Supersport North West 200 victory served up on Plater
Steve Plater held off strong challenges from New Zealander Bruce Anstey and Michael Dunlop to take the Clinton Enterprises supersport race.
The first attempt to get the race going was red-flagged on the second lap.
Pole setter Michael Dunlop, riding with three suspected broken fingers and an injured wrist from his earlier 250cc race crash, had a major problem as the grid formed after the sighting lap with the rear brake pads sticking on his Street Sweep Yamaha and his pit crew worked feverishly to fix the problem as the seconds counted down to the start of the race.
With officials urging Dunlop to take his machine off the line with less than thirty seconds to the start the problem was solved and he started the race.
At the end of the first lap it was Kiwi Anstey who flashed across the line just ahead of John McGuinness, Plater, Dunlop, Keith Amor, Ryan Farquhar and Alastair Seeley who was making up lost ground from a back row start.
However on lap two just after Ballysally Roundabout Amor’s Wilson Craig Honda slowed and Seeley close behind rammed him, both lucky to escape injury in the massive shunt.
Out came the red flags and the riders had it all to do again. On the re-start Plater roared into the lead on the HM Plant Honda and opened up a good gap on teammate McGuinness, the Relentless Suzuki by TAS of Anstey, Farquhar, Ian Hutchinson and the Dunlop brothers Michael and William.
Going onto the fourth and final lap Anstey had moved to second and only half a second behind Plater with Michael Dunlop into third just ahead of McGuinness these four well clear of the rest. Despite the efforts of Anstey, Plater clung on to take his eighth victory at the North West by half a second.
With the fastest lap of the race with a speed of 118.395mph on the last lap Michael Dunlop claimed the final rostrum place just ahead of McGuinness, brother William, Hutchinson and JMF Millsport rider Michael Rutter who had also started from the back row of the grid.
Worth noting in this race was the performance of German debutant Rico Penzkofer riding his Macau Racing Team Yamaha who claimed a creditable twelfth position. after a superb tussle with another newcomer Daniel Kneen.