary of its racing history and also claim the TT Solo Championship.

This fantastic win brings Steve’s tally of race finishes to five this week – a win in the Senior, a second place in the Superbike and fourth in the Superstock and the two Supersport races – a remarkable achievement for the Lincolnshire ace in only his third year of competing at the TT.

Steve Plater

“I really had it in my head to get a good result and I was all fired up, pushing hard on the out lap as Neil (Tuxworth) has been on at me all week for being an old lady on the first lap! That’s what I was concentrating on and then just seeing how the result went from there. It’s unfortunate that John went out as he would have been there at the end for sure. I was watching my pit boards as I knew Connor was only about 10 seconds away from me. My Dad was doing my board at Ramsey so he will be desperate to get back now, bless him. It seemed like 40 miles from Bungalow down to the finish on that last lap – it was endless. This achievement today will finally sink in next week and then I have to turn my attention back to short circuits and the British Supersport championship. I just need a bit of Plater time on my own to take it all in.”

John McGuinness

“To be as strong as I was in the race to have to retire due to a broken chain is devastating. I’ve won the Senior TT for the last four years and I was going all out to win again today for the fifth year running and know that I could have won. I felt I had everything in control and inch perfect and the bike was running like a dream. There’s nothing else I can say other than I’m gutted for me and also the team and Honda, as it would have been magic to get another 1-2 Superbike race finish with Steve as we did last Monday, especially this year for Honda’s 50th. But I’m pleased it was my team-mate to take the top step of the rostrum and at least there’s always next year.”

Havier Beltran, Team Manager

“For John to retire with a broken chain when he was putting in the most incredible performance and pulling away from the whole field like he was, is just so disappointing. Steve put in a strong first lap to slot in behind John and he was pushing a secure second. We told him during his second pit stop what had happened to John and he kept his head down and rode faultlessly again to take the win. The TT is always a demanding few weeks and we could not have asked for any more from the riders, our team mechanics, our sponsors, Dunlop or the fans, who have all contributed in the most amazing way to help make this such a successful and memorable TT for the HM Plant Honda team and Honda.”

Today’s Senior race concluded HM Plant Honda’s competition at this year’s TT and caps an incredible week for Honda at the Isle of Man. Honda’s CBR1000RR and CBR600RR machines have dominated, claiming the top five places in Monday’s Superbike race as well as Tuesday’s Superstock and Supersport races, with a 1st and 3rd in today’s Senior TT race.

All of these results mean that Honda once again claims the Manufacturer’s award and marks with great success its 50th anniversary of world championship racing at the place where it all began back in 1959 – the Isle of Man TT.