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Isle of Man TT: Gary Pinchin's blog - I nearly sent Steve Plater over the edge

Published: 03 June 2008

Updated: 24 November 2014

The overcast skies didn’t look promising on Monday but racing got away on schedule with the starts much better organised after Saturday’s cock-up at the Superbike Isle of Man TT.

But by the early afternoon the weather had changed dramatically into a beautiful Manx sunny day.

But there was nothing usual about the day. Bruce Anstey didn’t win the Superstock race, as he had done four years in succession.  His team-mate Cameron Donald did to add it to the superb Superbike Isle of Man TT race win on Saturday. Not only that, this time both of the main protagonists, John McGuinness and Guy Martin finished the race.

Bruce Anstey did win the Supersport race but then got thrown out for having an illegal motor. So Steve Plater won the race.

Fair play to ACU Events – the people running the races this year - for having the balls to stand up and be counted. The TAS Suzuki camshaft was illegal and Clerk of the Course Eddie Nelson wasn’t about to be lenient. He had no option but to throw the Suzuki out of the results.

What a shame though for Anstey who rode his heart out after feeling too ill to continue the earlier Superstock race. Shame for the Isle of Man TT because it could do without any controversies this year. And for Relentless who are not only the team’s backers, but also the race sponsor.

The Relentless by TAS Suzuki team have apologised profusely since, saying it was genuine mistake, but you’ve got to ask how something like that happens to one of the most experienced teams in the Isle of Man TT paddock?

I’m willing to believe them though. I mean, it’s not like they’ve not won Isle of Man TT races before. They know the engines are stripped and measured post race. Call me naïve, but would any of the front runners do something like that knowing there’s an almost certainty they are going to be caught?

Straight after the podium, Steve Plater had gone off to grab a shower and try, no doubt, to gather his thoughts after finishing a brilliant second. He was almost speechless in the post-race press conference.

We were on a tight deadline for MCN and I needed a quote from him about Anstey’s disqualification and to find out how he felt about becoming the winner.

As soon as I called him I realised he knew nothing about the shenanigans going on in the scrutineer’s bay after the race. Eeeek! He even thought I was winding him up, but that would have been a cruel joke to play.

Plater was already massively emotional about finishing second. I mean, second year at the Isle of Man TT and you’re on the podium? He didn’t really expect anything like that, even in his wildest dreams, and then to be told by the MCN guy he’s just been awarded the race almost tipped him over the edge.

He was happy to take the win any way it came and said he had no sympathy for any one who cheats in racing. His opinion is that the whole Isle of Man TT thing is too important to the manufacturers for anyone to gain publicity following a race win through an unfair advantage.

The controversy didn’t end there though. Steve had admitted in the press conference that he’s used a 2007 engine for the race in his 2008 bike and that set alarm bells ringing in some people’s heads who wanted to check the rulebook to see if that was legal.

No one protested but the scrutineers did take a look at the data they had from measuring Plater’s motorbike straight after the race and decided the bike was perfectly within the rules. Phew! 

Controversies aside, I thought the big thing to come of this year’s races so far is the new breed of Isle of Man TT racer mixing it with the established names. Plater may be an established short circuit racer but he’s only in his second TT year and already a winner.

Keith Amor finished third in the same Supersport race riding the Wilson Craig Honda. He’s only in his second Isle of Man TT too, as is Gary Johnson. He was brilliant in the Superbike TT, finishing fourth on the 2005-model Uel Duncan Honda.

Gary was also running fifth in the Superstock Isle of Man TT but ran out of gas on the second lap (as did Amor) but he then finished sixth in the Supersport race on a bike he lacked set-up time on.

Swede Mats Nilsson, an Isle of Man TT first timer but with two Manx GPs under his belt, finished an impressive eighth in the Supersport race, with a 121.34mph fourth lap and a 119.87mph race average.

Isle of Man TT rookies James Hillier and Jamie Robinson also showed great promise as future TT races finishing 18th and 19th respectively and both averaging 116mph.

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